I would like to present a Psalm, number 20, written by King David. I love to read and study the Psalms because they are so encouraging and practical. I hope that you find this article practical as well.
Since there are only 9 verses in Psalm 2o, I will include them in the article.
1 May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble ! May the name of the God of Jacob set you securely on high ! 2 May He send you help from the sanctuary And support you from Zion ! 3 May He remember all your meal offerings And find your burnt offering acceptable ! Selah. 4 May He grant you your heart’s desire And fulfill all your counsel ! 5 We will sing for joy over your victory, And in the name of our God we will set up our banners. May the LORD fulfill all your petitions. 6 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. 7 Some boast in chariots and some in horses, But we will boast in the name of the LORD, our God. 8 They have bowed down and fallen, But we have risen and stood upright. 9 Save, O LORD ; May the King answer us in the day we call.
There are 3 major categories within this text and I would like to go through the text with these 3 categories in mind; promises, conditions, and benefits.
I. The promises
In order to appreciate the benefits we must first understand the promises that God offers us. The promises are important because they are given by the God of His Word, the God who keeps His Word at all times. Here are the promises that you can build your life on.
- He saves (6) – this refers to physical salvation. God saves us in our time of need. When we have no where else to turn, when you hit rock bottom, then you look up to God (you can look up to Him at any time, but usually, when you hit rock bottom, you are on your back and have no where else to look but “up”).
- He will answer (6) – if you cry out to God, you do not have to “hope” that He “may” find time to come to help. He will answer those who cry out to Him with a sincere heart.
- You can depend on His strength (6) – you no longer have to depend on your own strength. You no longer have to depend on your own wisdom and “great” ideas. Usually, our “great” ideas end up getting us to the place where we hit rock bottom. Why not depend on God’s help in the beginning? (so that you do not hit rock bottom in the first place)
As you can see, it all starts with God, continues with God, and ends with God. If you do not know the “promises” of God then you try to do things your way. If you do know the promises of God then you can live by His wisdom, help, and strength and not hit rock bottom. Which seems like the better path to you?
II. The conditions
Once you know the promises, there are some conditions that must be met so that you can receive the benefits.
- Expect victory (accomplishment according to God’s plans) – the expression “set up banners” literally means to “wave the flag of victory“. God tells us to be so confident in Him that we literally wave the flag of victory before we step on the battle field. We have so much confidence in God that we know that we are going to be victorious when we walk according to God’s ways and allow Him to work through us.
- Go through every situation in life with joy (because you know the outcome, it is for your own good). You know that God is in control. You know that all will work out for your good according to God’s plan. You rejoice because, even when you go through the valleys of life, you know that you are going to come out on the other side victorious.
- Do not boast in earthly strength, but instead, boast in God (7) – Many people depend on the things of this world when they find themselves in difficult situations. They turn to money, possessions, people (relatives, people in position), etc. They believe that the things that they can see are more dependable than God, whom they cannot see. In whom do you trust in difficult times?
- Trust in the character of God (7) – in order to trust in the character of God then you must first know who God is and how He works. In order to do this, you must be a student of the Word of God (this is where God reveals His character). Do you have a hunger for the Word of God? Do you spend time in the Word of God daily?
Do you have this type of relationship with God? Do you trust Him for victory? Do you walk with Him day by day, moment by moment.
III. The benefits
If you know the promises and meet the conditions, then you will be able to experience the benefits.
- You have God’s answer in the day of trouble (1)
- God’s character sets you on high (1) – knowing Him and obeying Him keeps you from hitting rock bottom. This is preventative measures. As it has been said, “prevention is much better that cure”.
- God sends His help (2) – if you do fall or are oppressed then God will protect you by sending help during your time of need.
- God supports those who follow Him or turn to Him in their time of need. (2)
- God sees your obedience and faithfulness (3) – He is pleased by your actions. You live by the will of God and He notices. As followers of Christ, we want to please God, not so that we can get things from Him, but like little children who just get pleasure out of making their parents happy.
- He grants your heart’s desires and carries out your plans (4) – of course, this depends on your being faithful and obedient to God (that is, your heart’s desires are God’s desires and your plans are God’s plans). If your plans are God’s plans then once again, you do not have to hit rock bottom. If you have an unfulfilled desire of your heart then it may be that it is not God’s desire so therefore, He does not carry it out. Do not lose heart if you do not get what you want, what you get is what God wants and it is for your benefit.
Where do you find yourself in this process? Are you living by your own wisdom, plans, and counsel heading toward rock bottom or, do you live by God’s plans? Are you taking preventative measures so that you do not hit rock bottom or are you constantly having to search for a “cure” because you get in a pickle by doing things your own way? I want to end with this quote:
12 There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. (Proverbs 14:12)
Whose way seems right to you?