Monday, June 20, 2016

Two Ethans, One Song

(by Pastor Joe)
The Word for today: Psalm 89:1-37
Ethan is a great name. It comes from the Bible. It means "strong/steadfast." It has recently grown in popularity -- reaching #2 in 2010.
In the Bible it is mentioned 8 times, and those are talking about more than one Ethan.
We are going to distinguish between two Ethans, which is tricky seeing as both of them are connected with the Psalms.
(As a side note, make sure you don't skip the various headings that are before the Psalms. They are inspired Scripture and therefore not to be missed. Often they can give key information to better understand a Psalm, such as Psalm 18 or 51. )
Today's passage was written by Ethan the Ezrahite. He was from the tribe of Judah (1 Chr. 2:6) and lived during the reign of Solomon & Rehoboam. Evidently, he was one smart cookie (1 Ki 4:31) .
The second Ethan was also known as Jeduthun. He is the musical composer of at least 3 Psalms (39, 62 & 77) and most likely more, as he was one of the "directors of music" that are not mentioned by name 38 times in the Psalms. He was from the tribe of Levi (1 Chr. 6:42) and lived a generation before the previous Ethan. Their years overlapped and they most likely knew each other.
But what is even more remarkable about these two men is not that they have the same name or that they are linked to the same dynasty in Judah, it is the similarity of their compositions. Compare Psalm 89 (Ethan 2) with Psalm 77 (Ethan 1 aka Jeduthun).
Psalm 77 takes us through personal struggles and troubles that lead to questions. "Where is God in all of this?" "How long is this gonna be?" Then God's faithful love in the past is remembered and therefore, there is hope and confidence in the future.
Psalm 89 takes us through the nation's struggles and troubles (after they were bullied by Egypt- see 1 Kings 14:26-27). These difficulties also lead to questions (Ps. 89:46-49) that question the timing and goodness of God.
Although the order is different, the concepts are the same.
Two different Ethans, two different Psalms, but One God, and ultimately one message.
Because of who God is (89:1-8), what He has done in the past (89:9-18), and what He has promised (89:19-37) we can have confidence, even in the worst circumstances.
Every day, we can join in the chorus with both Ethans and declare along with them, not that life is easy, nor is it always fair, but that God is always faithful and His love endures forever.

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