Who writes a song for themselves? Apparently David does. A song by a king for the king. Spurgeon calls it “a National Anthem, fitted to be sung at the outbreak of war, when the monarch was girding on his sword for the fight.”
It’s a song that cries out repeatedly for God to respond to prayer. Asking the Almighty to answer in the day of trouble (v.1); to grant to the king his heart’s desire and to accomplish all his plans (v.4); and, to fulfill all his petitions that the people might shout for joy over his salvation, raising up banners of victory (v.5).
O LORD, save the king! May he answer us when we call.
(Psalm 20:9 ESV)
But the singers’ plea is not founded in their merit, or that of their nation, or even that of their king. But it is prayer founded on promise.
Now I know that the LORD rescues His anointed king. He will answer Him from His holy heaven and rescue Him by His great power.
(Psalm 20:6 ESV)
David was the Lord’s anointed. The kid called to be king. A shepherd of sheep raised up to lead God’s people. The youngest and “least of these” exulted by the hand of God to occupy the throne. The king who had been promised that an heir would forever sit on the throne. Thus, despite the various “days of trouble” that might arise, regardless of how desperate the trial might seem, knowing that what God starts, God finishes, there was a confidence that God would answer from His holy heaven and rescue by His great power.
And then, what I imagine would be the chorus of the song if it were being written for the modern ear. The refrain that I would come back to, again and again, to punctuate the verses:
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
(Psalm 20:7 ESV)
Others might rely on their strength and their preparation when entering the fray, but in the day of battle our confidence is in the name of the LORD our God. Our ability to stand is through the power of the Name above all names. Our strength to fight the good fight only because of the presence of the King of kings.
And so, we trust. Not in ourselves but in our God. Not because we are fearless, but because He is faithful. Not that we are able, but that His is able. Not that we deserve such favor, but because He has determined to show such favor.
And so, we rest . . . even in the day of trouble . . . even as we cry out. For ours is prayer founded on promise.
Because of God’s abundant grace. All for God’s enduring glory.