Psalm 20 (April 4, 2011)

[1] May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob protect you!  [2] May he send you help from the sanctuary and give you support from Zion!  [3] May he remember all your offerings and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices! Selah  [4] May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans!  [5] May we shout for joy over your salvation, and in the name of our God set up our banners! May the LORD fulfill all your petitions!  [6] Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with the saving might of his right hand.  [7] Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.  [8] They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright.  [9] O LORD, save the king! May he answer us when we call. (Psalm 20 ESV)

Prayer for the King and His Kingdom

We come to a battle series in Psalm 20-21. Psalm 20 is a prayer before a battle, and Psalm 21 is a prayer of exultation after the battle. Psalm 20 is expressly a prayer for David as king over Israel that his upcoming military conflict might be successful. While God commands us to pray for the leaders over us in government, there is an exhortation in this Psalm to pray for the kingdom of God and to trust in his ability to advance his kingdom in the already/not yet. Simply put, we pray this prayer that God’s people will live the lives they are called to live in advancing his kingdom that has already been established in their hearts, but has not yet physically been consummated.

John Calvin agrees: “The object, therefore, which David had expressly in view was, to exhort all the children of God to cherish such a holy solicitude about the kingdom of Christ, as would stir them up to continual prayer in its behalf.”

Prayer for Protection

In verses 1-2 of this great Psalm we find a prayer of God’s people for the protection of the king. There are several requests that they offer up to God on his behalf.

1. That God would answer him in the day of trouble.

2. That the name of God of Jacob protect him.

3. That God would bring him help and support.

This is a prayer that we can and should pray for one another as God’s people as well. They pray that God will answer in the day of trouble, assuming that there will be days of trouble. All of us encounter days of trouble and we offer up prayers with deep groaning that God will answer us and help us. This is a prayer that in the midst of pain that God will protect and bring his presence.

The next request is one that we should always pray for one another, that the name of the Lord will protect and overshadow us. What is so significant about the name of the Lord? The name of the Lord is not just the letters that make up his name. The name of the Lord carries with it his character and attributes and reputation. Our God is a covenant-keeping, promise-honoring God who fights ferociously for his people to make them holy. “We should seek to know the covenant God of Jacob, who has been pleased to reveal his name and attributes to his people.”-Spurgeon. We worship the true and living God as revealed in the Bible. We don’t worship and unknown God.

The last prayer is one for help and support. Jesus said that when he sent the Holy Spirit, he would be to his people as a great comforter. We pray that God might bring help and support from the Holy Spirit to God’s people that they might endure, and thrive in their walk with him.

“What a mercy that we may pray in the the day of trouble and what still more blessed privilege that no trouble can prevent the Lord from hearing us!” -Spurgeon

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