Psalm 20: Dear Christian, here’s what God wants to do for you!

January 26, 2019

Psalm 20:1-4:

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

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!

From the notes of my ESV Journaling Bible:

The “you” in these verses is Israel’s king, his “anointed” (v. 6). Look at what the psalmist asks the Lord to do for the king: answer his prayers, send help, give support, “remember” his acts of worship and, on that basis, show favor, grant his heart’s desire, and fulfill all his plans.

Do we read this and think, “Of course these petitions are appropriate for the king of Israel, but who am I compared to him?”

Who are you? You are God’s child, holy and blameless, highly favored (Luke 2:14), anointed by the Holy Spirit (1 John 2:20), loved by your Father every bit as much as the Father loves his only begotten Son (John 17:23, 26). Because of the precious blood of Jesus, our position in Christ is even more exalted than David’s, or any sinful human king! Do we dare believe this? Do I? “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31b) Our Father wants the exact same good for you.

The doctrine of imputation is still on my mind, obviously, as it has been for a while. But am I wrong? Am I applying this psalm incorrectly? After all, if we believe the New Testament’s many words about our position in Christ (not apart from Christ, mind you), then so many of the Old Testament’s promises to Israel, or even Israel’s anointed, also belong to us.

4 Responses to “Psalm 20: Dear Christian, here’s what God wants to do for you!”

  1. Tom Harkins Says:

    The main thing that catches my attention from what you say, and I admit I could be wrong on the subject, is the statement that God loves us “every bit as much as the Father loves his only begotten Son.” I am not sure this is exactly correct. In my view, God’s love is equally AVAILABLE to all, but the extent to which it is “appropriated” depends on our response back to it. Nobody “responds back” to the Father like the Son does. Some scripture that seems to me to support this view is Daniel being called “greatly beloved” and John describing himself as “the disciple that Jesus loved.” Of course God loves all his children, but why are those two somewhat “singled out” in that regard? Also, Jesus says, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” John 14:15 (NIV). “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” John 14:21 (NIV). See also v.23-24a. I don’t take this to be a “loved or not loved” dichotomy, but rather a question of degree. Personally, I don’t find the Bible to teach that there are no degrees of love.

    • brentwhite Says:

      But look at the two verses I cite from John 17.

      • Tom Harkins Says:

        I see your point with them, but the word “even” (NIV) or “as” (KJV) in v.23 I don’t think necessarily means “to the same degree”–it could mean “in the same fashion.” Consider this verse: “‘As’ the Father has sent me, ‘so’ send I you.” We can’t compare to the “obedience” which the Son achieved in response to being “sent,” or to his degree. But we are “likewise” commissioned to be “ambassadors for Christ,” as Paul said. Paul also said Christ is the foundation, but each should be careful how he builds thereon, for that will be tested by fire, some coming through as gold, silver, and precious stones, others wood, hay, and stubble. He even says that some people’s work will be “burned up, but he himself will be saved, yet so as one escaping the flames.” This certainly lends support to the conclusion of “degrees,” even though God certainly extends love toward us, just as he does to the Son.

        This may not be the best illustration, but consider the sun and mirrors. A perfectly clean mirror rightly positioned will reflect back the light “perfectly.” However, to the degree that it is “dirty” or “off-centered,” it will reflect back “less perfectly.” The same sun is beaming down on all the mirrors, but they don’t all reflect that light back to the same degree. You might say that they can’t “keep” the “intensity” of the light at the same level. Something like that is how I see the matter.

  2. Grant Essex Says:

    No, I think that John 17 means exactly what you are saying. You are not wrong.

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