Psalm 20 5

Parallel Verses

New American Standard Bible

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.

King James Version

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.

Holman Bible

Let us shout for joy at your victory and lift the banner in the name of our God. May the Lord fulfill all your requests.

International Standard Version

May we shout for joy at your deliverance and unfurl our banners in the name of our God. May the LORD fulfill all your petitions.

A Conservative Version

We will triumph in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners. LORD fulfill all thy petitions.

American Standard Version

We will triumph in thy salvation, And in the name of our God we will set up our banners: Jehovah fulfil all thy petitions.

Amplified

We will triumph at your salvation and victory, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners. May the Lord fulfill all your petitions.

Bible in Basic English

We will be glad in your salvation, and in the name of our God we will put up our flags: may the Lord give you all your requests.

Darby Translation

We will triumph in thy salvation, and in the name of our God will we set up our banners. Jehovah fulfil all thy petitions!

Jubilee 2000 Bible

We will rejoice in thy saving health, and in the name of our God we will be standard-bearers: let the LORD fulfil all thy petitions.

Julia Smith Translation

We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will cover over: Jehovah will fill up all our petitions.

King James 2000

We will rejoice in your salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners: the LORD fulfill all your petitions.

Lexham Expanded Bible

May we shout for joy over your victory, and in the name of our God may we set up banners. May Yahweh fulfill all your requests.

Modern King James verseion

We will rejoice in your salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up banners; may Jehovah fulfill all your prayers.

NET Bible

Then we will shout for joy over your victory; we will rejoice in the name of our God! May the Lord grant all your requests!

New Heart English Bible

We will triumph in your salvation. In the name of our God, we will set up our banners. May the LORD grant all your requests.

The Emphasized Bible

We will shout aloud in thy salvation, and, in the Name of our God, shall we become great, Yahweh fulfil all thy petitions.

Webster

We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners: the LORD fulfill all thy petitions.

World English Bible

We will triumph in your salvation. In the name of our God, we will set up our banners. May Yahweh grant all your requests.

Youngs Literal Translation

We sing of thy salvation, And in the name of our God set up a banner. Jehovah doth fulfil all thy requests.

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Psalm 20:1-9 Trusting God in Prayer

Living next to the Gulf Coast has sensitized me to “the calm before the storm,” that eerie moment of silence just before the winds and rains crash in upon us. The skies become leaden. The wind subsides momentarily. The smell of rain is in the air. It is as if nature pauses before its holocaust breaks loose. Similarly, life has its moments of calm. Battlefields lie quiet; then the bombardment begins. Anxious reporters freeze as news of the president’s condition comes from the emergency room. Marital strain can grip a family in silence before the cracks appear.

Psalm 20 is such a pause. Israel is ready for battle; the “day of trouble” has come. The legions with their banners are ordered for war. But while pagans trust in chariots and horses, God’s people trust in His name. In “the calm before the storm,” the commanders go up to the temple with their troops where the king offers his sacrifice and Israel is blessed for battle. Only when spiritual preparation is completed can the opposing forces be joined.1

Many people want to have victory in life. They want to see success in everything they do. Here, David prays for victory in the oncoming battle. He asks for God to hand him victory. He admits that other people trust in other things to gain victory. David only trusts God.2

But just because he doesn’t trust in other ways for success, that doesn’t prevent him from making the “big ask.” Eight times, David claims that God can do something for him to provide him victory. David prayed to God for victory in his circumstances. God helped him. David was in a very tight spot. But God helped him. Just as God helped David, He can also help you.

I agree with John Calvin about this psalm. He said:

Many interpreters view this prayer as offered up only on one particular occasion; but in this I cannot agree. The occasion of its composition at first may have arisen from some particular battle which was about to be fought, either against the Ammonites, or against some other enemies of Israel. But the design of the Holy Spirit, in my judgment, was to deliver to the Church a common form of prayer, which, as we may gather from the words, was to be used whenever she was threatened with any danger.3

These requests were from a king who was ready for battle against a national foe. I believe that we can personalize these requests from a child of a king who is ready for battle against a spiritual foe. So I want us to look at these prayers as petitions we can ask from God in our own lives.

EIGHT WORDS I CAN PRAY TO GOD

I SAY:

1. Answer me (Psalm 20:1, 9)

“May Yahweh answer you in a day of trouble; may the name of Jacob’s God protect you.” (Psalm 20:1, HCSB)

“Lord, give victory to the king! May He answer us on the day that we call.” (Psalm 20:9, HCSB)

I don’t know about you, but I expect God in general to answer my prayers. God promises to answer when I call upon Him. In general, we want answers from God. So the first way in which praying to God can help me is because God answers prayer. He will answer if you ask Him.

