To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David
“The LORD hear thee in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob defend thee; send thee help from the sanctuary, and strengthen thee out of Zion; remember thy offerings, and accept thy burnt sacrifice; Selah. Grant thee according to thine own heart, and fulfil all thy counsel. 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. Now I know that the LORD saveth his anointed; he will hear him from his holy heaven with the saving strength of his right hand. Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God. They are brought down and fallen: but we are risen, and stand upright. Save, LORD: let the king hear us when we call.”
Everybody In This Room Is Facing A Battle In One Way Or Another
Introduction To Psalms 20, 21
“We come to Psalm 20 and Psalm 21, they are a pair. Psalm 20 and 21, Psalms of David, they are to the chief Musician, there are 55 of those in the Book of Psalms. These are songs that were to be sung publicly, that’s why it says “To the chief Musician.” Psalm 20 is a song that was sung before a battle, Psalm 21 was the song after the battle. The interlude between the two psalms is some battle, we’re not specifically sure which battle it is, but it is when the nation went to war. So, Psalm 20 is a prayer, and Psalm 21 is a praise that follows. Psalm 20 kind of anticipates the battle, and Psalm 21 reflects on the battle. And of course it’s interesting for you and I to remember, you know, the Bible tells us we are all in a battle, all of us here. We are in territory, when we talked about it Sunday morning, as Christ’s ambassadors, it is imperial territory, it is a territory that is adverse to our God, to his standards, it is in rebellion against him, it is a fallen world, we are here as his ambassadors. And that means we’re always in a struggle, we’re always in a battle, just in your private life, in your thoughts [you ain’t kidding, see, http://www.unityinchrist.com/memphisbelle.htm]. The traitor that lives within. So there is always that struggle to react differently, not to turn the other cheek, not to give a soft answer, we wrestle with lust, we wrestle with anger, we wrestle with selfishness, there is a wrestling and there is a warfare. The New Testament is filled with those ideas. And we’re told that we wrestle not with flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers. We’re told that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but they’re spiritual, to the pulling down of strongholds (cf. 2nd Corinthians 10:3-5). We’re told to put on the full armour of God, and so forth, the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, and so forth (cf. Ephesians 6:10-20). Paul says we are conscripted into God’s army, we don’t live as civilians do, that we have an enemy. You go through the New Testament, all of these different pictures and truths that are put before us, should tell us that we are in a spiritual struggle in this world. We are fighting from victory, not for victory, we stand in the victory of our King, so we are all contained in that larger struggle. In fact, the Targums say the king spoken of in Psalm 21 is the Messiah, so certainly in both Psalm 20 and 21, there are Messianic flavours. David is the king being spoken of here, but David always reflected a greater King. The battle ultimately will be fought, the Church of God will be removed, Christ will return in power and glory at the battle of Armageddon, he will subdue his enemies, this world will be subdued before him, there will be victory. God’s enemies have no future, God’s people can sing of their future victories, because they are assured. We may loose a battle here and there, but we will not loose the campaign, we will win the war. And sometimes we see God’s enemies, we see those adversaries of the things of God, seemingly winning battles, but they will not win the war. And sometimes God allows you and I to loose a battle, because it outfits us and it completes us in a better way to win the larger battle, the larger war that we’ll face. Sometimes that loss is complementary to our growth in one way or another. So, we have all of these ideas in here. So as, remember, these songs were sung in ancient Israel, publicly. This 20th Psalm has incredible ideas in it, as we are facing battle. Everybody in this room is facing a battle in one way or another, we face, you’re battling with this, you’re battling with that, you’re battling hopefully not with your wife or husband, but you’re battling with many other things, and those things are going on. As a nation, what are we facing? As a nation, what are we facing? You know, there’s certainly a battle for our morality, there’s a battle for the next generation, for our children in many ways. There is a battle in regards to ideals in the world, of different religious emphasis, and there’s battles in regards to terrorism, we’re worried about those. We have confidence, falsely, because we are in fact the greatest military power that the world has ever seen in its history. But Rome was in its day, and it fell. We are presently the greatest military power the world has ever seen, but the Bible is clear, we are not to trust in those things. But the might of a nation depends on its righteousness, and this first Psalm, Psalm 20 will tell us the LORD is the one who steps up in the midst of the battle and grants victory, not Israel’s military prowess, or David, who was a great warrior. In fact this central verse in the first Psalm is verse 7, where it says ‘Some trust in chariots, and some in horses, but we will remember, or ponder, to think upon, the name of the LORD our God.’ So, there is a difference, and horses and chariots were, they were their cruise-missiles [and tanks] in those days, this was the most sophisticated weaponry there was in David’s day. He’s saying ‘We don’t trust in that, we’re going to trust in the LORD.’
