The Twentieth Psalm: In Verse

Twilight at Mungpoo, 2004. Copyright Tan Pratonix
Twilight at Mungpoo, 2004. Copyright Tan Pratonix

Psalm 20

***

Lord, answer us speedily in the day of trouble,
Defend us and set us securely on high;
Send us help from the heavenly sanctuary,
Support us from Zion: this is our cry.

Remember our prayers, worship and praises;
Forget not our service and due sacrifice.
With loyal devotion we offered our bodies
On the altar, O Lord: what more would suffice?

Lord, fulfil Your purpose in us, and grant us
Our heart’s desire and passionate plea –
You have answered all our petitions, Master;
We will shout for joy, and make melody.

On Calvary’s Cross You saved us, redeemed us,
You conquered the Accuser and great Adversary;
You recovered every loss and swiftly restored us,
Our hearts rejoice in Your glorious victory.

You are our Defender, High Tower and Rock;
You rescue us repeatedly with a righteous right hand.
Others may trust in sword, chariot and horse,
But you save with a word, a heavenly command.

You have revived us, O Lord, we stand up again;
Our enemies are conquered, and beaten they fall;
We will boast in our Savior, in the power of His Name;
Our King always answers us in the day that we call.

 

© Tom Prato/Tan Pratonix

 

Reflections on Psalm 20

1. Psalm 20 contains a seven-fold benediction. Note the seven 'Mays' in the text (NASB translation). 'May' the Lord answer you in the day of trouble! 'May' the name of the God of Jacob set you securely on high!

2. It is evident from vv 6-8 that David went through a great crisis, a great battle against his enemies, but came through victorious with the help of the Lord. 'Now I know,' says David in verse 6; he is talking from experience. He has proved God's faithfulness. Our God will never fail us nor forsake us.

3. The psalm breathes the spirit of prayer. Our God is a prayer-hearing and prayer-answering God. Look at the verbs. He hears; He answers. He defends; He helps; He strengthens; He supports. He remembers all our offerings (our spiritual service of prayer, thanksgiving, worship, service, sacrifice), v 3. He grants; He fulfils. He saves; He delivers; He sets us securely on high.

4. In the KJV it says, 'the name of the God of Jacob defend thee,' 1b. But, in the Hebrew, and correctly translated in the NASB, it says, 'May the name of the God of Jacob set you securely on high.' Every trial, every battle we go through, brings us to a higher place. We have a better understanding of God. Our spiritual capacities increase. We are brought into a spiritually high place.

5. How does the Lord help us? His help comes from the sanctuary of our spirit, the 'secret place', the place where the Spirit dwells. On one side, the Lord answers from His holy heaven; on the other side, he delivers through the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.

6. We will sing for joy over Your victory, v 5. I believe this verse refers to the victory of the Lord Jesus Christ on Calvary; the victory that He obtained over sin, Satan and death. Every victory in our lives has its basis in that great victory, the victory of the Cross.

7. What a merciful and compassionate God we have! Instead of reading the Psalm in the subjunctive mood (expressive of a wish or desire); read it in a more emphatic mood - substitute 'will' for 'may' - and you will be blessed even more. The Lord will answer you in the day of trouble; the Lord will defend you; the Lord will send you help from the sanctuary; the Lord will support you from Zion; the Lord will remember all your offerings; the Lord will grant you your heart's desire; the Lord will save you! And you will rejoice in His great salvation.

8. 'Now I know,' says David in verse 6. He testifies to the faithfulness of God, from his own personal experience. He speaks of the saving strength of His right hand - the right hand of righteousness & justice (Isa 41:10); of power & might (Exod 15:6); of support & protection (Ps 18:35); of joy & blessing (Ps 16:11); of love & intimacy (Song 2:6, 8:3); of valiant victory (Ps 118:15, 16); of favour, honor and exaltation (Matt 25:33; Ps 110:1). David is speaking not only as a sheep of the Lord's pasture, but also as the chosen and anointed of the Lord's favour. He says, 'We have risen and we stand upright.' Our 'rising' is because of the resurrection power of the Lord; our 'standing upright' is because of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

9. Verse 7 is very precious. People boast in their own strength and skill - in chariots and horses. But the children of the Lord will boast in the Name of the Lord Jesus, who is 'the Lord, their God'. A Christian does not boast in men, or in the world, or even in himself; He boasts only in the Lord. Christ alone is his strength, his song, his salvation.

10. The Psalm ends with the thought that Christ is King. He has been exalted to the Throne, and is now seated at the right hand of the Heavenly Father. He is 'far above all' and He rules over all.

END

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