Psalms 20

Psalm 20

Trust in the Name of the Lord Our God

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

20   May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble!
    May the name of the God of Jacob protect you!
  May he send you help from the sanctuary
    and give you support from Zion!
  May he remember all your offerings
    and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices! Selah
  May he grant you your heart’s desire
    and fulfill all your plans!
  May we shout for joy over your salvation,
    and in the name of our God set up our banners!
  May the LORD fulfill all your petitions!
  Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed;
    he will answer him from his holy heaven
    with the saving might of his right hand.
  Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
    but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
  They collapse and fall,
    but we rise and stand upright.
  O LORD, save the king!
    May he answer us when we call.


Psalm 20 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

Already, but not yet. What a difficult attitude to have. How do you move from crying out in prayer to trusting in God? Does that even happen in your life? It’s an interesting question. On the surface, it’s easy to dismiss. There are times when I pray and times when I trust but do we actively join these two principles in our faith journey?

The psalm begins with inquisitive hope. After a series of “May He…” phrases, the psalmist then focuses directly on a promise to claim and trust over the situation. This is huge. “May He…” indicates a posture of humility and confidence. We know what God is capable of, and so we hope for these things. We know God is merciful, so we petition Him to grant blessings upon us. I pray He would answer you, set you on high, send help, remember you, counsel you, and fulfill your heart. These are things hoped for but possibly not yet seen. This is living in the already, but not yet. We are praying for certainty from God in uncertain situations.

But then the psalm takes a turn. We read of a promise that is claimed and the heart and attitude of the psalmist changes directions.

We will sing for joy over your victory, And in the name of our God we will set up our banners. May the LORD fulfill all your petitions.  6  Now I know that the LORD saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven With the saving strength of His right hand.

Psalms 20:5-6 NASB

We pray and ask God to intervene. In the meantime, we praise Him for his victory. It reminds me of the worship song, “While I Wait” by Lincoln Brewster.

Deep within my heart, I know You’ve won / I know You’ve overcome / And even in the dark, when I’m undone / I still believe it / I live by faith, And not by sight / Sometimes miracles take time / While I wait, I will worship Lord, I’ll worship Your name / While I wait, I will trust You Lord, I’ll trust You all the same.”

Lincoln Brewster

Notice, this worship song directly parallels this psalm. It begins with celebrating the victory. Deep inside my heart, I know you’ve won! Then it moves to the praise of God despite whatever the circumstances may look like. While I wait, I will worship! This is what the psalmist knew and believed. The pattern here is petition -> trust -> petition. We cry out to God for help. We remember His victory and His promises. Then, we move forward as we continue to petition.

It’s interesting to consider that there is no difference between the prayers at the beginning of the psalm and the prayers at the end. They are the same requests. The difference is that the psalmist has trusted in the promises of God and decided to move forward despite! Instead of just petitioning to God, the psalmist will rise to his feet and walk forward in faith praising and worshipping for the victory yet to be seen. The prayers remain the same while the attitude moves to a new level of trust.

Where do you need this reminder? Where is God calling you to praise Him and simply remember His victory? Where is He calling you to stand to your feet and move forward despite?

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