Psalm 20:6-7 (ESV)
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.
This psalm begins from the perspective of God’s people as they lift up their King, David, in prayer ahead of a great battle. They ask God to answer David’s prayer…to protect him…help him…sustain him…remember him…and to give him his heart’s desires and fulfill his plans. It’s quite a prayer request, to say the least, and a pattern that ever Christian should follow when facing difficult circumstances. As followers of Christ, we must not pray petty and timid prayers, but rather, approach our Father’s throne with boldness and courage and the assurance that He delights to hear our cries for help.
But in verse 6 this psalm shifts from the people’s petitions to King David’s confidence, not in himself or in his armies, but in the providential and trustworthy will of God. He knows by experience – and by faith – that “the Lord saves his anointed.” He knows by experience – and by faith – that the Lord “will answer him from his holy heaven.” What do you know about the Lord from experience? What do you expect from the Lord by faith? He has brought you this far, has He not? He has already delivered you through many trials and tribulations in life, has He not? Our lives may not always look the way we had hoped they would…and many of our plans may not have succeeded…but our Lord has not left us nor forsaken us (Deut. 31:6).
Observing hordes of iron chariots approaching your frontlines would not create an ounce of fear in a modern-day army. The notion is too ridiculous to even entertain. Launch a few mortars. Open up the 50-caliber machine guns. Drop one or two laser-guided smart bombs and POOF! All the horses and chariots would be gone. David had experienced such a contrast in his days on the earth. Saul wanted him to trust in his royal armor when facing the giant Goliath…but all he really needed was his faith in God and a few smooth stones (one, actually). His men had wanted him to end Saul’s life when given two opportunities to do so easily…but David chose to wait on the sovereignty of his True King. What are we trusting in? What are we waiting on?
Thomas Horne, an 19th century English theologian, commented that “In the spiritual war, in which we are all engaged, the first and necessary step to victory is, to renounce all confidence in the wisdom and strength of nature and the world; and to remember, that we can do nothing, but in the name, by the merits, through the power, and for the sake of Jesus Christ, our Lord, and our God.” It’s a powerful quote and spiritual truth, of course, but far easier to say than to live…but attempting to live it, we must. Like the people who prayed for David’s victory in battle, we must pray earnestly for each other and for ourselves in the pattern set forth by this psalm. But like David, we must remember that our true power and deliverance never comes from an earthly source – our “horses” and “chariots” – but rather, from the God of the Universe who loves us and cares for us.