Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a crisis, with no clear idea of how to get out? Have you ever faced a situation that seems bigger than you are? Have you ever looked ahead to a day that fills you with dread and uncertainty? If you can answer "yes" to any of these questions (like all of us can), then you can understand how the Psalmist felt when he wrote Psalm 20.
This Psalm is set in a time of impending battle. The king is uncertain about the future of the battle, and as a result, the future of his kingdom and his life. The people of Israel gather around their king and offer him hope in the name of the Lord God of Israel. When you find yourself in a crisis, as does this king, several questions come to mind. The Psalmist will answer those questions and help you find victory over your problems.
Who Can You Call?: -- When you see yourself in a crisis, who can you call on? Who can you count on to help you when you are in need? "May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble! May the Name of the God of Jacob set you securely on high!" (Psa. 20:1). This king was going to war with uncertainty in his future. The people around him tell the king that God is the One who can respond to his needs in the day of trouble. You may have friends or relatives who can help you, but God is the One you can always count on. You can call on Him.
Our world offers much in the way of help. There are food banks, there are support groups, there is extensive research into issues that plague individuals and families. But, in spite of all this help, the fact is God is the One you can count on when you are in trouble. "He Himself has said, 'I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,' so that we can confidently say, 'The Lord is my Helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?'" (Heb. 13:5,6). God has promised that He will be there for you, and we can have confidence that God will help.
You can count on God, when you call on the Lord. Christians everywhere have the right to come into God's presence for help. "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything be prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:6,7). When you are troubled, one great blessing for every believer is that we can take our needs to God, and God will respond by giving us peace, even in times of crisis.
But, even if you have never become a Christian, you can still call on God. A man named Saul killed Christians, thinking he was doing the right thing. When Saul realized he had been wrong all along, he found himself in a crisis. A good man named Ananias told Saul what to do to call on the Lord. "Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name" (Acts 22:16). Ananias told Saul not to wait, but to get up and be immersed in the name of Jesus to have his sins taken away. When that occurred, Saul found himself with God on his side. Whatever crisis you might be facing, call on the Lord and He will answer.
Who Will Help?: -- The great thing about our God is that He answers by offering real help. "May He send you help from the sanctuary and support you from Zion!" (Psa. 20:2). The king was going into battle. He seems unsure if he will win. He must not be sure his army is strong enough to engage and defeat the enemy. But the people offer him a resource much more powerful and reliable than the help of men, they offer the king the help of God.
There is nothing better than knowing that God is on your side, and will equip you with what you need to succeed. "What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?" (Rom. 8:31,32). God sent His Son to die for you. When you call on Him in faith and baptism, God will not withhold the help you need for all your struggles. God keeps all His promises, and in these verses God offers to freely give us what we need to live for Him.
Are you facing temptation? God will help. "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it" (1 Cor. 10: 13). God will provide a way of escape when Satan tempts you. Are you worried about your circumstances? God will provide peace, as we have seen (Phil. 4:7). Are you hurting over loved ones? God understands since His Son wept for the people who were about to kill Him (Lk. 19:41). Whatever your crisis might be, God will help.
What Will Help?: -- The Psalmist tells us that this king could have confidence, since he had been worshiping God faithfully. "May He remember all your meal offerings and find you burnt offering acceptable!" (Psa. 20:3). The king had offered the sacrifices God required prior to making his battle plans. As a result, he could have confidence that God had accepted His offerings and would therefore go with him into battle.
This helps us understand the role of our worship to God. One reason we worship is because God deserves our praise. "Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever, Amen" (Eph. 3:20,21). God can save us, God will help us. As a result, we should offer Him glory in our worship for ever and ever. Worship reminds us what an awesome God we serve.
But, worship also builds us up to face the problems of life. "What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification" (1 Cor. 14:26). God reminds us that our worship assemblies are to build people up, so they can face the world they live in more effectively. So, if you find yurself in crisis, find a group of Christians who assemble each Sunday adn worship with them. You will be surprised how God will respond.
What Do You Want?: -- The people of Israel next say a remarkable thing to their king. "May He grant you your heart's desire and fulfill all your counsel!" (Psa. 20:4). The king had a battle plan, he had taken counsel and come up with a plan. He wanted to win this battle and had worked out a way to do so. So, the people ask that God will fulfill the desires of his heart (win the battle) and work through the king's plan (his counsel) to achieve victory.
When you find yourself in crisis, God is there to help. He knows your hurts and your struggles. "Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him" (Matt. 6:8). He is watching as you face your struggles, and He wants to give you what you desire. If that is peace, He offer peace. If that is mercy, He offers mercy. If that is hope, God offers hope. God never promises to give you everything you want. But He will be there to lead you to victory, if you will call on Him and trust Him.
God promises to meet our needs and to help us in times of trouble. But, God will do more than we can even imagine. "Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen" (Eph. 3:20,21).
Who Will Care?:-- When you call on the Lord in baptism, you will find yourself part of a group who will rejoice in your salvation. "We will sing for joy over your victory, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners. May the Lord fulfill all your petitions" (Psa. 20:5). The people promise the king they will rejoice and sing about his upcoming victory in battle. That is what God's people do when others call on the Lord, they rally to offer support.
When you surrender to God, all heaven will rejoice! "In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents" (Lk. 15:10). When you come to God in submission, other Christians will rejoice with you. We will sing about God's victory in your life. We will rejoice with you when the battles you face turn into resounding victories for God. There is a great group of believers who will care and praise God when you make God your choice.
Who Will Make The Difference?: -- "Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven with the saving strength of His right hand" (Psa. 20: 6). When the battle is won, the peopleknow who to thank. God gets the credit for victory, in spite of the king's plans and preparations. The king is victorious, not because of his plans, but because of his trust in God. When the king trusted God, the Lord saved him by His right hand.
God waits to do that for you. He will save you with the power of His Son's blood. "He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed" (1 Pet. 2;24). No matter what you face in life, the only One who can make any real difference is the Lord. He alone can lift you up. He alone can give you the victory.
Who Do You Trust?: -- "Some boast in chariots and some in horses, but we will boast in the name of the Lord, our God. They have bowed down and fallen, but we have risen and stood upright. Save, O Lord; may the King answer us in the day we call" (Psa. 20:7-9). The enemy king seems to have had more fire power, more chariots and horses. He trusted in his numerical superiority to achieve victory. But, Israel and her king trusted in the Lord. While the enemies were defeated, God led His people to victory.
Who do you trust? There are many voices in the world today telling you how to live your life. From philosophy to technology there are many who will give you advice on how to live, how to raise a family, how to make a living and so on. But, eventually, you will find yourself in a battle in which no one can help. No one, except the Lord. Who will you trust?
God says to trust in Him, especially when you are troubled. "Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me" (Jno. 14:1), to repent of your sins "And Peter said to them, 'Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall recieve the gift of the Holy Spirit'" (Acts 2:38), and call on His name by being washed in baptism, "And now why do you delay? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name" (Acts 22:16). Who do you trust to save you in times of trouble? Call on the Lord today.
By David Thurman in Gospel Minutes, Vol. 54, No. 2, Jan. 14, 2005.
Return to the General Articles page
Home / Bible studies / Bible Survey / Special Studies / General Articles / Non-Bible Articles / Sermons / Sermon Outlines / Links / Questions and Answers / What Saith The Scriptures /Daily Devotional / Correspondence Courses / What is the Church of Christ / Book: Christian Growth / Website Policy / E-mail / About Me /