God’s People, Praying For David As He Prepares For Battle
So, David begins to lay this out for us. The first five verses, interestingly, are God’s people praying for their king, for David, as he prepares for battle, David records that. And it’s wonderful to have people praying for you, certainly. Verse 6, David himself begins to speak, and verse 9, it seems that they all speak together. We’ll work our way there. Ancient Israel was instructed, you don’t have to turn there, I will turn to Deuteronomy chapter 20, as they’re ready to enter the land, the LORD says, “When thou goest out to battle against thine enemies, and seest horses, and chariots, and people more than thou, be not afraid of them: for the LORD thy God is with thee, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And it shall be, when ye are come nigh unto the battle, that the priest shall approach and speak unto the people, and shall say unto them, Hear O Israel, ye approach this day unto the battle against your enemies: let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of them; for the LORD your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.” (verses 1-4) And it seems Israel is very much in that circumstance here. Remember, they’re not watching CNN or Fox News to see where the enemy is and see where the battle line is, somewhere in the Middle East or what the North Koreans are doing, no, they’re in the walls of Jerusalem, and on some distant hill they’re hearing the trumpets or the drums of battle, they’re seeing the smoke of an army, the enemy may be within view itself. And that’s the scene here as the people begin to speak to David.
Three Names Of God, Three Types Of Faith
Now three times in the Psalm you’re going to find this, you’re going to find “the name of the God of Jacob” mentioned first, then you’re going to have “the name of our God” down in verse 5, and then you’re going to have in verse 7 “the name of the LORD our God.” So, this Psalm, preceding battles, speaking to you and I before we go into a battle. It speaks first of all, it’s a very practical faith that’s applied, that’s in regards to the name of the God of Jacob, and then it’s the name, very personal faith, of the LORD our God, and then it’s a perfect faith, it’s a faith in the name of the LORD, Jehovah, our Elohim, the Covenant God of Israel. As we move into the first five verses, the King James doesn’t bring it out at all, but the petition is strong, because it has the word “may” in it. If you have an NIV or a New American Standard, I think you’ll probably have the word “may” in there six or seven times. The King James doesn’t have it, the Hebrew has it eleven times. So let me kind of read the first five verses so you can get a sense of it. I’ll read it first out of the King James, and then I’ll go back and reread, the first five verses. “The LORD hear thee in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob defend thee;” they’re praying for David, their king, “send thee help from the sanctuary, and strengthen thee out of Zion; remember all thy offerings, and accept thy burnt sacrifice; Selah. Grant thee according to thine own heart, and fulfil all thy counsel. 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.” (verses 1-5, King James Version) Now, it’s a prayer. The Hebrew reads this way, “May the LORD hear thee in the day of trouble; may the name of the God of Jacob defend thee; may he send thee help from the sanctuary, and may he give thee strength out of Zion; may he remember all thy offerings, and may he accept thy burnt sacrifices; may he grant thee according to thine own heart, and may he fulfil all thy counsel. May we rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God may we set up our banners. May the LORD fulfil all thy petitions.” So, the sense of the petition or the prayer is all the way through in the Hebrew, “may this,” “may that,” beseeching God for David, “may this,” “may that, we want to do this.” Interesting, it begins, and says “May the LORD hear thee in the day of trouble,” this is for David, they’re praying in regards to David. Again, is the enemy in view, we’re not certain for sure. ‘May the LORD, Jehovah hear thee in the day of trouble, may the name of the God of Jacob defend thee,’ that is incredibly practical, first of all. It’s telling us, they don’t have confidence in David himself. David is called the light of Israel, if David is killed the light of Israel will go out. The people understood that the king, had a spiritual, not just a civil position in the nation. But they’re not saying, ‘David, we trust your ability with a sling to kill a giant, we trust your ability to kill a lion,’ what they’re saying is, ‘David, may your God that has kept you these years, and preserved you, and finally brought you to the throne, may he keep you.’ In fact, ‘May the God of Jacob defend you.’ Now when you’re headed into a battle, or you’re in a battle, and if you’re not in a battle, you’re asleep, because you are in a battle, it’s wonderful to be able to see the honesty here, saying, ‘May the God of Jacob defend you,’ because he’s the One I need defending me. Look, we tend to pray prayers a little more desperate in battle than after battle, don’t we, or between battle. When the enemy is sitting on the hill around us, pounding the drums, and we know we’re headed into it, or when it’s starting, ah, we’re pretty desperate. Desperate days bring desperate prayers. And the first part of this petition is, ‘Look, may the God of Jacob, you know, LORD you know, we know David your propensity to wander, we know that you’re just a man, we know that you’re just a human, we know that you struggle, but God was faithful to Jacob, he kept the covenant he made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Jacob was a heal-catcher, Jacob was a conniver, Jacob was an operator, and yet God was faithful to him, and God worked in his life, God led him, and God gave him the 12 children of Jacob, the twelve tribes of Israel, of Jacob.’ So, he says, first in prayer in regards to this, understand when you go into battle, it’s not because of your prowess, your wisdom, what you think you’re going to accomplish. Because if we enter into the battle that way, the enemy’s got us, right where he wants us, self-confidence. No, it’s much better to go in and say ‘You know, I’m headed into here with the God of Jacob on my side, because I’m a Jacob most of the time, and now that I’m getting thrown into the line of fire, I need the God of Jacob to be with me.’ So they say ‘May the God of Jacob defend thee,’ and ‘may he send thee help from the sanctuary,’ “and strengthen thee out of Zion.” How wonderful to pray for national leaders that way. You know, ‘May you find direction and help in the sanctuary, in worship.’ This Psalm puts worship and warfare rightly together, they accommodate one another. This is a nation that knows they’re not as great as the nations that surround them, they don’t have the weapons of those nations, they know God delivered them when he brought them through the Red Sea and destroyed the greatest army in the world. That’s why he says here ‘Some trust in chariots, some trust in horses, we’re going to remember the name of the LORD our God,’ (verse 7) and as they’re going into this they’re saying, ‘Look David, may God bless you out of his sanctuary, out of Zion.’ (verse 2) How wonderful to think how America, if we have to go to war, you know, personally I want to see my President coming out of church with a Bible in his hand, I want to see, ‘You’re taking us into this again? I want to know you’re praying, I want to see you with Billy Graham on one side, Franklin Graham on the other side, Greg Laurie on the other side, I want to know you’re getting Godly counsel, I want to know you’re praying.’ And the nation says, ‘May God bless you, may he send you help from the sanctuary, strengthen you out of Zion.’ I love the picture of George Washington on his knees on the battlefield, men dying of cold, no food, no weapons, some of them, no shoes, greatly outnumbered by the British, and that famous painting of Washington on his knees, he just understood. He understood something very clear in that scene. He said, “May he remember all your offerings, and accept all your burnt sacrifices, may God remember, David, you’re a great worshipper, you’re always at the Tabernacle, always offering. May God remember that you’re not just a warrior, you’re a worshipper, Selah, think about that.’ (verse 3) Everybody here, you’re struggling with something tonight? If you’re not, man, I want to know your recipe. But, you know, everybody here, we struggle with something or another, look, isn’t it wonderful that we can go to God, not because we deserve it, we can go to the God of Jacob. We know him better than Jacob did. We know the One that came and wrestled with him [with Jacob] better than he does, he’s our Saviour, Jesus Christ. This is the God of Jacob, we can go to him. And we can get things in perspective, in the sanctuary, you know, we remember the blood that was shed, we remember the offerings that were made. But before we head into any difficult situation, things need to come into that context, you know, are we fighting the battles of the Lord, or are we fighting our own battles? Are we being vindictive, and vengeful, and unforgiving? Or are we saying, ‘Lord, this is really hard, I really want to slug this person, but I’m going to turn my cheek, I know you want me to love them, I know you want me to do this the right way, Lord, you gotta help me, you gotta help me, Lord. I’m doing this in light of your bloodshed, in light of the offerings, I’m coming to you, not in my own righteousness, Lord, I’m coming as your child, blood-bought, asking for help, Selah, Think about that for awhile.’ That’s a good thing to think about when you’re in the middle of a battle. Then he says, “May he grant you according to your heart, and fulfil all thy counsel.” (verse 4) ‘understand what you’re asking David, may God hear that in regards to the enemy and the battle, and grant that.’ “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.” (verse 5) So these people who are praying for their king, they’re very personal in their faith. ‘may he allow us to set up our banners,’ the idea is they’re anticipating victory before the battle’s even enjoined, and “the LORD fulfil all thy petitions.” Very personal in their request.
