Psalms 21-25 O LORD, in your strength the king rejoices, and in your salvation he exults!

From Psalms 21-25

19 Psalms thumbToday’s Psalm speaks about the close relationship between the LORD and his Christ. It reflects the dependence of the king’s authority and the future of God’s people on the steadfast love of the LORD. The LORD gives this king blessing and victory over his enemies. In the gospel, King Jesus wins over his enemies by the cross.

This post is part of my bible in a year series.

Passage and Comments

The Psalmist begins praying to the LORD about the king’s relationship with him. It’s helpful to remember the king of Israel is also known as the Christ.

1 O LORD, in your strength the king rejoices, and in your salvation how greatly he exults!

2 You have given him his heart’s desire and have not withheld the request of his lips. Selah

3 For you meet him with rich blessings; you set a crown of fine gold upon his head.

4 He asked life of you; you gave it to him, length of days forever and ever.

5 His glory is great through your salvation; splendor and majesty you bestow on him.

6 For you make him most blessed forever; you make him glad with the joy of your presence.

7 For the king trusts in the LORD, and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved. (Ps 21.1-7)

The king rejoices in the LORD’s salvation. Whether from enemies pursuing him or victories in battle the LORD has time and time again delivered him from death and defeat. For that he praises the LORD and rejoices in him.

What is your heart’s desire?

Even more the LORD has prospered him. Given him his heart’s desire, something he has asked the LORD for. Presumably victory over his enemies, long life, wealth and children. He has also been given a crown on his head. These are all seen as acts of grace bestowed upon the king.

The LORD gives the king glory, splendor, and majesty (Ps 21.5). We can assume after the victorious battle. These attributes are normally applied to God in the Old Testament. These blessings describe the special position the king has as the LORD’s representative among his people.

The king trusts in the LORD and the LORD cares for him with his steadfast love.

The speaker changes. Now it is the king praying to the LORD regarding his future victories.

8 Your hand will find out all your enemies; your right hand will find out those who hate you.

9 You will make them as a blazing oven when you appear. The LORD will swallow them up in his wrath, and fire will consume them.

10 You will destroy their descendants from the earth, and their offspring from among the children of man.

11 Though they plan evil against you, though they devise mischief, they will not succeed.

12 For you will put them to flight; you will aim at their faces with your bows. (Ps 21.8-12)

The king and the LORD share a common enemy. The wicked, sin and death.

The king predicts the upcoming victories the LORD will win over his enemies. They will be consumed with fire, swallowed up in wrath. Their families and nations will be forever destroyed.

The Psalm ends on a note of praise to the LORD for all he has done and for what he will do in the future.

13 Be exalted, O LORD, in your strength! We will sing and praise your power. (Ps 21.13)

God’s people sing his praises in response.

Story of Israel

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

“The particular liturgy reflected in Ps 21 clarifies one of the most fundamental aspects of the life of the covenant community, namely the close interrelationship between past, present and future (see further Craigie, The Book of Deuteronomy, 40). The remembrance of the past evoked not only past victories, but also the fact that those victories had been a result of divine activity (vv 2–7). Because God had acted in the past, he could certainly also grant victory again to his people in the future (vv 9–13); remembrance of the past established a precedent for the future. But always, past and future remained contingent upon the present moment, and it was the present moment which formed the central point of the liturgy (v 8). The memory of the past created present trust, which in turn would form the basis of future success and victory.” (Craigie, P.C., 1998. Psalms 1–50, Dallas: Word, Incorporated.)

Story of Jesus

In the gospel Jesus is the king. He is the Christ of God. Like the Psalm he has a special relationship with the LORD. His father. In this passage he speaks about his hour. The special time when the father will glorify him.

27 “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”

29 The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.”

30 Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

33 He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die.

34 So the crowd answered him, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?”

35 So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” (Jn 12.27-36)

Jesus refers to his death (Jn 12.34). This is how he is glorified and where the father is glorified the most. On the cross.

The Psalmist said, ‘You set a crown of fine gold upon his head’ (Ps 21.3), ‘His glory is great through your salvation; splendor and majesty you bestow on him’ (Ps 21.5), ‘For the king trusts in the LORD,  and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved’ (Ps 21.7).

Each of these is easily applied to King Jesus with surprising twists. Jesus wore a crown of thorns. He died on the cross for our sins and our salvation. On the third day God raised him from the death, giving him glory, splendour and majesty. Through it all he trusted in the LORD. Trusted in his love and faithfulness.

Is Jesus your king?

Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2016. All Rights Reserved.