It is the will of God that prayers and thanksgivings, should be made for rulers and all in authority. This psalm is a prayer for the king. David was often in war, this Psalm was written by David, but that others would pray for him. It may well have been penned upon some particular expedition. The Assurance of God’s Saving Work.
Psalm 20 – A Psalm of David
May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble; May the name of the God of Jacob defend you; May He send you help from the sanctuary, And strengthen you out of Zion; May He remember all your offerings, And accept your burnt sacrifice. Selah May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, And fulfill all your purpose. 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. Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the Lord our God. They have bowed down and fallen; But we have risen and stand upright. Save, Lord! May the King answer us when we call.
He was in constant devotion
Henry says – Those who desire the prayers of their friends need to tell them particularly what they need prayer for. Even great and good men, and those who know how to pray for themselves, must earnestly desire the prayers of others. Paul often begged of his friends to pray for him.
David asked of them that God would answer his prayers: The Lord hear you in the day of trouble (Ps. 20:1), and the Lord fulfill all your petitions, Ps. 20:5. Even the greatest of men may be in much trouble. It was often a day of trouble for David with disappointments, distresses and perplexity. Neither the crown on his head nor the grace in his heart would exempt him from trouble. Even kings have need of much prayer. David, though a man of war, was constant in his devotions. He had prophets and priests, and many good people among his subjects to pray for him, yet he did not think that excused him from praying for himself. We are to request the prayers of others for ourselves, but they must only be second to our own prayers for ourselves.
The name of the Lord is a strong tower
David’s prayers were that God would protect him and preserve his life in the perils of war: “The name of the God of Jacob defend you, and set you out of the reach of your enemies.” David had mighty men for his guards, but he commits himself, and his people to the care of almighty God. “Let God by His grace keep you from the fear of evil. Prov. 18:10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run into it by faith, and are safe. David prays to be enabled to shelter himself in that strong tower, as he has done many a time.”
David asks that God would enable him to go on in his undertakings. That, in the day of battle, he would send him strength out of Zion, from the ark of the covenant and the peculiar favour God bears to His chosen people. That He would help him in answer to the prayers made in the sanctuary. Strength out of Zion is spiritual strength, strength in the soul, in the inward man, and that is what we should desire for ourselves and others in services and sufferings.
Make our hearts burn within us
Before David went out on a dangerous expedition he requested that God graciously accept all the sacrifices he had offered with his prayers, The Lord remember all your offerings and accept your burnt-sacrifices (Ps. 20:3), or turn them to ashes. That is, “The Lord give you the victory and success as proof of His acceptance of your sacrifices. By this we may now know that God accepts our spiritual sacrifices, if by His Spirit He kindles in our souls a holy fire of Godly and Divine affection and with that makes our hearts burn within us.
David’s subjects knew that he was a man after God’s own heart and so would plan nothing that did not please God. So they prayed that God would crown all his endeavors for the public welfare with the desired success (Ps. 20:4): The Lord grant you according to your own heart. Those who make it their business to glorify God may expect that God will, in one way or other, satisfy them. You shall devise a thing and it shall be established for you.
Follow His direction and depend upon Him
They were confident that they would have an answer of peace to these petitions for themselves and their good king (Ps. 20:5): “We will rejoice in your salvation. We who are subjects will rejoice in the preservation and prosperity of our prince;” or, rather, “In Your salvation, O God! in Your power and promise to save, will we rejoice. Those who have their eye set upon the salvation of the Lord shall have their hearts filled with the joy of that salvation. In the name of our God will we set up our banners.
“We will wage war in His name and ensure our cause is right and make His glory our end”. In every expedition we will follow His direction and depend upon Him.” David went against Goliath in the name of the Lord of hosts, 1 Sam. 17:45. “We will celebrate our victories in His name. He shall have all the glory of our success.”
When God sees us seeking Him
This Psalm teaches us to offer up to God our hearty good wishes for the government we are under. But we may look further. These prayers for David are prophecies concerning Christ the Son of David, and in Him they were abundantly answered. He undertook the work of our redemption, and made war upon the powers of darkness. In the day of trouble, when His soul was exceedingly sorrowful, the Lord heard Him. An angel from heaven strengthened Him. God accepted the offering of His soul as an offering for sin. The fire that should have been fixed upon the sinner was instead fixed upon the sacrifice, with which God was well pleased.
