Psalm 21:2

We fail to see, in the structure of this psalm, sufficient indications of its being the counterpart of the preceding one, to lead us to call it a Te Deum, to be sung on returning from battle as victor. It would equally well suit other occasions on which the grateful hearts of king and people desired to render praises in the house of God for mercies received; e.g. ver. 4: would be equally adapted to the recovery of the king from sickness. Its precise historic reference it is, however, now impossible to ascertain; but this is of comparatively small importance. That the psalm is meant for a public thanksgiving is clear; and thus, with differences of detail in application thereof according to circumstances, it may furnish a basis for helpful teaching on days of national rejoicing over the mercies of God. We must, however, carefully avoid two errors in opening up the hid treasure of this psalm. We must not interpret it as if its references were only temporal, nor as if we lost sight of the supernatural revelation and of the Messianic prophecies which lie in the background thereof; nor yet, on the other hand, may we interpret its meaning as if the religious knowledge or conceptions of Israel''s king were as advanced as the thoughts of Paul or John. E.g. "His glory is great in thy salvation." If we were to interpret this word "salvation" as meaning, primarily, the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, we should be guilty of an anachronism. Its first meaning is, rescue from impending trouble or danger. This, however, may be regarded as prophetic of the triumph awaiting the Church''s King; but our exposition will be sure and clear only as we begin with the historic meaning, an& then move carefully forward. The prayers and thanksgivings of a people cannot rise above the level of inspiration and revelation which marked the age in which they lived. We, indeed, may now set our devotions into another form than that which is represented by vers. 8-12; and, indeed, we are bound so to do. For since revelation is progressive, devotion should be correspondingly progressive too. So that if the remarks we make on the psalm are in advance of the thinkings of believers in David''s time, let us remember that this is because we now look at all events and read all truth in the light of the cross, and not because we pretend to regard such fulness of meaning as belonging to the original intention of the psalm. There are here six lines of exposition before us.

I. HERE IS THE RECALL OF A TIME OF TROUBLE- OF TROUBLE WHICH GATHERED, ROUND THE PERSON OF THE KING. (Ver. 1.) We cannot decide (nor is it important that we should) what was the precise kind of anxiety which had been felt. The word "life" in the fourth verse may indicate that some sickness had threatened the life of the king. The word "deliverance" and the allusions to "enemies' rather point to peril from hostile forces. Either way, when a monarch''s life is threatened, either through sickness or war, the burden is very heavy on the people''s heart. The first cause of anxiety was felt in Hezekiah''s time; the second, often and notably in the days of Jehoshaphat.

II. THE TROUBLE LED TO PRAYER. We gather from the contents of the psalm that the specific prayer was for the king''s life, either by way of recovery from sickness or of victory in war. Note: Whatever is a burden on the hearts of God''s people may be laid before God in prayer. Prayer may and should be specific; and even though our thought, desires, and petitions in prayer may be very defective, still we may tell to God all we feel, knowing that we shall never be misunderstood, and that the answer will come according to the Father''s infinite wisdom, and not according to our defects; yea, our God will do abundantly for us above all that we can ask or think. Hence we have to note -

III. THE PRAYER BROUGHT AN ANSWER. The trust of the praying ones was not disappointed (cf. vers. 2-7). The jubilant tone of the words indicates that the prayer had not been barely, but overflowingly answered. God''s good things had gone far ahead of the petitions, and had even anticipated the king''s wishes and wants (ver. 3). "Life" had been asked; and God had granted "length of days for ever and ever." This cannot refer to the personal earthly life of any human king; the meaning is that in the deliverance vouchsafed there had been a new confirmation of that "everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure," wherein God had promised to establish David''s throne for ever (Psalm 61:6; Psalm 132:11-14). Dr. Moll says, "I find here the strongest expression of the assurance of faith in the personal continuance of the life of those who hold fast to the covenant of grace in living communion with Jehovah." Yea, the old Abrahamic covenant has been again confirmed. "Thou hast made him to be blessings for ever" (see Revised Version margin). So that this deliverance thus celebrated in Hebrew song is at once a development of God''s gracious plan, and the answer to a king''s and a people''s prayer! "Thou settest a crown of pure gold upon his head" (ver 3; cf 2 Samuel 12:30).

IV. NEW ANSWERS TO PRAYER INSPIRED NEW HOPE (Ver. 7.) "Through the loving-kindness of the Most High he shall not be moved" (cf. Psalm 23:6; Psalm 63:7). He who proves himself to be our Refuge to-day, thereby proves himself our Refuge for every day.

