Psalms 20:0 ¶ To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.
This is identified as a psalm of David that he sent to the chief Musician at the temple to use in praise to the LORD God of Israel. It’s a song of praise expressing faith and confidence in the LORD God of Israel.
Many commentators see this psalm as prophetic of Jesus. I thought Guzik’s summary said it best: “With the eye of faith, we see that this also speaks to the great battle fought by one greater than King David – by Jesus, the Son of David and the King of Kings. We can see this prayer being offered prophetically for Jesus as He pointed Himself toward the cross, where He would fight the greatest battle against sin, death, and Satan’s power.”
Psalms 20:1 ¶ The LORD hear thee in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob defend thee;
Psalms 20:2 Send thee help from the sanctuary, and strengthen thee out of Zion;
Psalms 20:3 Remember all thy offerings, and accept thy burnt sacrifice; Selah.
The song starts with words that encourage the people to call on the LORD in times of trouble, to place their trust in the God of Jacob. Implicit in that encouragement is that they maintain a position of fellowship with God by keeping covenant with Him and trying to live in obedience to His commandments. When they are in right relationship to the LORD, he knew that they could count on His help both spiritually (from the sanctuary) and physically (out of Zion). He knows that God will keep His covenant with them if they are faithful to honor Him with their offerings and burnt sacrifices in accordance with His command.
Spurgeon: “By “the name” is meant the revealed character and Word of God; we are not to worship "the unknown God," but we should seek to know the covenant God of Jacob, who has been pleased to reveal his name and attributes to his people.”
Selah = pause and meditate on the words you just sang
Spurgeon: “It is well to pause at the cross before we march onward to battle, and with the psalmist cry ‘Selah.’”
Psalms 20:4 Grant thee according to thine own heart, and fulfil all thy counsel.
I like the CJB for this verse: “May he grant you your heart’s desire and bring all your plans to success.”
Scripture is clear in declaring that God will grant our desires and give us success when we place our faith in Him as we acknowledge Him as our LORD, when we align our will with His will.
Psalms 37:4 “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”
Joshua 1:8 “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”
The timing and the manner in which the LORD grants those desires and gives that success may not always be according to our expectation, but our faith and obedience will never go unrewarded.
John 15:7 “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”
1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
Galatians 6:9 “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”
Colossians 3:23–24 “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance….”
Psalms 20:5 We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners: the LORD fulfil all thy petitions.
David is expressing confidence in gaining the victory if they go out with faith in confidence of God’s provision. The flag they carry is a message to the enemy that they fight in the name of the LORD God of Israel, a God that answers the prayers of His people.
Psalms 20:6 ¶ Now know I that the LORD saveth his anointed; he will hear him from his holy heaven with the saving strength of his right hand.
David is confident that as God’s anointed one, he can count on God’s strength to give him deliverance—as is true for every child of God, each of whom is anointed to serve Him in truth with a whole heart.
2 Corinthians 1:21–22 “Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.”
1 John 2:27 “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.”
Psalms 20:7 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.
Psalms 20:8 They are brought down and fallen: but we are risen, and stand upright.
David recognizes that their enemies trust in the strength of chariots and horses when they go to war. Israel, however, was different; they went out trusting in the strength and authority of the LORD “our” God. The chariots and horses of the enemy are no match for the LORD, and he is confident that they will emerge victorious.
Spurgeon: “The most dreaded war-engine of David's day was the war-chariot, armed with scythes, which mowed down men like grass: this was the boast and glory of the neighbouring nations; but the saints considered the name of Jehovah to be a far better defence. As the Israelites might not keep horses, it was natural for them to regard the enemy's calvary with more than usual dread. It is, therefore, all the greater evidence of faith that the bold songster can here disdain even the horse of Egypt in comparison with the Lord of hosts.”
Psalms 20:9 Save, LORD: let the king hear us when we call.
David closes the song with a prayer for the LORD, their true king, to save them and hear their prayer.