David triumphed in the prayers of good people toward him (Ps. 20:6): “Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed, because He has stirred up the hearts of the seed of Jacob to pray for him.” If God sees us seeking Him, He will be found by us. If He cause us to hope in His word, He will establish His Word to us. Now that so many are praying for him he does not doubt that God will hear him, and grant him an answer of peace. He will hear him with the saving strength of His right hand. He will give a real answer to his prayers, and the prayers of his friends for him. He will make it to appear that He hears him by what He does for him, with His right hand.
This we will remember and be encouraged
The children of this world trust in other sources, they trust in chariots and in horses, and the more of them they bring into the field the more sure they are of success in their wars. David’s people distinguish themselves from those who live without God in the world. “But,” say the Israelites, “we will remember, and rely upon, the name of the Lord our God, upon our relationship to Him as the Lord our God.” This we will remember and be encouraged. Those who make God and His name their praise may make God and His name their trust.
Psalm 20:8. “Those who trusted in their chariots and horses are brought down and fallen, and their chariots and horses helped to sink them, and made them the easier and the richer prey to the conqueror, 2 Sam. 8:4. But we who trust in the name of the Lord our God keep our ground and have triumphed over the enemy.” A believing obedient trust in God and His name is the surest way to stand us in stead when all confidences fail.
The King of kings hear us when we call
They conclude their prayer for the king with a Hosanna, “Save, now, we ask You, O Lord!” Ps. 20:9. As we read this verse, it may be taken as a prayer that God would not only bless our rulers but that God would make them a blessing to them, “Let the king hear us when we call to him for justice and mercy.” We must pray for our rulers, for they as all other humans are that to us which God makes them to be.
It also refers to the Messiah, the King of kings that He hear us when we call. Let Him come to us according to the promise and at the time appointed. Let Him, as the great Master of requests, receive all our petitions and present them to the Father. We ought to encourage ourselves to trust in God, and stir ourselves up to pray earnestly for those in authority over us, that under them we may lead quiet and peaceable lives in all godliness and honesty.
Adapted from the Matthew Henry Commentary
The Self-fulfilling Prophecy May He give you the desire of your heart And may all your plans succeed. If you trust God and have faith for the future He will provide for your every need. You may look at your daily situation And cry out, ‘I just cannot cope’ But if you have optimistic beliefs You have great cause for hope. God’s unfailing promises are yours There is nothing He cannot do Your situation is in His hands You know He has the very best for you. Thoughts are powerful things They can take you to the pits or up to the Crown Allow them to lift you up at all times Realising they have the power to hold you down. If you fall into the habit of negative thinking Think again and allow your thoughts to be unfurled For you are an overcomer in Christ You live in Him who has overcome the world. By the late Andrew Feakin [passed away 16th March 2019]
Prayer for the Day
Father I come to You. I thank You that I have You to come to. May I be found to be a praying person. Keep me from the fear of evil. For Your name is a strong tower, the righteous run into it by faith, and are safe. Shelter me in that strong tower, as You have done many a time. Kindle in my soul a holy fire of Godly affection and make my heart burn within me. Let me be known as one after Your own heart. That I would plan nothing that does not please You. Help me make it my business to glorify You in every way.
Cause me to have my eye set upon Your salvation and have my heart filled with the joy of that salvation. I thank You that though I should’ve been burned up in the fire, yet Jesus sacrificed His life for me. In return let me offer myself as a living sacrifice to Your Glory.
Let me be found to be a seeker of You
Let me be found to be a seeker of You. Cause me to hope in Your Word and so establish Your Word in me. May I be distinguished from those who live without You in this world. I will remember and rely upon Your name. I will make You and Your name my praise and my trust. May I keep my ground and triumph over the enemy. Let me have a believing, obedient trust in You and Your name and so stand when all confidences fail.
Remind me to pray earnestly for those in authority over me, that under them I may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. In Jesus Name I pray. Amen.
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