God Hears Our Prayers And Saves Us
Now David, it seems, responds here in verse 6, and he says, “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.” Now David just doesn’t go to the sanctuary, but “from his holy heaven with the saving strength of his right hand.” David says, the first thing he has there is “truth.” He realizes, ‘LORD, you’re the one who delivers,’ in fact, “saveth” seems to be present in its tense, the Hebrew word can also be translated in a past tense, David may be praying ‘LORD, you have saved,’ already standing on victory ground, realizing LORD, this is your battle, you are the victor, I’m in you, I’m not going to do this myself.’ He says, “Now know I that the LORD has saved his anointed; he will hear him from his holy heaven with the saving strength of his right hand.” (verse 6) and if David’s his anointed, how much more are we? If David can say, under the Old Covenant, ‘the LORD is my shepherd,’ how much more can we say it, in the blood of Christ? “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.” (verse 6) The Lord hears us from heaven as we pray, “with the saving strength of his right hand.” That just happens to be true, that’s the truth that David has. Now verse 7 gives us the trust that David has. He says, “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.” It means “to bring to memory, to ponder,” “we will remember the name of Jehovah our Elohim.” This is perfect trust, what we will do, is we’re going to remember that we serve a covenant-keeping God, who has a covenant with his people. Look, David was under the Old Covenant, the Bible tells us you and I are under a better covenant. And there may be places along the way where we loose a battle, [but] we will not loose the campaign. We already know the last chapter. He’s coming, with his vesture dipped in blood, on a white horse, with the armies of heaven, that’s you and I, behind him. He’s coming to set up his Kingdom, nothing is going to change that [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/kingdomofgod/mkg1.htm]. ‘Well I don’t believe in God.’ That doesn’t effect him at all, he’s still coming. And the devil can’t change 666 to 667, it’s written out, it’s gonna happen, he’s coming [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/prophecies/2ndcoming_4.htm]. We may have some difficult times here in the mean time. But we will not lose the campaign. He’s taken up for you and I, his anointed, he will use his own saving strength, he hears us from his holy heaven. ‘And there will be those who trust in the natural chariots, horses, but we will ponder the name of the LORD our God,’ this is perfect trust, we’re going to think upon the covenant-God that we serve. “They are brought down and fallen: but we are risen, and stand upright.” (verse 8) Who is brought down? Those who trust in chariots and horses [tanks and humvies, in today’s language]. ‘They are brought down and fallen, like the Egyptian army, buried in the sea, with their horses and their chariots,’ “They are brought down and fallen: but we are risen, and stand upright.” (verse 8) There is triumph here. Verse 9, there’s an argument, and you have different translations here this evening, King James says “Save, LORD: let the king hear us when we call.” Which would all point to the LORD. It would be a capital “K”, should be, “Save LORD: let the King hear us when we call.” The “we” would be David, and the people of Israel. The Hebrew indicates, ‘Save, LORD, the king” small “k”, ‘may’ we have a “may” again, ‘may he hear us when we call.’ ‘Save LORD the king,’ they’re asking the LORD to save David, ‘may he, the LORD, hear us when we call.’ Either way, the plea is to the LORD, they’re expecting him, and to hear, and they’re expecting him to grant victory. The lesson here as we look at this, is what I would say is this, always kneel before you go to battle. First of all, choose your battles wisely. Some of them are just not worth fighting. [During WWII in the Pacific, the US bypassed certain Japanese-held islands, viewing the cost of taking them not worth the loss of life, for the strategic ground that would be gained. One island which we should have bypassed, but McArthur thought it was necessary to have (and later turned out wasn’t) was the very costly battle on Pelelui where 1,400 US Marines died, and 10,900 Japanese soldiers died]. A bulldog can beat a skunk any day, it just ain’t worth it. Some of the battles we fight are just not worth it. Who cares? But sometimes we have to stand, and it’s right for us to stand. And we’re standing for more than ourselves, and we’re fighting the Lord’s battle, and always get on your knees before you start. And when you see the enemy camped around you, this is a place to go, you know, you go to Psalm 20, and you just look at it, and you rehearse it again in your mind.
To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David
“The king shall joy in thy strength, O LORD; and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice! Thou hast given him his heart’s desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips. Selah. For thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness: thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head. He asked life of thee, and thou gavest it him, even length of days for ever and ever. His glory is great in thy salvation: honour and majesty hast thou laid upon him. For thou hast made him most blessed for ever: thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance. For the king trusteth in the LORD, and through the mercy of the most High he shall not be moved. Thine hand shall find out all thine enemies: thy right hand shall find out those that hate thee. Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of thine anger: the LORD shall swallow them up in his wrath, and the fire shall devour them. Their fruit shalt thou destroy from the earth, and their seed from among the children of men. For they intended evil against thee: they imagined a mischievous device, which they are not able to perform. Therefore shalt thou make them turn their back, when thou shalt make ready thine arrows upon thy strings against the face of them. Be thou exalted, LORD, in thine own strength: so will we sing and praise thy power.” (verses 1-13)
“As we come to Psalm 21, look, the battlefield is strewn with litter, the drums of war have ceased, smoke is probably rising, the enemy’s been vanquished, Israel of old is reflecting on what’s taken place, and this song now is a song, it is certainly giving thanks, it is after the battle. Is this the battle that brings David to the throne in Jerusalem? We’re not sure. Is this a national anthem of victory, is this a coronation hymn? Certainly it looks forward to the coming of Christ and the victory he has over everything. But it’s in the context of the battle, in Psalm 20. So here, it says, “The king shall joy in thy strength, O LORD; and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!” (verse 1) speaking of what the LORD has accomplished, what the LORD has done. “Thou hast given him his heart’s desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips. Selah.” (verse 2) And it seems, now, that David is speaking in the first seven verses in the third-person of himself, it’s reflecting back on Psalm 20, and then from verses 8 onward, the people seem to chime in. So he says “Thou hast given him his heart’s desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips. Selah.” “Selah,” which is “think about that.” Look over again, in Psalm 20, verse 4, it says ‘May he’ “Grant thee according to thine own heart,” ‘may he’ “fulfil all thy counsel.” Here in verse 2, after the battle is over, David is saying, ‘Thou hast given me,’ the idea, “Thou hast given him his heart’s desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips.” ‘think about that, Selah, meditate upon that, think about that.’ You know, how many times do you and I, we’re facing a hard situation, something looks out of control, and we freak out, depending on what it is. We can freak out, we’re afraid, we can be afraid of something. We can do the ‘What if’s, what if this, what if that, what if this happens? You think if I do this he will do that?’ My wife can get the ‘What if’s.’ She has a PhD in ‘What if’s.’ I could go to the university and study longer than her and never be as good as she is. [Careful Pastor Joe, you’ll be sleeping on the couch.] Now I do other things, but some people, you’re facing crisis, ‘What if?’ or ‘Why, why do you think?’ I don’t think any of those things, don’t make me think those things, I don’t think those things. But some of us internalize, some of us get high blood pressure, some of us get ulcers. And the funny thing is, when it’s all over, and we sit on the other side of it, then we say ‘Lord, forgive me for griping, because I was sitting on the front side saying ‘You don’t love me anymore, I can’t believe you’re letting this happen, this is bad for your reputation, people shouldn’t see this happening to a pastor, this is bad…’ and then you sit on the other side of it in his victory, and you say ‘Lord, you’ve answered every prayer, you’re so faithful, Lord, you’re so good to us, I’m rejoicing in your salvation, you have given my heart’s desire, you have not withheld the request of his lips, your king, Lord, you’ve heard me,’ David is saying. How many times have we been there, wrestling? Hindsight is 20/20, yea, we always get on the other side and look back and say ‘Yea, now I see what you are doing, now I know why you were doing that.’ David on the front side is, ‘I went unto the LORD…I’m going to trust the God of Jacob, I’m going to trust the LORD our God, I’m going to trust our God, he’s going to do this.’ David had a remarkable perspective up front, and now on the backside of the battle, when the fray of battle is all died down, it’s all over, he says ‘You know, LORD, you’ve given your king his heart’s desire, you haven’t withheld his request from his lips, selah.’
