Gracefully Truthful

Discover the original intent of Scripture. Make good application to our everyday lives.
Become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Read His Words Before Ours!

Psalm 20:1-7

May the Lord answer you in a day of trouble; may the name of Jacob’s God protect you. 2 May he send you help from the sanctuary and sustain you from Zion. 3 May he remember all your offerings and accept your burnt offering.
Selah

4 May he give you what your heart desires and fulfill your whole purpose. 5 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.

6 Now I know that the Lord gives victory to his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with mighty victories from his right hand. 7 Some take pride in chariots, and others in horses, but we take pride in the name of the Lord our God.

The Original Intent

1) What does it mean for God to send help from the sanctuary and sustain from Zion? (verse 2)

In Psalm 20:2, David prays for the people going into battle that God would “send you help from the sanctuary and sustain you from Zion.

Author Derek Kidner explains, “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.” David had made a resting place for the Ark of the Covenant in the city of David, or Zion, where the Temple was to be built.

Author David Clarkson asks, “Why from the sanctuary, but because the Lord presented Himself there as upon the mercy-seat! The sanctuary was in Zion, the mercy-seat was in the sanctuary, the Lord was in the mercy-seat; He would have Himself set forth as residing there.” Help from the sanctuary indicated help from the holy, merciful God. To receive sustenance from Zion would be to have God’s own presence sustaining you.

David’s people understood this prayer was a prayer asking God to send help from heaven in the form of His mercy and His presence.

The Everyday Application

1) What does it mean for God to send help from the sanctuary and sustain from Zion? (verse 2)

Some of my favorite teachers were ones who had a strong “presence,” like my American Government teacher.  She was wheelchair bound, but her “presence” was not about her physical stature.  She had a confident, caring, no-nonsense air that caused her students to sit up straighter, listen closely, and give respect.  When she was in the room, I felt encouraged, supported, and capable of mastering American Government. 

In a small way, God’s presence is similar, but the power of His presence does far more than just instill confidence and command respect.  In Psalm 20, David prayed for God’s presence to be with him as he went into battle because he knew how powerful the presence of God is. We know God’s presence brings joycomfortrefreshing, and protection.  

John Piper tells us God’s “presence as we experience Him is the heightening of His reality in our lives. . .”  When we experience God’s presence, we experience some level of the love, peace, joy, power, and righteousness that God exhibits.  

John Piper also explains, “when God manifests Himself or His presence in a fresh new way, stunning things just objectively happen in the world, whether or not anyone experiences them.” 

Something holy always happens when God makes His presence known. God, how we long for Your presence in our lives today; make us aware of You!

The Original Intent

2) How can the name of God protect you?

In Psalm 20:1, the psalmist cries out, “May the Lord answer you in a day of trouble;
may the name of Jacob’s God protect you
.”  

Charles Spurgeon tells us, “it is clear that the king (David) is the subject as well as the composer of the song.”  David was likely going into battle and used this song to stir up the people to trust in God. When he proclaims “the name of Jacob’s God protect you,” David is reminding his people of their patriarch, Jacob, whom God delivered from distress and never abandoned

Charles Spurgeon also explains that “by the name is meant the revealed character and Word of God; we are not to worship “the unknown God,” but we should seek to know the covenant God of Jacob, who has been pleased to reveal His name and attributes to His people.” 

When the people of Israel heard the term “the name of Jacob’s God,” this filled them with courage and reminded them the God they serve is mighty and fights for them.

R. C. Sproul
 notes how God changed Jacob’s name to “Israel because he has prevailed in his struggle with God and men.”  Even Jacob’s new name, Israel, given to his descendants as they formed a nation, spurred the people to believe that God could protect them in battle.

To them, His name meant victory because they knew they would never fight alone.

The Everyday Application

2) How can the name of God protect you?

I have always been interested in the meaning of names.  As a kid, I scoured my mom’s baby name book.  I enjoyed looking up the names of my friends and family to see if the meaning matched their personalities.

When I became an avid reader, it was fun to decipher what the author was trying to tell me through the characters’ names. So, it has always fascinated me that God has so many different names in the Bible—literally hundreds!

Even more fascinating is the power associated with God’s name. King David prays that the name of Jacob’s God would protect the Israelites in battle. He declares that while some may trust in chariots and horses, he will trust in the name of the Lord.

God’s name is also called a strong tower, and we are assured we will be saved just by calling on His name. At the name of Jesus, which is above all names, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Christ is the Lord. In fact, the apostle Paul tells us to do all things in the name of Jesus!

We are also cautioned in the Ten Commandments not to misuse the name of the Lord. Why does His name have so much power? Theologian Louis Berkhoff explains, “the name of God is His self-revelation. It is a designation of Him, not as He exists in the depths of His divine Being, but as He reveals Himself especially in His relations to man.” 

God’s names reveal who He is, what He is like. and how He acts.  His name can protect you because His name is Yahweh, or I Am.  

Nina Keegan suggests that “We can unceasingly call on Him. God is what we need when we need it.”  Our God, Yahweh, is infinite in power and wisdom. He can provide for us, strengthen us, and protect us .  Thank you, God– you are the great I AM!

The Original Intent

3) What does it look like for God to fulfill your whole purpose? (verse 4)

In Psalm 20:4, David offers up a prayer before going into battle.  He asks God to give them what their hearts desire and fulfill their whole purpose. He is praying for God to grant them the victory they desire and have planned for. 

Some see this verse as prophetic of Jesus, like Charles Spurgeon, who wrote that “It needs but a moment’s reflection to perceive that this hymn of prayer is prophetical of our Lord Jesus, and is the cry of the ancient church on behalf of her Lord, as she sees him in vision enduring a great fight of afflictions on her behalf.”

Author David Guzik also notes, “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. 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.’”  Whether this statement is considered in its historical context or for its prophetic implications, the reason for the prayer is to seek God’s favor as we pursue the purpose He has for us. 

The Bible tells us that God fulfills His purposes for us and that no purpose of His can be thwarted.  We are called according to His purposes and created to do good works in Christ Jesus. It is God’s will and express plan to fulfill your whole purpose in Him!

The Everyday Application

3) What does it look like for God to fulfill your whole purpose? (verse 4)

I received a Holly Hobbie diary for Christmas when I was six, which set in motion my love of writing.  I soon added poems and very long short stories to my repertoire.  By the age of ten, I was writing my prayers down in journals, and by high school I loved nothing more than churning out essays and research papers.  I knew that even if I never became a professional writer, writing was something I was meant to do. It was one of the purposes of God for my life.  

Charles Spurgeon asserts 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.”

One of God’s purposes for me is to write, but He has many good works planned for me. His plans have included me being a wife, mother, and teacher, and He has other good things in store for me as I continue following Him.

Pastor Charles Stanley suggests, “The Lord’s specific destiny for your life has a twofold nature: It will further His kingdom on earth, and it will transform you. Not only will you grow closer to Him as you rely on His ability, but discovering your destiny will also bring you great joy.” 

God has purposes for you that will bring Him glory and make you more like Him!

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