V. THE PROVIDENTIAL INTERPOSITIONS IN ANSWER TO PRAYER AFFORDED NEW ILLUSTRATIONS OF GOD' S WORKS AND WAYS. (Vers. 8-13.) God is what he is. He remains "the same, yesterday, and to-day, and for ever." But he cannot seem the same to his enemies as to his friends; the same events which fulfil the hopes of his friends are the terror and dread of his foes. This general principle is always true: it must be (ver. 10); and side by side with the Divine provision for the continuance of good, there is the Divine provision for shortening the entail of evil (see Exodus 20:6, Revised Version margin; and Deuteronomy 7:9). But we are not bound in our devotions to single out others as the enemies in whose overthrow and destruction we could rejoice. At the same time, it is but just to the Hebrews to remember that they were the chosen people of God, and from their point of view, and with their measure of light, they regarded their enemies as God''s enemies (see Psalm 139:22). The way David sometimes treated his foes can by no means be justified. The views of truth which God''s people hold are often sadly discoloured by the conventionalisms of their time; and David was no exception thereto. We may pray for the time when Zion''s King "shall have put all enemies under his feet," and even praise him for telling us that it will be so. But we may surely leave all details absolutely with ]aim.

VI. THE EVER-UNFOLDING DISCLOSURES OF WHAT GOD IS MAY WELL CALL FORTH SHOUTS OF JOYOUS SONG. (Ver. 13.) When we have such repeated illustrations of God''s loving-kindness, mercy, and grace, we can feel unfeigned delight in singing of his power. What rapturous delight may we have in the thought that-

"The voice which rolls the stars along
Speaks all the promises;"

that the same Being who is most terrible to sin, is infinitely gracious to the sinner, and. that to all who trust him he is their "exceeding Joy"! - C.

Thou hast given him his heart's desire.
In this Psalm the joy bells of praise and thanksgiving are rung, and "Te Deum laudamus" sung, as after a great victory. It follows close on Psalm 20, celebrating the fulfilment of the petitions there offered.

1. We are reminded of the connection between desire and prayer. Desire is the mainspring of life. Could the infinite multitude of desires be annihilated, hope and effort would die, and the busy drama of life come to a standstill. Desire is therefore the test of character. Not what a man does or says, but what he desires, marks him for what he is, and makes him what he is. Desire, therefore, is the soul of prayer. We see here, perhaps, the deepest reason why God has ordained prayer, namely, that what is deepest, most dominant in man's nature, should be consecrated to God, and supremely refer to Him.

2. The whole invisible world of human desires (never the same two moments) lies open to God's eye. God can, if He sees fit, give us our "heart's desire." No lawful desire but He has created the means of its satisfaction; and if He disappoints it, this is but for the sake of some nobler end, some richer blessing. Unlawful desires are forbidden, not because He grudges our joy, but because their fulfilment would be our injury and ruin.

3. We have a practical test suggested both of our desires and of our prayers.(1) Of our desires. Are they such as we can put into prayer? Are they pure — such as God can approve; reasonable — such as we need not be ashamed to put into prayer; unselfish — such as consist with the great law of love; unpresumptuous — within the scope of God's promises?(2) Of our prayers. Do they indeed express the desires of our heart? Prayer without desire is a dead form; a featherless, pointless arrow that will reach no mark.

(E. R. Conder, M. A.)

David, Psalmist
Desire, Gavest, Hast, Heart, Heart's, Kept, Lips, Request, Selah, Withheld, Withholden
1. A thanksgiving for victory
7. with confidence of further success

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Psalm 21:2

     5015   heart, and Holy Spirit
     5164   lips
     6185   imagination, desires
     8666   praise, manner and methods

Psalm 21:1-3

     4333   gold

Epistle Lviii. To all the Bishops Throughout Helladia .
To all the Bishops throughout Helladia [1626] . Gregory to all bishops constituted in the province of Helladia. I return thanks with you, dearest brethren, to Almighty God, who has caused the hidden sore which the ancient enemy had introduced to come to the knowledge of all, and has cut it away by a wholesome incision from the body of His Church. Herein we have cause both to rejoice and to mourn; to rejoice, that is, for the correction of a crime, but to mourn for the fall of a brother. But, since
Saint Gregory the Great—the Epistles of Saint Gregory the Great

