Psalm 20

The Assurance of God’s Saving Work

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.

1 May the LORD  answer you in the day of trouble; may the name of the God of Jacob defend you; 2 may He send you help from the sanctuary, and strengthen you out of Zion; 3  may he remember all your offerings, and accept your burnt sacrifice. Selah  4 May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your purpose.  5 We will rejoice in your salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners!  May the LORD fulfill all your petitions.

Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven with the saving strength of His right hand.  7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.  8 They have bowed down and fallen; but we have risen and stand upright.

Save, LORD!
May the King answer us when we call.

Commentary taken from Warren W. Wiersbe’s ‘BE Worshipful.

…..This psalm describes three essentials for victory as God’s people fight against the forces of evil.

      1.  A Praying People (vv. 1-5).  Before the army went out to battle, the Jewish law of warfare required the officers and soldiers first to dedicate themselves to the Lord (Deut. 20:1-4), and this psalm speaks of such a dedication service…..The word ‘may’ is used six times in verses 1-5 as the people prayed for their king.  Not only were the lives of the king and his army involved, but so also was the glory of the Lord (vv. 5, 7)……

      David had brought the ark of the covenant to Mount Zion (2 Sam. 6), which meant that God was enthroned among His people and would help them (80:1..).  His holy name was upon the sanctuary (Deut. 14:23…), and therefore His glory was at stake.  Many times David had brought sacrifices to the altar and dedicated himself to the Lord (burnt offerings) and given thanks to Him, and he would have offered sacrifices before coming to lead the army…..But David had done more than worship God; he had also sought the Lord’s will concerning strategy for the battle (See 1 Sam. 23).  The people prayed that God would bless those plans, for petitions and plans must go together…..

          2. A Confident Leader (vv. 6-8).  Now the king speaks and assures his people that he is confident of success because the Lord has chosen him (“anointed”) and heard his prayers.  The people had prayed “The LORD hear thee” (v. 1), and David’s reply was “He will hear” (v.6)…..In the covenant God made with David, He had promised him success in battle (2 Sam. 7:11), and David claimed this promise by faith…..God’s people don’t boast in their human resources but in the God who alone can save them in every situation.  Only this kind of faith will honor the strong name of the Lord.  The enemy will go down in defeat, but Israel will stand upright as victors.

         3. A Sovereign Lord (v. 9).  Translators don’t agree as to whether “king” refers to David or to the Lord, King of Israel (5:2)…..But whether “king” refers to David or to the Lord, verse 9 affirms that the Lord is sovereign because He hears prayer and is able to answer.  I prefer “King” and I can see David, the people, and the troops acknowledging the sovereignty of the great King of Israel.  Unless the Lord is King, there can be no victory…..David plans his strategy (v.4), but the Lord alone can determine the outcome.



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