Psalm 21 vs 1
“O Lord the king rejoices in your strength. How great is his joy in the victory you give!”
I guess we’ve all had those times when facing a crisis of some sort in answer to prayer the dark threatening clouds that stole our peace have disappeared and joy has returned. I could tell of many serious times but one less serious occasion that we can laugh about now but at the time seemed really bad sticks in my mind.
Over 20 years ago we spent part of our summer holiday with friends and their family in a house in Perthshire. The house was well off the main road up a very rough farm track about a mile in length but which took about half a hour to negotiate. You don’t need to know the back story but one of our kids had a medical emergency and my friend volunteered to drive us down into town for the necessary medical attention. On the way back up this treacherous track in the half light of dusk the near side wheel slipped off the track into a ditch leaving the car stranded with the nearside jammed tight against a bank.
We tried everything to get the car back onto the track but eventually gave up, me in despair praying quietly but my friend laughing said “well the end of the world comes once, and this isn’t it.” His faith clearly greater than mine! The gathering gloom, for it was now all but dark, matched my mood when suddenly round the bend in the track came a Landrover its headlights lighting up the way. Help was at hand, the car pulled out of the ditch, great relief, my happiness restored, above all prayer answered, it wasn’t after all the end of the world.
That is roughly the scenario in Psalm 21:1. If as some suggest it is to be paired with Ps20 it simply strengthens the idea that this is a psalm of thanksgiving for prayer answered. Though it is about God’s goodness to the king, the king is not the one who speaks but the people perhaps, whose well being is linked inextricably to the king and his security.
The nature of the threat or upheaval is not revealed but the Lord has acted decisively, in strength, and given victory, which is, I gather, in the original described as God’s victory and in the old AV as God’s salvation. The result is the king, and the people by extension, rejoice, and joy replaces their concern. Rejoice, according to the dictionary comes from old English and beyond that from an old French world which means re-joy, the sense I suppose that joy had been taken and was now restored.
We all know what it is to be in that situation, when life or well being is threatened and joy in our lives extinguished. We’ve known times as well when in answer to prayer the threat has lifted and we have been re-joyed as it were. When the present danger of Covid-19 has been removed and the danger we now present to one another has been extinguished then we will rejoice, we will celebrate the work of medics and scientists, and all who contributed to the cure or a vaccine but will we also celebrate and rejoice in God who gave the intelligence and the learning, and who through the hand of these people brought deliverance. Just a thought! Great, Lord, is our joy in the victories you give.
Today in your own words thank God for times when he has delivered you from danger and pray for his help today. Give thanks for those on the front line and pray for a cure for Covid-19.