Daily Reflections August 16, 2017
In popular music there are love songs, anthems, and ballads. The ancient Hebrew people used different types of psalms in their worship including royal psalms, laments, and thanksgiving psalms.
Today we are looking at two Royal Psalms; a Royal Psalm is about the Davidic monarchy. Beyond the rule of the earthly king, these also have messianic overtones; that is to say they speak of the eternal reign of Jesus Christ. These two Psalms form a pair - they reflect two sides of a crisis. They are prayers for, and by the King, concerning victory over his enemies. Psalm 20 is a prayer for the king for victory, and Psalm 21 is a thanksgiving to God by the King for giving victory.
Let’s begin by looking at Psalm 20.
May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob protect you! May he send you help from the sanctuary and give you support from Zion! (Psalm 20:1-2 ESV)
People are praying for their King in the day of trouble (verse 1). There is really nothing like distress to deal with our pride. God knows how much opposition is good for us. Distress brings us to our knees and helps us regain a proper sense of God’s reign over our lives.
O Lord, save the king! May he answer us when we call. (Psalm 20:9 ESV)
In spite of the trouble, we have rock solid confidence in God’s certain help. The victory is the Lord’s. “Now I know…” (Verse 6) is the center of this psalm. This confidence flows from a deep theological awareness: Yahweh is the supreme King. He answers our prayers. He gives his supernatural support. His kingdom has come, and will fully come in the person and through the work of the Anointed One, Jesus Christ our Messiah.
The final part of Psalm 20 ends with this declaration of confidence in God alone,
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. (Psalm 20:7 ESV)
In the times of trouble, what do you trust in? There is a relentless battle for our heart's trust. In David's day, trust was placed in military might. In our day, the battle for our trust often includes trust in our money, but may we instead trust in the unsearchable riches of Christ. Some trust in their goodness but may we instead trust in the finished work of Jesus. Some trust in their own strength, but may we instead trust in the strong One, Jesus Christ.
On the other side of the coin, Psalm 21 recounts the blessings of God for victories won. The strong king, with all his earthly power bows before the great King with all his infinite power. Verse 7 is the center of this psalm,
For the king trusts in the Lord, and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved. (Psalm 21:7 ESV)
Prayers have been answered. God has saved the king and given him unexpected blessings (see 20:4 and 21:2). The king’s enemies have been defeated (see verses 8-12). Thanksgiving is the proper response to answered prayers and rejoicing is the proper response to the eternal reign of the Messiah!
In distress, we can use these psalms to help us pray for God’s help and support. Jesus is our eternal and victorious King who ever lives before the Father to make intercession for us. These psalms remind us of why we pray in Jesus’ name - because Jesus is the King to whom God listens.
So in Jesus’ name, pray for your spiritual leaders. Pray for government leaders. Pray for God’s kingdom to come. Trust in Christ the eternal King who bestows every blessing, has defeated his enemies, wears the crown forever and gives us the victory.
Associate Pastor Jody Cross
In today’s text we find a terrifying verse:
“Behold, I am watching over them for disaster and not for good. All the men of Judah who are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by famine, until there is an end of them.” (Jeremiah 44:27 ESV)
The God of Heaven and Earth – the God who fashioned every man and woman and who spoke the universe into existence – is committed to destroying the men of Judah who are hiding in Egypt.
How could this happen? What could these men have done that would provoke such a pronouncement from God? Remember, this is the same God who said to other Judean’s earlier in the book of Jeremiah:
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 ESV)
To explain how this came about, I would draw your attention back to chapter 42. These men of Judah sought the Lord for direction and He gave them this clear command:
“11 Do not fear the king of Babylon, of whom you are afraid. Do not fear him, declares the Lord, for I am with you, to save you and to deliver you from his hand.12 I will grant you mercy, that he may have mercy on you and let you remain in your own land. 13 But if you say, ‘We will not remain in this land,’ disobeying the voice of the Lord your God 14 and saying, ‘No, we will go to the land of Egypt, where we shall not see war or hear the sound of the trumpet or be hungry for bread, and we will dwell there,’ 15 then hear the word of the Lord, O remnant of Judah. Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: If you set your faces to enter Egypt and go to live there, 16 then the sword that you fear shall overtake you there in the land of Egypt, and the famine of which you are afraid shall follow close after you to Egypt, and there you shall die.” (Jeremiah 42:11-16 ESV)
These men pretended to seek the Lord, and the Lord spoke to them. “I will watch over you. I will keep you.” And then he warned them, “But if that is not enough for you, and if you still choose to run to Egypt, then the destruction that you are afraid of will fall upon you.”
They cried out to God for rescue, but they refused his provision. They refused his leadership. They trusted instead in their own plans. What’s more, once they felt secure in Egypt, they proceeded to worship “the queen of heaven” and to give themselves over to idolatry.
God’s wrath is against those who reject his mercy and who instead trust in their own strength and their own resources. His wrath is against those who, experiencing a false sense of security, turn to idols. These men who were so “pious” in a time of danger were so quick to disregard God when they felt safe again. Their hearts were exposed.
How do you reject the mercy and provision of God? What or who are you really trusting in? Do you seek after God so that you can know His will? Or, like these Judeans, do you come to him as a mere pretense, already having decided upon your course?
God loves humility and He despises pride. This was true then and it is true today.
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you” (1 Peter 5:6 ESV)
Assistant Pastor Levi denBok