For the director of music. A psalm of David.
1 May the LORD answer you when you are in distress;
may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
2 May he send you help from the sanctuary
and grant you support from Zion.
3 May he remember all your sacrifices
and accept your burnt offerings.
4 May he give you the desire of your heart
and make all your plans succeed.
5 May we shout for joy over your victory
and lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the LORD grant all your requests.
6 Now this I know:
The LORD gives victory to his anointed.
He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary
with the victorious power of his right hand.
7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
8 They are brought to their knees and fall,
but we rise up and stand firm.
9 LORD, give victory to the king!
Answer us when we call!
A couple of years ago I went on a mission trip to the Philippines. Most of the people at the church where we staying couldn’t speak English, and I couldn’t speak their dialect, so when I got up to preach I had to have an interpreter speak for me. I was glad for the interpreter, because she spoke for me when I couldn’t. The interpreter served as a mediator between me and the people, speaking on my behalf.
Here in Psalm 20 we see that the king is someone who needs people to speak and act on his behalf. Firstly, there are the people of Israel who speak, praying on behalf of the king, “May the LORD answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.” (20:1) They pray for God’s help in a time of trouble. Secondly, the Psalm pictures the king in the temple making sacrifices to God, where the priest would act on behalf of the king (and the people of Israel), “May he remember all your sacrifices and accept your burnt offerings.” (20:3)
We’ve already seen how the Psalms anticipate the coming of a future king – a rescuer (eg. Ps. 2) Here in Psalm 20 we see the need for a mediator – a priest– someone who stands on behalf of the people. In the New Testament, Jesus isn’t just proclaimed as the king who rescues his people, he’s proclaimed as the priest who mediates on behalf of his people. Just like the priest would make sacrifices so that the people could stand confidently in God’s presence, Jesus mediates on our behalf by sacrificing his own life.
As the author of Hebrews writes, “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God…” (Heb. 4:14) It’s only through Jesus that we can cry out to God when we’re in a time of trouble. But we can cry out knowing that our Father hears us.
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Heb. 4:16)
HEAD: What have you learnt about Jesus from Psalm 20? What have you learnt about yourself?
HEART: How does it make you feel knowing that you can approach God confidently because of Jesus’ sacrifice on your behalf?
HANDS: Do you every feel like you’re not worthy to speak to God? How does Jesus help you pray with confidence to your Father in heaven?
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I come before you as one who is not worthy to stand in your presence, but who can stand confidently before you because of Jesus. Thank you that I have a perfect mediator in Jesus, who sacrifices himself on my behalf. Help me to look to Jesus in times of trouble, and know that you hear my prayers. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.