- Prayer is answered
This psalm and the prayer it contains are given in answer to Psalm 20. If follows a familiar pattern, the first part is addressed to God, the second to the earthly king, David, and the finally an expression of praise.
David had victoriously returned from battle amid joyous scenes. He and those with him no doubt came with all of the excitement and celebration that comes with winning. At other times we read of David dancing and singing, instruments playing and everybody cheering on the victors. This is the scene here and the waiting people joined in. How do we celebrate victory in our spiritual battle? C.S. Lewis once said that the church had a terrible sense of good taste, by which I take it he meant that everything was done properly and in an orderly manner. There is no place for spontaneity, or outbursts of enthusiasm. In commenting on this passage Charles Spurgeon wrote: “The shoutings of the early Methodists in the excitement of the joy were far more pardonable than our own luke warmness. Our joy should have some sort of inexpressibleness in it.” This was not the experience of David, or the people of God in his time.
God had answered David’s prayer, he had been given victory, this was God’s doing, not because of greater force, military skill or strategy. David rejoiced in God’s strength and in his salvation. At the end of verse two is the Hebrew word selah, this is used often in the Psalms and means to pause and reflect, perhaps even have a musical interlude before moving on. The people stopped and reflected on the victory but also on the God who brought it about through prayer.
David prayed for victory and that his life would be spared, he was granted both these things and much else beside. God gave him much more than he had imagined and he was overjoyed, and he was convinced that he could always trust God and could not be shaken from his confidence. David was not spared the battle, he fought in it, but was brought through victorious, more than a conqueror – in the same way God will bring us through our battles.
The worshippers turned their attention to David and heaped praise on him. They were confident in his leadership, they believed he would be successful in battle and defeat his enemies. No doubt such inspiring confidence in a leader can be over optimistic and David didn’t win every battle he faced, but he must have been greatly comforted to know that his people believed in him! Of course the source of his victory was God, and so long as he and the people remained faithful they knew that God was with them. Sometimes the victory was delayed, but it was always certain.
The people ended their worship with “Be exalted, O LORD, in your strength! We will sing and praise your power.” It was usual to end in praise and is good practice for us. It is a reminder that God is always with us to strengthen us, but also to take our eyes off ourselves and fix them firmly on God.
- How do you celebrate your spiritual victories?
- Do you have confidence in you spiritual leaders?
- How do you end your prayers?.