2. Protect me (Psalm 20:1)

The psalm turns from the general call for answer to a specific type of answer: protection. It also establishes the immediate context; it is a “day of trouble,” a day of “distress” or “pressure.”4

Everyone has their days of trouble. Everyone has times in their life when they want protection.

“May Yahweh answer you in a day of trouble; may the name of Jacob’s God protect you.” (Psalm 20:1, HCSB)

In this case, God protects me when I call for help. He even protects me when I don’t realize it.

Ira Sankey was traveling on a steamer in the Delaware River when he was recognized by some passengers who had seen his picture in the newspaper and knew he was associated with evangelist D. L. Moody. When they asked him to sing one of his own compositions, Sankey said he preferred the hymn by William Bradbury, “Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us.”

He suggested that everyone join in the singing. One of the stanzas begins, “We are thine, do thou befriend us; be the guardian of our way.”

When he finished, a man stepped out of the shadows and asked, “Were you in the army, Mr. Sankey?”

“Yes, I joined up in 1860.”

“Did you do guard duty at night in Maryland, about 1862?”

“Yes, I did.”

“I was in the Confederate Army,” said the stranger. “I saw you one night at Sharpsburg. I had you in my gun sight as you stood in the light of the full moon. Then just as I was about to pull the trigger, you began to sing. It was the same hymn you sang tonight. I couldn’t shoot you.”5

The word, Israel, means “Governed by God.” The word, Jacob, on the other hand means “Heel Snatcher.” Therefore, when you read about the God of Israel in the Old Testament, the reference is to the nation when it was obedient to God. When you read about the God of Jacob, the reference is to the nation when it was following its sinful tendencies. Thus, David’s prayer is, “May the Lord hear you even when you’re not doing as well as you ought.”6

3. Help me (Psalm 20:2)

“May He send you help from the sanctuary and sustain you from Zion.” (Psalm 20:2, HCSB)

There are many times in my life when I need help. What do I do? I call on someone I know who can help me. If it is my car, I call a mechanic. If there is something wrong in the bathroom, I call a plumber. I call upon the right person to help me depending upon the situation. You can look at God as the Everyman helper.

“God is our refuge and strength, a helper who is always found in times of trouble.” (Psalm 46:1, HCSB)

4. Sustain me (Psalm 20:2)

“May He send you help from the sanctuary and sustain you from Zion.” (Psalm 20:2, HCSB)

God doesn’t just help in times of need. He sustains me. He gives me the strength to get through the situation. When you depend upon someone to sustain you, you place your trust in that person to provide all of your needs. God has promised to do that:

“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19, HCSB)

God has a large enough supply to sustain me.

5. Remember me (Psalm 20:3)

“May He remember all your offerings and accept your burnt offering. Selah” (Psalm 20:3, HCSB)

David came to this situation with a long history of worship to God. He had built a strong relationship. David wanted God to remember that relationship now that David needed God’s help. David expected God to intervene because David had been loyal to God.

What we do day by day in times of peace prepares us for times of war. When our devotional life is a habit we are well served for the battle.7

As I build a relationship with God, there will be times when I want to recall that relationship to remind God that He should help me. This isn’t selfishness. This is a reminder of my dependence upon God. This leads naturally to my next point.

6. Give me (Psalm 20:4)

“May He give you what your heart desires and fulfill your whole purpose.” (Psalm 20:4, HCSB)

If I am dependent upon God daily, then when the tough times come, God will help me and give me what I need. Jesus this clearly:

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.” (Matthew 6:33, HCSB)

When God gives to help me, it is not for my selfish endeavors. God gives to fulfill His purposes in me.

7. Fulfill me (Psalm 20:4)

“May He give you what your heart desires and fulfill your whole purpose.” (Psalm 20:4, HCSB)

God doesn’t just give to me to make me happy. He gives so that He can fulfill what He wants to do in my life. God wants to be my source in life. That is why God wants me to come to Him in prayer.

8. Lift me (Psalm 20:5-8)

“Let us shout for joy at your victory and lift the banner in the name of our God. May Yahweh fulfill all your requests.” (Psalm 20:5, HCSB)

God wants to give victory in your life. It doesn’t matter what kind of difficult or challenging situation you encounter, you just have to ask God for His help. He wants to lift you up. Just as the people of God would raise a banner in God’s name, I can raise a banner of hope in God’s name.