My Brethren.
OUR Lord Jesus Christ calls those for whom He died and who have believed on Him "My Brethren." What a word it is! The Brethren of the Man in Glory! Brethren of Him who is at the right hand of God, the upholder and heir of all things! Pause for a moment, dear reader. Let your heart lay hold anew of this wonderful message of God's Grace; Brethren of the Lord Jesus Christ! What depths of love and grace these words contain! What heights of glory they promise to us, who were bought by His own precious
Arno Gaebelein—The Lord of Glory

The Poor in Spirit are Enriched with a Kingdom
Theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3 Here is high preferment for the saints. They shall be advanced to a kingdom. There are some who, aspiring after earthly greatness, talk of a temporal reign here, but then God's church on earth would not be militant but triumphant. But sure it is the saints shall reign in a glorious manner: Theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.' A kingdom is held the acme and top of all worldly felicity, and this honour have all the saints'; so says our Saviour, Theirs is the
Thomas Watson—The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12

Fourteenth Day for the Church of the Future
WHAT TO PRAY.--For the Church of the Future "That the children might not be as their fathers, a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not steadfast with God."--PS. lxxviii. 8. "I will pour My Spirit upon thy seed, and My blessing upon thy offspring."--ISA. xliv. 3. Pray for the rising generation, who are to come after us. Think of the young men and young women and children of this age, and pray for all the agencies at work among them; that in association and societies
Andrew Murray—The Ministry of Intercession

Of Deeper Matters, and God's Hidden Judgments which are not to be Inquired Into
"My Son, beware thou dispute not of high matters and of the hidden judgments of God; why this man is thus left, and that man is taken into so great favour; why also this man is so greatly afflicted, and that so highly exalted. These things pass all man's power of judging, neither may any reasoning or disputation have power to search out the divine judgments. When therefore the enemy suggesteth these things to thee, or when any curious people ask such questions, answer with that word of the Prophet,
Thomas A Kempis—Imitation of Christ

The Evening of the Third Day in Passion-Week - on the Mount of Olives: Discoures to the Disciples Concerning the Last Things.
THE last and most solemn denunciation of Jerusalem had been uttered, the last and most terrible prediction of judgment upon the Temple spoken, and Jesus was suiting the action to the word. It was as if He had cast the dust of His Shoes against the House' that was to be left desolate.' And so He quitted for ever the Temple and them that held office in it. They had left the Sanctuary and the City, had crossed black Kidron, and were slowly climbing the Mount of Olives. A sudden turn in the road, and
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

Sermons of St. Bernard on the Passing of Malachy
Sermon I (November 2, 1148.)[1005] 1. A certain abundant blessing, dearly beloved, has been sent by the counsel of heaven to you this day; and if it were not faithfully divided, you would suffer loss, and I, to whom of a surety this office seems to have been committed, would incur danger. I fear therefore your loss, I fear my own damnation,[1006] if perchance it be said, The young children ask bread, and no man offereth it unto them.[1007] For I know how necessary for you is the consolation which
H. J. Lawlor—St. Bernard of Clairvaux's Life of St. Malachy of Armagh

What Messiah did the Jews Expect?
1. The most important point here is to keep in mind the organic unity of the Old Testament. Its predictions are not isolated, but features of one grand prophetic picture; its ritual and institutions parts of one great system; its history, not loosely connected events, but an organic development tending towards a definite end. Viewed in its innermost substance, the history of the Old Testament is not different from its typical institutions, nor yet these two from its predictions. The idea, underlying
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

Letter Li to the virgin Sophia
To the Virgin Sophia He praises her for having despised the glory of the world: and, setting forth the praises, privileges, and rewards of Religious Virgins, exhorts her to persevere. Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux, to the Virgin Sophia, that she may keep the title of virginity and attain its reward. I. Favour is deceitful and beauty is vain; but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised (Prov. xxxi. 31). I rejoice with you, my daughter, in the glory of your virtue, whereby, as I hear, you
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux—Some Letters of Saint Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux

The piety of the Old Testament Church is reflected with more clearness and variety in the Psalter than in any other book of the Old Testament. It constitutes the response of the Church to the divine demands of prophecy, and, in a less degree, of law; or, rather, it expresses those emotions and aspirations of the universal heart which lie deeper than any formal demand. It is the speech of the soul face to face with God. Its words are as simple and unaffected as human words can be, for it is the genius
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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