O Lord the king will delight in Your strength,And in Your salvation how greatly will he rejoice! You have given him his heart’s desire,And You have not withheld the request of his lips. Selah. For You meet him with blessings of good things;You set a crown of pure gold on his head. He asked life of You,And You gave it to him,Long life forever and evermore. His glory is great because of Your victory;Splendor and majesty You bestow upon him. For You make him most blessed [and a blessing] forever;You make him joyful with the joy of Your presence. For the king [confidently] trusts in the Lord,And through the lovingkindness (faithfulness, goodness) of the Most High he will never be shaken. Your hand will reach out and defeat all your enemies;Your right hand will reach those who hate you. You will make them as [if in] a blazing oven in the time of your anger;The Lord will swallow them up in His wrath,And the fire will devour them. Their offspring You will destroy from the earth,And their descendants from the sons of men. For they planned evil against You;They devised a [malevolent] plotAnd they will not succeed. For You will make them turn their backs [in defeat];You will aim Your bowstring [of divine justice] at their faces. Be exalted, Lord, in Your strength;We will sing and praise Your power.
Psalm 21: 1-13
If you were a king or a queen, how would you talk to God? Psalm 21 shows us how. It fits the occasion of a royal anniversary. After years in power, both monarch and people reflect upon the goodness of the Lord during the king’s reign.
Perhaps you have wondered how this psalm, which brims with confidence that everything turns out all right, applies to you. Recognize this psalm as celebrative of Jesus’ reign and one He Himself prays. Psalm 21 gives us access to the present joy in heaven where Jesus sits enthroned as our King. Here is what they are singing on the other side- so why not join in with them now.
Psalm 21 opens with the fact that our strength rests upon the Lord. Any victory we achieve is the result of His work and not ours. We rejoice in the strength of the Lord; that love that suffered willing for us in spite of our selfishness and sinfulness. His power prevailed over affliction, hardship, enmity, and even death and the grave. It is because that Christ’s life didn’t end in defeat, neither will ours. Scripture give this promise: “the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead will make alive your mortal body.” We can rejoice because we have the assurance of final victory through Christ.
That would be sufficient in itself but the psalm goes on to say that in addition to giving us His strength, the Lord by His grace, has also given us many of the desires of our hearts, here and now. On earth we may have moments when we feel unfulfilled or incomplete for God sometimes says no. Only eternity can give us true perspective on the ups and downs of life. It’s easy to limit God by focusing upon our present need rather than thinking about how God provides for us throughout the entire span of our existence, including eternity.
In the third verse, David describes prophetically what it like when Jesus returned from earth back into the presence of the Father. George Wood shares: “I have toured many of the great palaces of Europe; but I realize if the house had not been empty of royalty, I would have been excluded. How different God’s throne room. It is wide open for Jesus and all the guests of God’s Son.”
Here on earth the rich and great build exotic houses hidden behind fences and surrounded by security to keep the public and the lesser souls out. But Jesus told us that He was going to prepare a place for us to come and not just visit but to live with Him. Unlike the rich and great who wish to exclude, God will send His Son to bring from earth everyone who wants to live in His presence.
Worse four can only apply to Jesus for all the kings of Judah died and the promise applied to none of them. Only Jesus who descended from David could receive this promise to live forever and ever. But we can rejoice to know that in Him God offers unlimited days for those who have received Him.
Verse five was partially fulfilled as the disciples were given a glimpse of the eternal appearance of Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration. Revelation 1 tells of John seeing the Lord in all His glory. Paul tells us that as we keep our eyes on Christ, that little by little we are changed to reflect God’s glory. One day we will see Him fully and
1 John 3 says that when we see Him we shall be like Him. One day our flawed, imperfect selves will be made imperishable, immortal, and glorious.
As David writes verse six, no doubt he was thinking about how he had enjoyed being personally in the presence of the king and being banned from that presence. He had been expelled by Saul and he himself had banned his son Absalom. I’m sure that some of us have shook the hand of some important person and realized that although we knew them, they didn’t know us. There are thousands who get the opportunity to meet the president but that doesn’t mean he knows them. But the exact opposite is true with Jesus. He knows our name! And everything else and always welcomes us into His presence.
What do you trust in? When we place our security in persons or things of this earth, our source of safety is temporary and limited. Jesus won the victory by trusting in the Father even in His darkest hour. Verse seven says that we can trust in the “unfailing love of the Most High; He will not be shaken.”
The first seven verses reflect on victories already won. Verses 8-12 turns our attention to the future. Until we finally stand fully in Gods presence, there will always be battles to face and enemies to deal with. We may not have the same situation as David where his enemies were actually trying to kill him and our enemy may be a problem rather than a person, but nevertheless we find ourselves often facing conflict. George Wood says, “We do best to recognize that most of our day-to-day “enemies” rise from within.” If we ask, I’m sure that in this present time, God would be pleased to destroy these enemies.
To complete our perspective we need to see the “Lord high and lifted up and His train filled the temple.” When we recognize that He indeed is the Lord who reigns over all and we join those whose knee bows and tongue confesses that He is “King of kings and Lord of Lords” we say, “Be exalted, O Lord, in your strength; we will sing and praise your might.” One day we will worship before the throne but until that day, we can worship now in His presence. Will you choose today to celebrate the victories that Christ has already won and given to you? That He conquered and broke the power of sin over your life and rescued you from the prison of the devil ought to be sufficient to give Him praise. That one day we will overcome death and be resurrected to eternal life ought to be enough for us to praise and exalt Him now. And as recipients of receiving the multitude and manifold additional blessings and answered prayers, can we truly hold back the flood of praise, adoration and worship? Let’s don’t wait for heaven to enjoy Jesus. Let it begin today!
Dr. John Thompson