All of these answers are conditional. They can only happen if we ask God for help. We can’t trust in ourselves, our power, our strength. We can only trust in God to answer us in our time of trouble. So when we ask these requests, God’s answer is always: “trust Me.”

GOD SAYS: Trust Me

“Some take pride in chariots, and others in horses, but we take pride in the name of Yahweh our God.” (Psalm 20:7, HCSB)

We should insist that this is not a formula for defeat but a formula for trust. Human resources are needful, but they can become a substitute for God’s help.8

God is the One who can solve our troubles. We can stand firm because we know God will answer (Psalm 20:8).

“They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand firm.” (Psalm 20:8, HCSB)

His answers don’t take long. He answers on the day we call Him (Psalm 20:9).9

“Lord, give victory to the king! May He answer us on the day that we call.” (Psalm 20:9, HCSB)

We can trust God, not to remove all crises and difficulties from our lives, but to bring us through them, and, in so doing, to achieve his purpose in our lives as well.10

God will answer our prayers. All He asks from me is: “Trust Me.” But this prayer from Psalm 20 is also a great prayer to pray for others. Take these phrases and change it to the name of the person you are praying for. You can use Psalm 20 to pray for someone else. John Barry gives us this insight in his devotional Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan:

“I’ll pray for you.”

We say it often, but how many times do we actually remember to do it? Our biggest downfall might not be a lack of compassion—it’s probably just not taking time to write down the request and not having a model of praying for others.

When I pray for God’s will in my life, I’ve found that using the Lord’s Prayer works well when I’m having trouble praying. But I haven’t adopted a model for praying for others. Psalm 20 contains such a model, and the psalmist offers some beautiful words for others:

“May Yahweh answer you in the day of trouble.… May he send you help … May he remember all your offerings … May he give to you your heart’s desire … May we shout for you over your victory” (Psalm 20:1–5). And then the psalmist goes on to proclaim God’s goodness and that He will answer (Psalm 20:6). And this is the line I think I love the most: “Some boast in chariots, and others in horses, but we boast in the name of Yahweh, our God. They will collapse and fall, and we will rise and stand firm” (Psalm 20:7–8).

“They will … fall … and we will rise.” We must pray for others with this kind of confidence.11

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The title of this Psalm is the same as several others: To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. Yet the Psalm itself is different, notably because it is in the voice of a multitude that prays on behalf of the King of Israel as he is ready to go into battle. This is seen in the way the Psalm speaks in the first-person plural (We) in Psalm 20:1-5 and 20:7-9. The first-person singular (I) of 20:6 is likely the response of either David himself or the High Priest on his behalf.

Yet since this is A Psalm of David, perhaps David took a moment of spontaneous prayer by the people on his behalf and shaped it into a song to remember and recall and spiritual strength and glory of that moment.

A. The people pray for the King.

1. (1-2) May the LORD answer and help.

May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble;
May the name of the God of Jacob defend you;
May He send you help from the sanctuary,
And strengthen you out of Zion;

a. May the LORD answer you: This was a prayer from a multitude or congregation (based on the use of we in 20:5) that God would answer the prayers of one, who in context is the king readying for battle.

i. We know that “you” refers to one person, because it is in the singular. “You is singular throughout, identified in verse 6 as the Lord’s anointed.” (Kidner)

ii. The picture is that of King David, before battle – perhaps something like the battle with the Syrians in 2 Samuel 10 – at the tabernacle of God and offering prayers and sacrifices before the battle. Here the on looking multitude responds to the king’s prayer with the cry, “May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble.”

iii. “It is one of the most stirring of the Psalms, by its tense awareness of life-and-death issues soon to be resolved.” (Kidner)

iv. 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.

b. Answer you in the day of trouble… defend you… send you help… strengthen you: After the pattern of Hebrew poetry, this idea is intensively expressed by the use of repetition with slight variation. David was about to lead Israel into battle and he needed the help of God in each of these ways.

i. Because King David was about to lead Israel as a whole into battle, the language is full of references appealing to the LORD as the God of Israel.

· The LORD: Using Yahweh, the covenant name of God.

· The God of Jacob: Remembering Israel’s patriarch.

· From the sanctuary: Calling to mind the tabernacle, the center of Israel’s worship.

