“The king rejoices in your strength, Lord. How great is his joy in the victories you give! You have granted him his heart’s desire and have not withheld the request of his lips.” Psalm 21:1-2
As Christmas comes close this is the busy time of year for the Post Office, not least because of all the post going to Santa at the North Pole. I’d imagine that more kids today get exactly what they asked for than children did a generation or two ago. Sometimes though, children’s requests know no bounds and they are wise parents who gently guide their child in asking wisely of Santa. Adults however know from experience that we don’t always get what we want and that is sometimes because our expectations as well as our desires are unrealistic or beyond the power of the giver. Not so with God, when we ask wisely.
It’s believed that Psalm 21 goes in tandem with Psalm 20 which as we’ve discovered directs prayer to God and expresses faith in the Lord alone. In today’s Psalm David using the third person or someone speaking on his behalf expresses thanks to God for prayer answered. The same phrase “desire of your heart” occurs in Psalm 20:4 and 21:2. Once expressing the request, and then giving thanks for the answer.
There are two truths here that we should keep in mind. First the need to ask wisely as David did. For him it was help to do the task and fulfil the role to which God had appointed him as king. It was for success in reaching his objectives and these are the things that led to praise for God which turns to thanksgiving in this psalm. Secondly the generosity of God who in grace granted David’s requests particularly the request of verse 4 “He asked you for life and you gave it to him – length of days forever and ever” which it’s thought might well refer to the promise of 2 Samuel 7:16 a promise which is fulfilled in King Jesus.
What greater gift can there be than eternal life, and what better time than this to receive it? This is a time when we remember the coming of the one who made everlasting life possible through his own life and death, by which he atoned for our sin and removed the barrier, the enmity between us and God the Father. His coming was an act of good will proclaimed by angels; a mercy extended by God to all on earth. When in repentance and faith we receive him it leads ultimately to peace with God. Surely that is a worthy desire and one God loves to give.