Year B – Proper 6 – Psalm 20

1May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble!
May the name of the God of Jacob protect you!
2May he send you help from the sanctuary
and give you support from Zion!
3May he remember all your offerings
and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices! Selah
4May he grant you your heart’s desire
and fulfill all your plans!
5May 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!
6Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed;
he will answer him from his holy heaven
with the saving might of his right hand.
7Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
8They collapse and fall,
but we rise and stand upright.
9O LORD, save the king!
May he answer us when we call.

Summary—King David has just offered pre-battle sacrifices, entreating God’s favor as he prepares to lead his army into war.  As he sets out, the congregation of Israel sends him off with Ps. 20, which is a blessing on him in his mission: a kind of prayer for him, as it were.  The first five verses are sung to him corporately; then, verses 6-8 are called out in liturgical response by a single voice (possibly that of a priest); finally, the congregation calls out verse nine together.  The next psalm—Ps. 21—is a pair with this one, and there are explicit clues in ps. 21 that it is ultimately about Jesus, which means that our psalm today—ps. 20—is also ultimately about Jesus.  So who are we in this psalm?  We’re the congregation singing this psalm to our King—Jesus—as He engages in His mission (namely, His mission to save the world).  What does that mean for you?  It means that you should pray for and expect the success of your King’s mission.

Insight—The first five verses clue us in to at least five ways that we can pray for our King’s mission:  [1] We can pray that God would do again what He’s done before (v.1 is about God doing for David what He did for Jacob).  [2] We can pray that help will come from the heavenly Sanctuary (v.2 says something about the kind of God from whom we can expect help).  [3] We can pray that the King’s sacrifice would “get what it got” (v.3 is about God’s acceptance of David’s sacrifice guaranteeing the success of David’s mission, which typifies God’s acceptance of Christ’s sacrifice guaranteeing the success of Christ’s mission; so, we pray that each day, Christ’s sacrifice would collect more of the worshipers which it purchased).  [4] We can pray that our King would get the desires of His heart (v.4 is ultimately about Jesus conquering the nations with His gospel and taking them captive to His love).  [5] We can pray for our joy and dominion in our King’s joy and dominion.  Finally, verses 6-8 lead us to expect the success of our King’s mission, knowing that God delivers whom He anoints (v.6), and knowing that He delights to deliver through foolish and weak means (vss. 7-8).

Child Catechism
Q:  Why should we pray for the success of King Jesus’ mission to save the world?
A:  Because He’s our King!

Discussion—In v.4, Israel prays that her king would get the desires of his heart.  What are some desires of King Jesus’ heart for which we could pray?

Prayer—Almighty God, You have acted mightily and savingly in history; do so again, drawing the peoples of the earth to Yourself!  Send aid from Mt. Zion, Your Sanctuary, to the mission of Your Son, which is to make the kingdoms of the world His Kingdom, so that He may deliver that Kingdom over to You.  Having accepted His sacrifice, collect this day more of the worshipers which it purchased.  Grant to our King the desires of His heart—the nations, the inheritance which You have promised Him.  May we shout for joy over Your salvation, and in the name of our God set up our banners!  AMEN.

Contributed by Scott Cline


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