· Out of Zion: Referring to the hills of Jerusalem.

ii. “This word for sanctuary is simply ‘holiness’, a synonym here for Zion, where already God’s ark, but not yet His Temple, signified His presence.” (Kidner)

iii. The prayer that God would strengthen you out of Zion is fitting for more than the field of battle. It is also appropriate for the church pulpit, which is a field of battle in a spiritual sense. “This verse is a benediction befitting a Sabbath morning, and may be the salutation either of a pastor to his people, or of a church to its minister.” (Spurgeon)

2. (3) May the LORD receive sacrifice.

May He remember all your offerings,
And accept your burnt sacrifice. Selah

a. May He remember all your offerings: Sacrifice was commonly made at important moments, such as on the eve of battle. This is a prayer that the LORD would see and receive the sacrifices King David would make before war.

i. All your offerings: “The minchah, which is here mentioned, was a gratitude-offering. It is rarely used to signify a bloody sacrifice.” (Clarke)

b. May He remember… and accept your burnt sacrifice: This understands that not all sacrifices are accepted before God. If they were not offered with faith and in accordance with the Levitical system, they would not be remembered or accepted by God.

i. Burnt sacrifice: “The olah here mentioned was a bloody sacrifice. The blood of the victim was spilt at the altar, and the flesh consumed.” (Clarke)

ii. The place of faith was important in the Old Testament sacrificial system. The one who brought the offering had to trust in the ultimate, perfect sacrifice that God would one day provide, the one that each animal sacrifice pointed towards (Genesis 22:8, 22:14).

iii. “The prayer for acceptance of the burnt offering is very graphic, since the word rendered ‘accept’ is literally ‘esteem fat.’” (Maclaren)

c. Selah: The idea in the Hebrew for this word (occurring 74 times in the Old Testament) is for a pause. Most people think it speaks of a reflective pause, a pause to meditate on the words just spoken. It may also be a musical instruction, for a musical interlude of some kind.

i. We take this Selah as an opportunity to consider Jesus, and see that this prayer was appropriate for Him as He faced the cross. The prayer was worthy to be prayed – that God would indeed remember and accept the offering Jesus made on the cross, which could rightly be called a burnt sacrifice, as it was burned with the fire of God’s righteous judgment, and how Jesus held nothing back in this sacrifice.

3. (4) May the LORD grant fulfillment.

May He grant you according to your heart’s desire,
And fulfill all your purpose.

a. May He grant you according to your heart’s desire: In this moment, King David had one desire – to defend the people of God and the kingdom in covenant with God. Therefore it was good to pray, “May He grant you according to your heart’s desire.”

i. When our desires are in accord with the plan and will of God for us, we can pray this same prayer with confidence. We can also look for God to bring our desires more and more into conformity with His, in the course of Christian growth.

b. And fulfill all your purpose: Since David’s purpose was victory for the people of God, this was a good and necessary prayer to pray.

i. We see this statement also applied to the great desire and purpose for the King of Kings as He went to battle to accomplish our salvation. With the perception of faith, we look to Jesus, struggling in the Garden of Gethsemane and say to Him, “May He grant You according to Your heart’s desire, and fulfill all Your purpose.”

ii. On a personal level, we also see that God gives each one a purpose to fulfill in His great plan of the ages. The key to a life of fulfilled desire and achieved purpose is to find our place in His great plan, instead of hoping to make God an actor in our plan.

· Jesus knew this fulfilled desire and purpose, shown by His prayer in John 17: I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. (John 17:4)

· The Apostle Paul knew this fulfilled desire and purpose, shown by these words toward the end of his earthly life: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. (2 Timothy 4:7)

4. (5) May the LORD answer prayer.

We will rejoice in your salvation,
And in the name of our God we will set up our banners!
May the LORD fulfill all your petitions.

a. We will rejoice in your salvation: This was the confidence the people had in King David’s success. They had so much trust in God’s deliverance that they had already set up our banners of joyful celebration.

i. “Here the raising of the banners signifies God’s victory over the enemies.” (VanGemeren)

ii. The banners are “Our flags of defiance to the enemy, or our tokens of triumph to God’s glory, who hath given us the victory.” (Trapp)

b. May the LORD fulfill all your petitions: Once again is both the prayer and the confidence that God would hear and fulfill the prayers of His king.

i. This was true both of David and the Son of David; of the King of Israel and the King of Kings. Jesus prayed for success in His work on the cross, and it was unthinkable that the Father would not answer the prayers of the Son.

B. The triumph of the LORD‘s Anointed.

1. (6) The LORD saves His anointed.