God, the LORD, Precedes Us Into Battle
“For thou preventest” ‘precede’ is the word, or ‘You went before him,’ the idea can be, ‘you met him’ “with blessings of goodness: thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head.” (verse 3) We see other times, the LORD went before Joshua, and met him in the Plains of Gilgal, before the battle began. Abraham, coming back, the first time in the Bible we have the word “war” is Genesis 14, first time in the Bible we have the word “king” is Genesis 14, and when you have “kings” plural, besides the one king, you’re going to have war. So you have Chedorlaomer and the five kings of the north [Assyrian kings] descending, the first war [listed] in the Bible, and it says afterwards, Melchizedek, the Prince of Salem meets Abraham. In these conflicts there is a meeting, God is gracious to that. And here he says, “For you preventest” ‘you met him, you went before him, you met him with blessing and goodness. And you set a crown of pure gold upon his head.’ David, his inauguration, it’s probably not the crown of an enemy, but it may be his inauguration, here just a fitting picture of how God upheld his own. “He asked life of thee, and thou gavest it him, even length of days for ever and ever. His glory is great in thy salvation: honour and majesty hast thou laid upon him. For thou hast made him most blessed for ever: thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance.” (verses 4-6) and you can see why the Targum says this is all reflecting forward to the Messiah. Here’s the reason for the victory, here’s the central verse of this “after-Psalm” or “after-the-battle-Psalm”, “For the king trusteth in the LORD, and through the mercy of the most High he shall not be moved.” (verse 7) The reason the prayer of Psalm 20 was answered, is because David went into battle not trusting in chariots and horses, not trusting in himself, but trusting in the LORD, he went into a situation that was difficult, as all of us do, and all of us will. And will we trust the Lord when we go in? You know, because sometimes we look in his Word, and we think ‘I’m not gonna do that, if I do that, I’ll never get married. If I do that I’ll never get a better job. If I do that I’ll never be able to pay my bills, If I do that, it’ll never work out, If I do that, that person’s going to treat me like a doormat. If I do that they’re never going to notice me.’ No, no, look, I’ve given you good advice, trust the Lord. That’s why we’re here, that’s the bottom line, trust the Lord. David says, he’s on the other side of the battle, he’s in victory territory, and he says ‘the reason, for the king trusted in Jehovah, in the LORD,’ “and through the mercy of the most High he shall not be moved.” (verse 7b) We are on solid ground with our Saviour.
God’s People Have A Future Of Victory, God’s Enemies Have No Future
It seems now, the congregation, now, addressing the king, “Thine hand shall find out all thine enemies: thy right hand shall find out those that hate thee.” (verse 8) ‘David, this isn’t your last victory, Messiah, this isn’t your last victory, your hand shall find out all your enemies, your right hand shall find out those that hate you, God’s people have a future of victory, God’s enemies have no future.’ “Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of thine anger: the LORD shall swallow them up in his wrath, and the fire shall devour them.” (verse 9) Listen, these are the things in the world around us that can frustrate us. ok? Remember, Paul said to pray for those in authority when Nero was on the throne. We need to remember to be praying for our President and policy-makers, praying for them. Paul said to do that when Nero was on the throne. You look at this world that’s around you that drives you crazy, and I can get fed up with it, but I have to remember, you know what? God so loved this world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever would believe would not perish, but have everlasting life. That’s how I got in! I’m one of those whosoever’s. In fact, if he knew I was going to take him up on it, sometimes you’d think he’d have narrowed that down a little. ‘When I said ‘Whosoever’ I didn’t think you would come.’ He didn’t do that, he said ‘Welcome home, son,’ as he does to every lost man, or ‘Welcome home, daughter.’ How many of us, you know. I got saved in 1972, people were witnessing to me, you know, 1969, 1970. And then, a nickel was five bucks, that’s why you called it a nickel. A dime was ten bucks, a dime bag of pot was ten bucks. And LSD was around, cocaine was there, it was before Crack, it was an era before these things right now. You look at the world now, people are using a drug one or two times, they’re hooked. You look at the world and what it’s offering now, now they have social marijuana in states. What in the world is going to happen in those states? You have trouble holding onto your kids now? Give them an Ipad and a joint, you’ll never see them again. [laughter] It sounds funny, but think how crazy the world is now. Think how crazy it is, and we can get fed up with it [it’s crazier now in 2015 than it was when he was preaching this, much crazier]. Everything that people wouldn’t even talk about back then is becoming legal now. And if you say anything negative against it, you’re the criminal. Think how the world is a-changin, and we can get fed up with it, and we can just have an attitude ‘Lord, get me outa here, and SMOKE THEM. Now that I’m in, get me out and smoke them, you know, I’m glad you waited until 1972 until I got in, but now that I’m in, I don’t care about anybody else.’ We can get fed up. Look, it’s terrible here, he says he’s going to have victory over all of his enemies, the LORD will swallow them up in his wrath, fire will devour them. [Comment: Look, I’m an extreme history buff, and it has been estimated that 50 to 100 billion people have lived and died since the written history of man began about 6,000 years ago. That’s an established estimate by historians, sociologists and population experts alike. In the Old Testament the number of people listed as having God’s Holy Spirit potentially could number in the mere hundreds. A careful and honest study of history will show that most of mankind since the first coming of Christ have not been called to nor answered any call to salvation. If all the Scriptural passages about the two major resurrections prophecied to occur are put together, the two biggies being Revelation 20:4-6, coupled to 1st Corinthians 15:49-54 and Revelation 20:11-13 coupled to Ezekiel 37:1-14, it is apparent that God is not done with the “unsaved dead,” and is going to offer them their first real chance for salvation, after they have lived experiencing a lifetime (for some of them short) but for most, which has been extremely painful, in Satan’s world. Then at the time of this massive 2nd resurrection back to physical life, God will offer them all salvation in a perfect Millennial Kingdom of God setting on earth, a world without Satan and the demons, and then say to them “choose, choose life.” For most the choice will be an easy one which they will accept joyfully. To read a study of this interpretation of prophecy and salvation, which is strictly a secondary belief, see http://www.unityinchrist.com/plaintruth/battle.htm. You don’t have to believe this interpretation. If it’s true, we’ll find out about it from Jesus at his 2nd coming, which is coming pretty soon, by all indications I see in the world. So when God actually does “smoke” his enemies, are they lost forever? I personally don’t think so. Anyway, we’ll all find out soon enough. The symbolic meaning of God’s Holy Days listed in Leviticus 23 map out God’s greater overall plan of salvation for mankind. If interested, see http://www.unityinchrist.com/E-Mails/June%2014/FallHolyDays-short.htm] [But in the mean time…] We need to be evangelists in these last days, we need to lead men and women to Christ, because the Lord, as he says in Ezekiel ‘Why will you perish? Why won’t you turn to me?’ the LORD says, ‘Why will you die?’ he pleads. Peter says ‘it’s not in his heart that any should perish, but that they all should come to the knowledge of the truth.’ (2nd Peter 3:9) We serve a loving God, a loving God. But there’s a day when we’re going to sit after the battle, and we’re going to look, and all that he has done will be just. “Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of thine anger: the LORD shall swallow them up in his wrath, and the fire shall devour them. Their fruit shalt thou destroy from the earth, and their seed from among the children of men. For they intended evil against thee: they imagined a mischievous device, which they are not able to perform. Therefore shalt thou make them turn their back, when thou shalt make ready thine arrows upon thy strings against the face of them.” (verses 9-12) I don’t want to see none of that, coming face to face with the LORD prepared for battle. But the last verse says this, “Be thou exalted, LORD, in thine own strength: so will we sing and praise thy power.” (verse 13) Look, Psalm 20 seems in some ways much more intense than 21, and I think because before the battle, particularly if we can see the enemy camping, we pray desperate prayers, we dig deep, we come before the Lord in genuine appeal and we cry out, and we say those things genuinely. You’re facing a difficult situation this evening? He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever. He says ‘I am the LORD, I change not, therefore you sons of Jacob are not consumed.’ So we can know tonight, whatever you’re facing, whatever the difficulty is, that you can go to him, and you can appeal to him as the God of Jacob. He’s the God of David, who committed adultery and murder. He’s the God of Samson, who was given victory in the end. He’s the God of Peter, who hacked people’s ears off, and always got himself in trouble. We love the great humans of the Bible, because he loved them, and was their God, as he is ours. And if you’re in a struggle, you’re in a difficult situation this evening, read Psalm 20, say ‘Lord, help me with this, I’m appealing to you, the God of Jacob, I’m not trusting in what humankind trusts in, I’m not looking to natural resources, I’m not looking to anything, I’m not going to trust in chariots and horses, Lord, I’m going to ponder your name and all that it means, you are God, you are Jesus of Nazareth, your name is like ointment poured forth, it’s like the Balm of Gilead, it’s sweet, Lord. I’m going to ponder your name in the middle of all of this.’ And when the battle’s over, the enemy’s going to be vanquished, we’ll be standing, it says, saved, Lord. Then again, Psalm 21 on the other side of the battle that’s happened, ‘All that I asked for, all that I was pleading for, Lord, you’ve answered, you’ve been gracious.’ Look, imagine one day when we stand on that Sea of Glass, on the other side of all of this, one day when we stand, without pain, without suffering, without these mortal frames, having immortality, swallowed up of life. Every doubt that we’ve had will seem so foolish, every self-effort and every self resource we thought we had, we’ll realize, no flesh glories here. It all belongs to him. We will stand there and say ‘Lord, you have answered every prayer, the King, we’re rejoicing in your strength, your salvation, Lord, how great, because we have trusted in the Lord, and through the mercy of the Most High, we have not been moved, we’ve come home, we’ve arrived, the victory is ours.’ And the truth is, through it all, God’s enemies will be vanquished, they have no future. God’s children have a future of victory, their future victories are already written out. The end of the story is already told, it’s already placed there. I think, we’re so indoctrinated by what goes on around us, that sometimes we forget the eternal, what this is really all about.
We’re going to praise him, have Rob come up, be a great way for us to end this evening, “so will we sing and praise thy power.” (verse 13b) Let’s do this, if you this evening feel like ‘My mom called him and told him what I was going through today,’ like you’re in the middle of a battle, and you’re really struggling, and we don’t want to make light or be cavalier about anything, but you feel like you really want prayer tonight, will you stand? I ask you to do that, if you’re really in a difficult place, you feel like, ‘I’m going to receive this tonight, I’m going to trust the Lord in my situation, and I’m going to ask him to minister to me.’ Let’s sing this first song, and as we do, I would encourage those of you who are around these folks, if the Holy Spirit leads you to, just go and put your hand on them. Don’t ask them what the deal is, just pray for them, ask God to be gracious to them. Know that they’re in a battle, ask God to grant them victory, to strengthen them…just [pray] in your own heart, ‘if they’re finding themselves in these things this evening, Lord, then let these things be real to them, Lord, assure them that they’re going to sit on the other side of this, and they’re going to look back, and they’re going to realize you heard every prayer, you heard every request, that all of God’s children have victory bequeathed to them, paid for in the blood of Jesus.’ I’ll pray, ‘Father, we all look to you, Lord, this evening in these things. And Lord our battles that range Lord from personal battles, Lord, from small things, Lord, to huge things, from betrayal to misunderstanding, Lord. Lord, the Church and this nation, corporately we battle, Lord, against the moral standards and those who would shut down every prayer and every mention of Jesus. Lord there are international attentions, Lord, and we fear for our nation, Father, we have turned away from you and leaned on our own strength, Lord. We have forgotten that the might of a nation depends upon its righteousness, we pray for our leaders, our President, Lord, for those making decisions, to come to their senses, Lord, to find themselves on their knees, looking to you, Lord. As you see each person that stood here this evening, as we lift our voices now as we worship, we ask that you would move among us Lord, that you would lift up broken hearts, Lord, that you would assure, Lord, that your Word, Lord, will abide. Heaven and earth will pass away, the words of this Psalm will abide forever, and never change, Lord. Let them be able to take these things to their own hearts this evening, let’s lift our voices…[transcript of a connective expository sermon on Psalm 20:1-9 and Psalm 21:1-13, given by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19116]