Read: Psalm 20; Psalm 21
The placement of Psalm 21 completes a triad begun with the Psalmist’s worshipful drawing close to God in Psalm 19 and the request for salvation and victory implied in Psalm 20. Psalm 21 celebrates God’s answer to the prayer of Psalm 20. The medieval French rabbi known as Rashi (1040 – 1105) believed this psalm to have a double meaning, referring to both David and to the Messiah, and with this the venerable Christian commentator Matthew Henry (1662- 1714) agreed: “In this there is an eye to Messiah the Prince, and the glory of His kingdom; for to Him diverse passages in this psalm are more applicable than to David himself.”
Think About It: What passages in Psalm 21 seem especially applicable to Jesus Christ? Do I remember to thank God for answered prayer? How has God given me my heart’s desire in answer to prayer?
Prayer: Thank God for answered prayer.
Read: Psalm 21:1; 1 Samuel 2:10; Psalm 28:7 – 8; Psalm 59:16 – 17; Ephesians 1:19 – 20; 3:16; 6:10; 2 Timothy 2:1; 1 John 2:14
When God granted David the deliverance he requested he responded with rejoicing. Specifically, he rejoiced in God’s strength, and exulted in God’s salvation: “. . .in Your strength. . .in Your salvation. . .” The phraseology focuses on God who supplies strength and on God who saves. We should rejoice and exult in answers to prayer, but even more we should rejoice and exult in God who answers prayer.
Think About It: What do the New Testament references in the Scripture readings for today add to my understanding of God as a source of strength? What is the measure of the greatness of God’s power available to me? How is God’s strength made available to me? What can God’s strength enable me to do?
Prayer: Lord, I rejoice in Your strength and exult in Your salvation.
Read: Psalm 21:2; Psalm 20:4 – 5; Psalm 37:4; Psalm 66:18; Psalm 145:19; Matthew 6:10; Philippians 4:4; 1 Peter 3:12
David praised the Lord for giving him his heart’s desire, which is what was requested for him in Psalm 20:4 – 5. The granting of our heart’s desire is a conditional promise, the condition being that we desire the Lord and His perfect, holy will. The unvarnished truth about David is that, as much as he was a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14), there were occasions when his heart’s desires were not in tune with God’s will. This is one of the areas in which Psalm 21 applies much more to Jesus Christ than it does to David.
Think About It: Based on the Scripture references for today, what is involved in having a heart’s desire that God is pleased to answer? What is my heart’s desire?
Prayer: Lord, may my heart desire You above all else.
Read: Psalm 21:3; 2 Samuel 12:30; Ephesians 1:4 – 14; Revelation 2:10; 4:4, 10; 14:14; 19:12
David praised the Lord for giving him rich blessings and putting a crown of gold upon his head. Some commentators think this refers to the 70 pound crown of fine gold captured in the fall of Rabbah which was placed on David’s head– a rich blessing indeed! John was given a vision of the glorified Christ, and saw Him wearing many crowns; this is another indication of the prophetic, Messianic nature of Psalm 21. Crowns and blessings are also bestowed by Christ on His faithful saints.
Think About It: What are some of the rich blessings that are mine in Christ, according to Ephesians 1:4 – 14?
Prayer: Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
Read: Psalm 21:4 – 5; 2 Samuel 7:8 – 13; John 3:14 – 16; Romans 1:1 – 4, 5:21, 6:22 – 23; 1 John 5:11 – 13
When his kingdom was established, David desired to build the Temple. God’s response to David’s righteous desire, revealed to the prophet Nathan, is recorded is 2 Samuel 7:8 – 13. God promised to build David’s house and to establish his throne forever. The Messiah Jesus, the Son of David, brought about the ultimate fulfillment of God’s promise to David. Jesus not only received the gift of eternal life through His resurrection from the dead, He bestows eternal life on all who believe in Him.
Think About It: According to Romans 1:1 – 4, what does Christ’s resurrection declare about Him? How is it possible for me to have assurance that I have received the gift of eternal life? What should be the effect on the way I live right now of having this hope of living eternally with Jesus (1 John 3:2 – 3)?
Prayer: Praise Jesus for the privilege of receiving the gift of eternal life.
Read: Psalm 21:6 – 7; Psalm 16:11; Psalm 51:11 – 12; Exodus 33:14 – 18; 2 Kings 13:23
One aspect of David’s character that made him a “man after God’s own heart” was his delight in the Lord and his desire to be in God’s presence. David was deeply grieved about his sin because it raised the possibility of being cast away from God’s presence, and because sin had deprived him of the joy of his salvation (Psalm 51:11 – 12). Moses had a similar delight in God’s presence. Irreligious people sometimes picture biblical spirituality as severe and joyless, but it is evident from the experience of David and Moses that nothing could be farther from the truth. They knew the joy of the Lord; they also feared the joylessness and barrenness of life apart from God.
Think About It: What are some of the ways that I experience joy in Jesus?
Prayer: Praise Jesus for the joy of knowing Him.
Read: Psalm 21:8– 13; Exodus 15:6; Jeremiah 15:14; Malachi 4:1; Hebrews 12:28 – 29; Revelation 20:14 – 15
The last portion of Psalm 21 reminds us of the historical context of celebration of victory in battle. Although God had granted victory in battle, the warfare continued. One of the tragic realities of existence is that there are people who want nothing to do with God. They are His implacable enemies, and they are therefore also enemies of God’s people. This was true of Old Testament Israel, and it remains true in the New Testament era for the followers of Jesus (John 15:18 – 22). Because the warfare continues we need to be comforted by the truth that God will ultimately win the final victory.
Think About It: The image of God as a devouring fire recurs often in Scripture. How is that image a warning for God’s people? How is it a comfort for God’s people? What does it mean to worship God with reverence and awe?
Prayer: Praise God for the assurance of His ultimate triumph over evil.