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.

a. Now I know that the LORD saves His anointed: Here King David expressed the great confidence that God would answer the prayers of His people. God would save (rescue) the king (His anointed).

i. His anointed: In a sense, every king of Israel was God’s anointed because they were all appointed to their office by a literal anointing of oil poured upon their head. This literal anointing with oil was a picture of the spiritual anointing with the Holy Spirit needed for their duty of leading the people of God as king. In saying “His anointed,” David refers to himself as king.

ii. His anointed: At the same time, it was also understood that there would come an ultimate Anointed One, the perfect King of Israel – the Meshiach, the Christ, the Messiah (as in Psalm 2 and others). It was true of David and Israel in his day that the Lord saves His anointed and his people; it is even more perfectly true of the ultimate and perfect Anointed One, Jesus Christ.

iii. “The verb ‘saves’, from the same root as ‘victorious’ could yield the translation ‘the LORD gives victory to his anointed.’” (VanGemeren) Kidner also notes that this word (in Psalm 20:6 and 20:9) comes from the same root in Hebrew as the name of Jesus.

iv. Indeed, the LORD saves His anointed:

· The Father saved the Son from sin.

· The Father saved the Son from pride.

· The Father saved the Son from self-reliance.

· The Father saved the Son from doubt.

· The Father saved the Son from failure.

· The Father saved the Son from death.

b. He will answer him from His holy heaven with the saving strength of His right hand: This confirms and strengthens the idea that the LORD saves His anointed.

i. He is saved by an answer; God is not silent to His anointed.

ii. He is saved from heaven; God hears and sends help from His throne.

iii. He is saved with power, with the saving strength.

iv. He is saved with skill and favor, with the strength that comes from His right hand.

v. Each of these was true for King David, but even more perfectly true of the Son of David, the ultimate anointed of the LORD.

2. (7) Trusting in the name of the LORD.

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses;
But we will remember the name of the LORD our God.

a. Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: David knew what kings and their people usually trusted in – human strength and the ways it is often expressed (in chariots and in horses).

i. If writing today, David might say something like, “Some trust in nuclear weapons and some trust in tanks.” It is part of human nature to put our trust in such things.

ii. “Chariots and horses are very terrible, especially to raw soldiers unaccustomed to their whirling onset; but the Name is mightier.” (Maclaren)

iii. Part of the reason David refused to trust in chariots and horses was because God had commanded it so, commanding in the Law of Moses that the Kings of Israel would not multiply horses for themselves, either for use in cavalry or to pull war-chariots (Deuteronomy 17:16).

b. But we will remember: David drew a strong contrast. “They trust in those things, but our trust is in God.”

i. “In the spiritual war, in which we are all engaged, the first and necessary step to victory is, to renounce all confidence in the wisdom and strength of nature and the world; and to remember, that we can do nothing, but in the name, by the merits, through the power, and for the sake of Jesus Christ, our Lord, and our God.” (Horne)

ii. “Alas, how many in our day who profess to be the Lord’s are as abjectly dependent upon their fellow–men or upon an arm of flesh in some shape or other, as if they had never known the name of Jehovah at all.” (Spurgeon)

c. But we will remember the name of the LORD our God: David put his trust in the person, the character of God. He didn’t carry the name of the LORD as a magical incantation; rather the name speaks of the comprehensive character of God and is an expression of His faithfulness to His covenant with Israel.

i. “By the name of God is generally understood, in Holy Writ, the various properties and attributes of God: these properties and attributes make up and constitute the name of God. As when Solomon says, ‘The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runneth into it and is safe.’” (Melvill, cited in Spurgeon)

ii. This – the character and faithfulness of God – was stronger to David and Israel than thousands of chariots or horses.

iii. Therefore, we sense a triumphant defiance in David when he says, “But we will remember.” He acknowledges how easy it is to forget, and how counter-intuitive to human nature it is to trust God instead of human strength and resources.

3. (8-9) The triumph of those who trust in the LORD.

They have bowed down and fallen;
But we have risen and stand upright.
Save, LORD!
May the King answer us when we call.

a. They have bowed down and fallen; but we have risen and stand upright: David’s trust in God could be justified on many grounds, but one of those was simply pragmatic grounds – trusting in God works, and David saw it. Those who trusted in chariots and horses have bowed down and fallen. Those who remembered the name of the LORDhave risen and stand upright.

b. Save, LORD! May the King answer us when we call: The rescue David confidently sang of had not completely come. He still needed to cry out, “Save, LORD!” He still had his trust in the anticipated answer of the LORD.

i. “This is the language of faith, not after the battle, but before it.” (Morgan)

ii. “The final phrase, lit. ‘in the day of our calling’, has a telling echo of the opening verse.” (Kidner)

©2018 David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission

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