Morning Reflection 3/12/12 – Psalm 21

Thanksgiving for Victory

To the leader. A Psalm of David.

1 In your strength the king rejoices, O Lord, and in your help 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 on his head.
4 He asked you for life; you gave it to him—length of days forever and ever.
5 His glory is great through your help; splendor and majesty you bestow on him.
6 You bestow on him blessings 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.
8 Your hand will find out all your enemies; your right hand will find out those who hate you.
9 You will make them like a fiery furnace when you appear. The Lord will swallow them up in his wrath, and fire will consume them.
10 You will destroy their offspring from the earth, and their children from among humankind.
11 If they plan evil against you, if they devise mischief, they will not succeed.
12 For you will put them to flight; you will aim at their faces with your bows.
13 Be exalted, O Lord, in your strength! We will sing and praise your power.

via Psalm 21:5 (NRSV) – Biblia.com.

Whether you like it or not, you will have a birthday this year. Some, a few at least, have already had their birthday this year (including those that have it every four years on Feb. 29th), others will have to wait. Some people love birthdays, others don’t. To some it is a time for celebration, for others it is a time for commiseration. Either way, birthdays mark a milestone. Another year has gone by, and another year has just begun.

Scholar’s aren’t sure when this Psalm of David’s was written. They are confused because it seems to have two parts. The first part David is thanking God for God’s blessings. The common opinion is David is thanking God for a successful military campaign. The second part of the psalm, beginning around verse 8, seems like David is getting ready to embark a military campaign. So, is David coming or going? Is he thanking God for a victory, or asking for a victory?

I wonder if it was both. The key verse here is verse 7, “For the king trusts in the Lord, and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved.” David trusted God. Because of that trust he was able to look back and see how God’s hand and led him. He was able to see that God gave him the desires of his heart. He was also able to look forward knowing that God would continue to watch over him and protect him.

I don’t know for sure, but I doubt that David wrote this Psalm for his birthday, but it does seem that he wrote it for some kind of milestone. A milestone where he was looking back and looking forward. Of course we might look back and look forward on our birthday, or on New Year’s. We could do it now. Why not?

My only hope is that whenever I look back I can honestly say the things that David said. Especially, that I trust, “in the Lord, and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved.” If I can say that, and live it, then I have confidence that God will be a blessing giving me the desires of my heart and leading me into the future. (I’m not so sure about bows being pointed in the face of my enemies…but hey…it was a different time).

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