Psalm 21

1O LORD, in your strength the king rejoices,

and in your salvation how greatly he exults!

2You have given him his heart’s desire

and have not withheld the request of his lips.

Selah

3For you meet him with rich blessings;

you set a crown of fine gold upon his head.

4He asked life of you; you gave it to him,

length of days forever and ever.

5His glory is great through your salvation;

splendor and majesty you bestow on him.

6For you make him most blessed forever;

you make him glad with the joy of your presence.

7For the king trusts in the LORD,

and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved.

8Your hand will find out all your enemies;

your right hand will find out those who hate you.

9You will make them as a blazing oven

when you appear.

The LORD will swallow them up in his wrath,

and fire will consume them.

10You will destroy their descendants from the earth,

and their offspring from among the children of man.

11Though they plan evil against you,

though they devise mischief, they will not succeed.

12For you will put them to flight;

you will aim at their faces with your bows.

13Be exalted, O LORD, in your strength!

We will sing and praise your power.

David, the King, has asked for victory and God has granted it. And David is not slow to thank God for doing so. Going into battle, David knew that the outcome was not a matter of arms or strategy or the number of chariots and horses (see Psalm 20:7f). Now that the victory has been won David is not reluctant to thank the God He asked help from. It is a great lesson. How many people are more than willing, yes, even desperate to call upon God when they are in some calamity, but as soon as the trouble is over, forget that they were ever so desperate as to call upon Him in the first place?

Think of the 9/11 tragedy. For weeks after, churches and other places of worship were full of petitioners seeking God to help and thanking God for sparing them. Yes, there were calls about why a loving God would do such a thing but there was also a great resurgence in religion. People were afraid, desperate, lost.

As time went on, however, the interest in God seemed to die away. Churches did not stay full and things went back to normal. Even though the horses and chariots of the greatest power on earth had failed, the conclusion seemed to be that all that was needed was a different type of horse and a better equipped chariot.

Answered prayers are an act of great grace upon a helpless and undeserving people. Our prayers are answered not because we are holy, or better behaved or more ethical. Our prayers are answered because we come to the eternal God who is, through His Son, on the basis of His death and resurrection for us and His eternal intercession for us as eternal High Priest who is our great Mediator. His righteousness has been credited to us and we are heard not because of our holiness, but because of His. There can be no greater love than this.

But when we are in trouble and call out to God we need to remember that we are able to be heard because of Jesus. To forget God after the crisis is past is to say that we no longer need Him.

God is not a crisis intervention plan. Without Him we can do nothing and we have His help because of His love. Those who do not know Him are not heard except for the general benevolence of God. They can easily forget because they have no inner resource to enable them to remember. They have nowhere to go except back to their chariots and horses.

Part of the church’s work is to convince them of the fruitlessness of such a task. To keep going back to that which cannot satisfy is a most pathetic thing. We have better and we should tell them of it.

And they should be able to tell without much convincing that we indeed do trust something better than what the world can give. And we, like David should be filled with praise to our great God who is worthy of all the praise for His is all the power.

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