LIVING IN FAITH
God of hope and help, show me more of your ways today, as I read and meditate on your Word.
Read PSALM 21
For the director of music. A psalm of David.
1 The king rejoices in your strength, Lord.
How great is his joy in the victories you give!
2 You have granted him his heart’s desire
and have not withheld the request of his lips.[b]
3 You came to greet him with rich blessings
and placed a crown of pure gold on his head.
4 He asked you for life, and you gave it to him—
length of days, for ever and ever.
5 Through the victories you gave, his glory is great;
you have bestowed on him splendor and majesty.
6 Surely you have granted him unending blessings
and made him glad with the joy of your presence.
7 For the king trusts in the Lord;
through the unfailing love of the Most High
he will not be shaken.
8 Your hand will lay hold on all your enemies;
your right hand will seize your foes.
9 When you appear for battle,
you will burn them up as in a blazing furnace.
The Lord will swallow them up in his wrath,
and his fire will consume them.
10 You will destroy their descendants from the earth,
their posterity from mankind.
11 Though they plot evil against you
and devise wicked schemes, they cannot succeed.
12 You will make them turn their backs
when you aim at them with drawn bow.
13 Be exalted in your strength, Lord;
we will sing and praise your might.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.’1
This psalm forms a pair with Psalm 20 around the themes of God’s strength and the need to trust him.2 Since the king is mentioned in the third person, the psalm may be prayed by the people or the king himself. Either way, it acknowledges the blessings the king receives: the crown, a long life, glory, majesty, and splendor (vs 1–6). Although the verbs are a mixture of imperfect (usually future tense) and perfect (normally indicating past tense), the likelihood is that the blessings described have not yet been bestowed. This is a common feature of poetry – that the perfect tense is used to indicate the certainty of events still in the future.
The second part of the psalm (vs 8–13) focuses on the king’s vindication and the punishment of his enemies. It is unclear whether this is accomplished directly by God or by the king as his agent. Ultimately though, the praise belongs to God for his power (v 13). The hinge on which the prayer turns is verse 7, where the king expresses trust in the Lord, based on God’s ‘unfailing love’ (the Hebrew word used here, hesed, means covenant loyalty/love). In other words, he knows he can rely on God because of the Lord’s covenant commitment to him.
As we near the end of 1 Samuel, God will indeed resolve the tension of the story: Saul will be killed and the way opened for David to become king. Whether we wait for some resolution in our present-day experiences or look towards that final day when God will put all things right, the point is that we live in trust. Such faith is not based on some vague hope but on the sure foundation that our God committed himself to us and that he will be faithful.
Lord, help us to trust your promises with confidence as if they had already happened. May we live in hope and in ‘the joy of your presence’ (v 6)!
Lord Jesus, you ran the course of your life with joy. May your example energize me to run joyfully the course of my life, with faithfulness to the Father’s will.
1 Heb 11:6 2 Gerald H Wilson, Psalms Volume 1, Zondervan, 2002, p397
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