Psalm 21: praise & rejoice
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. (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.
What a beautiful little praise psalm.
Psalm 20 was a prayer for protection of the king as David and his fighting men prepared for battle. It is logical then, that Psalm 21 is a praise for that answered prayer of safe keeping or success in battle.
It is evidently the fit companion of Psalm twenty and is in its proper position next to it. Psalm twenty anticipates what this regards as realized. If we pray day to day for a benefit and receive it, we must, ere the sun goes down, prasise God for that mercy, or we deserve to be denied the next time.Charles Spurgeon, English preacher, 1834-1892
Can you just hear the overflowing joy coming from these words? To think that this psalm has been read and sung in Israel’s house of worship for 3000 years is pretty amazing . . . and powerful.
And a good reminder that God has seen it all. There is nothing new going on in this world. Our God is in control.
But let us not forget that the words we read today have brought comfort, peace, and joy to God’s people throughout history. When we read God’s Word, remember that others are also reading it, looking for answer, for peace and hope.
And, my friends, that is what God wants for us. He wants us to read the words he gave us. He wants us to look for Him in these words, and to find Him there; to find peace and joy and great, great love.
So, let’s stop here and read it again. Maybe you can hear the echo of their voices and the words planned for you to hear today from your loving heavenly Father . . .
SELAH (pause, silence, or interlude)
Why are God’s people rejoicing? Because God saves.
David sings of physical salvation. He sings of God delivering him and his people from the hands of their enemies. Maybe you can sing of physical salvation as well. God’s grace is a spiritual AND a physical salvation. The Lord saved us from sin and death; He has released us from the bondage of sin. But we also have a real enemy, real darkness fights for our souls.
In his letter to the church in Ephesus, Paul talks about putting on the Armor of God to protect us against evil.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12
So, knowing that God saves us physically and spiritually, let us rejoice! Let us rejoice always!
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Philippians 4:4-5
David reminds us in this psalm to find joy in “His presence.” He says this:
Surely you have granted him unending blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence. Psalm 21:6 For you make him most blessed forever; you make him joyful with gladness in your presence. Psalm 21:6 NASB
So where do Christians find joy?
In the presence of the Father.
But how exactly does one come into the presence of the Father?
By sharing our live with Him. Every bit of our lives. Not just our really big prayers, the ones that we deemed important enough to seek God’s help, but also the little prayers throughout our day. If we only seek God in times of crises, we will never truly know Him.
What would you think if your children or grandchildren only came to you in their time of urgent need?
Share your heart with your loving, faithful Father in heaven. He is the best confidant, the most trustworthy, the best of friends. He is always there, always listening, always loving. When you feel like He is far away or distant, you have moved. Not Him.
Like a good parent, God’s desire is to know His children, to be involved in every aspect of our lives. Be in God’s presence, my friends. All day. He is there when you are worried. He is there when you are lonely. He is there when you screw up. He is there in moments of joy.
He is waiting. Open your heart and come into His presence.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7
Do you struggle with finding peace, especially now? Then come into the presence of the Father. In the presence of the Father, you will find joy, peace, strength, and love.
You will also find that the Lord gives you the desires of your heart. But what does this even mean? Certainly God doesn’t always answer our prayers exactly as we ask them. David knew this. After his sin with Bathsheba and ultimate betrayal of her husband, Uriah, there was a child (2 Samuel 12). The child suffered, and the Bible says that David prayed day and night for his son, refusing to eat and sleep. But God took the child to heaven. God did not answer David’s prayer the way he wanted.
How does this same man claim the following in verse 2?
You have granted him his heart's desire and have not withheld the request of his lips. Psalm 21:2
That’s a hard one to answer. But we know that David trusted in the Lord with all of his heart. He knew that what God did was right and always for the good of those who love him.
David lived in the presence of the Father.
David knew, trusted, and leaned on the Father for strength and protection and joy throughout his life. Before and after battle. In the midst of sickness and death. At the loss of his son, and the great betrayal of another son.
But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. Psalm 3:3 In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. Psalm 5:3 LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! Psalm 8:1 I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High. Psalm 9:1-2 But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the LORD's praise, for he has been good to me. Psalm 13:5-6 You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:11 I love you, LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:1-2 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14
David walked with God. He lived in the presence of the Father.
Come into God’s presence today. Share your day with Him. Share your worry, your joy, and your struggles with Him today.
And He will be the desire of your heart.
Father in heaven, as we read the psalms, please teach us. May your words sink into our hearts. May they fill us with wisdom, joy, and peace. Teach us to seek after you all day, every day. May we learn to come into your presence like David did. Especially now, help us to seek and find strength in your presence. Bring peace into this world and into our hearts. We love you and we trust you. Amen.