Psalm 21:1-6 – A Prayer of Thanksgiving

thanksgivingPsalm 21:1-6 – “The king shall joy in thy strength, O LORD; and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice! 2  Thou hast given him his heart’s desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips. Selah. 3  For thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness: thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head. 4  He asked life of thee, and thou gavest it him, even length of days for ever and ever. 5  His glory is great in thy salvation: honour and majesty hast thou laid upon him. 6  For thou hast made him most blessed for ever: thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance.”

Assured their king was a man of prayer who feared, revered and sought the wisdom of the LORD, Israel had prayed in Psalm 20 that God would bless their king as he led the armies of Israel into battle.  Even before the battle, the people planned to celebrate the victory, confident God had heard and would answer the prayers of their king (Psalm 20:5).

Today’s devotional is a prayer of thanksgiving and celebration that followed the king’s victory over the enemies of God’s people.  In a broader sense, Psalm 21 is also a Messianic psalm that looks past the king to the triumph of His LORD, the Messiah, Christ the King.

God's salvationPsalm 21:1-2 – “The king shall joy [rejoice; be glad] in thy [the LORD’s] strength [might; power], O LORD [Jehovah; Eternal God]; and in thy salvation [victory; deliverance] how greatly [exceeding; abundant] shall he [the king] rejoice [be glad; joyful; delight]! 2  Thou [LORD] hast given [put; deliver] him [the king] his heart’s [mind; understanding] desire [delight; longing; satisfaction], and hast not withholden [kept back; denied] the request [desire] of his lips. Selah.

Verses 1-2 record the prayers of affirmation and thanksgiving that the LORD had not only heard, but also answered the prayer of the king giving him “his heart’s desire” (21:1b).  Solomon, David’s son and successor to the throne of Israel, would write his affirmation of this truth in these words:  Trust [lean on, be confident] in the LORD [Jehovah, Eternal, Self-existent] with all thine heart [mind, emotions, will]; and lean not [don’t rely, rest, trust] unto thine own understanding [knowledge]. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

David had affirmed the blessings of the LORD on the man who makes the laws and commandments of the LORD the perpetual subject of his thoughts and meditations in Psalm 1:1-3.  In Psalm 21:3-6 we see the fruition of that promise.

Psalm 21:3-4 – “For thou [Lord] preventest [anticipate; meet; go before] him [the king] with the blessings [prosperity] of goodness [prosperity]: thou settest [appoint; put; fix] a crown of pure gold on his [king’s] head. 4  He asked [enquire; desire] life of thee, and thou gavest it him, even length of days [lit. long life] for ever [perpetual; everlasting; eternal] and ever [perpetuity; duration; continuing].

The king’s victory was not because he was a brilliant strategist or a great warrior (which we know from reading the life of David he was both), but because the LORD had blessed the king in response to his prayers and in accord with His providences.  God had prospered the king’s plans and given him victory (20:3).  David had asked for life and the LORD not only preserved his life, but also blessed him with “length of days” (20:4).

Five orange pumpkins sit in a row in front of a distressed, wooden background.

Psalm 21:5-6 – “ His [the king’s] glory [honor; splendor] is great [high; bigger] in thy salvation [help; deliverance]: honour [glory; splendor; majesty] and majesty [glory; honor; beauty] hast thou laid [bestow; placed] upon him. 6  For thou hast made [set; regard; appoint] him most blessed for ever [perpetuity; duration; continuing]: thou [LORD] hast made [made to rejoice] him [the king] exceeding glad [joyfulness; rejoice] with thy countenance [face; presence].”

What ever praises might be heaped upon the king by the people, the nation and the king were not to forget that it was the LORD who gave the king victory over his enemies and blessed Israel.

Dear friend, this brief devotional is a reminder you and I should be thankful to God and humbled by whatever honors might be bestowed upon us.  If you have opportunity to hear the thunder of applause and the praise of men for achievements you have wrought, remember it is the LORD Who preserved you (20:5a), blessed you (20:5b), and is the source of your joy!  Take a few moments, bow your head and thank the Lord for His salvation, Word and promises.

I close with this assurance, O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee” (Psalm 84:12).

Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith