washington prayingPsalm 20:1-5 – “The LORD hear thee in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob defend thee; 2  Send thee help from the sanctuary, and strengthen thee out of Zion; 3  Remember all thy offerings, and accept thy burnt sacrifice; Selah. 4  Grant thee according to thine own heart, and fulfil all thy counsel. 5  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.”

There was a time when the leaders of our nation were men of prayer who sought the LORD before sending our men into battle.  One example is a story told by a farmer during the American Revolution. The farmer was walking through the woods toward the encampment at Valley Forge and heard a voice.  Drawing near, he found General George Washington on his knees, his cheeks wet with tears, praying to God.

It is said the farmer returned home and assured his wife America would win her independence.

When the farmer’s wife asked her husband how he could be so sure.  He answered, “Because I heard Washington’s prayer.”trust the Lord

Psalm 20 is the prayer of a nation for her king the day before he leads the sons of Israel into battle.  The people were confident David had come before the LORD, sought wisdom and offered sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving to God.  They prayed that God would not only hear the prayer of their king, but would go into battle before him for His own name’s sake (20:1-2).

Psalm 20:1-2 – “The LORD [Eternal God; Jehovah] hear [answer; speak] thee in the day [time] of trouble [distress; adversity]; the name [fame; renown; reputation; memory] of the God [Elohim; the Mighty God] of Jacob defend [high; exalted; strong] thee; 2  Send thee help [aid] from the sanctuary [sacred, holy place], and strengthen [support; comfort; sustain] thee out of Zion [site of the city of David and the Temple Mount]

Confident the battle was the LORD’s, the people prayed God would accept the king’s sacrifices, hear and answer his prayers.

Psalm 20:3-4 – “Remember [think about; meditate; declare] all thy offerings [gift; sacrifice], and accept [satisfy; become prosperous] thy burnt sacrifice [offering]; Selah [lit. pause; or pause to think]. 4  Grant [give; put; deliver] thee according to thine own heart [mind; understading], and fulfil [consecrate; accomplish; overflow] all thy counsel [advice; purpose].”

Even before the battle was fought, the people promised the LORD He would be the object of their praise believing He would answer their prayers and give them victory.

Psalm 20:5 – “We will rejoice [sing; shout; cry for joy] in thy salvation [help; deliverance], and in the name [fame; renown; reputation; memory] of our God [Elohim; the Mighty God] we will set up our banners [flags; standard]: the LORD [Eternal God; Jehovah] fulfil [consecrate; accomplish; overflow] all thy petitions [request; desires].”

Troubles and spiritual battles are an ever-present reality for us all in this sin cursed world.  Some enemies threaten us with physical harm, while others attack our character, question our motives and assail our testimony for the LORD.  There are also spiritual battles that come in the form of trials tempting us to turn aside from God’s purpose, question His goodness and rob our joy.

trustLet’s take three lessons from Psalm 20.  The first is the LORD hears and answers prayer. Israel’s prayer was that God would not only bless the king in battle, but would be his shield and fortress (20:1-2).  The second, the need to pray for and assure leaders of our prayers (20:3-4); more than an assurance of goodwill, Israel assured the king their prayer was that God would grant him wisdom and bless his strategy for the battle.  The third lesson expresses the faith of God’s people that, even before the battle was waged they were planning the victory celebration; confident God had heard and would answer their prayers.

I don’t know what trial you may be facing or the enemy who threatens you; however, I challenge you to trust the Lord, look past the trial and plan a victory celebration! 

Proverbs 3:5-6 – “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith