Psalm 20

Psalm 20
Messiah in Distress and Deliverance, as Seen by the Remnant
Psalm 20. This is a Psalm of David, and it can be considered an unofficial Messianic Psalm. As we will see, the Psalm is prophetic of Christ, and yet we have no New Testament quotations that establish it. This Psalm is a prayer of the faithful remnant, addressed to Jehovah, supplication His help for a Faithful One here below. Historically, it was David praying for himself in the third person; i.e. Jehovah’s anointed. But prophetically, this Faithful One is the Messiah Himself! In v.9 the words “Save, Jehovah” are the same words combined in the name Yeshua, which is translated ‘Jesus’ in the New Testament!1 In a prophetic sense, this Psalm gives us the faithful remnant identifying with Christ in His distress, and crying out to Jehovah for His deliverance. As in Psalm 16 we have the Messiah identifying Himself with the remnant, conversely in Psalm 20 we have the remnant identifying themselves with Jehovah (e.g. the word “we” in v.5 and v.9).2
To the chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
1 Jehovah answer thee in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob protect thee;
2 May he send thee help from the sanctuary, and strengthen thee out of Zion;
3 Remember all thine oblations, and accept thy burnt-offering; Selah.
4 Grant thee according to thy heart, and fulfil all thy counsels.
5 We will triumph in thy salvation, and in the name of our God will we set up our banners. Jehovah fulfil all thy petitions!
vv.1-5 The Remnant’s Prayer for their Messiah. No doubt the “day of trouble” (v.1) prophetically refers to the cross. The faithful prayer for help and strength for their suffering Messiah. This prayer may have been answered in Gethsemane (Luke 22:43). They ask Jehovah to “remember” the sacrifices, and “accept thy burnt-offering”. Although the remnant may not understand it, this would refer to the work of the cross! Indeed, God did accept the work of the cross, and answered it by raising Christ from the dead! In v.4, they pray that Messiah’s counsels and desires would be fulfilled. This might refer to His rights as Messiah. In v.5, the remnant identify themselves with Messiah in His victory; “We will triumph in thy salvation, and in the name of our God will we set up our banners”. They associate their hopes with His deliverance. The substance of their prayer is encapsulated in a final request; “Jehovah fulfil all thy petitions!”
6 Now know I that Jehovah saveth his anointed; he answereth him from the heavens of his holiness, with the saving strength of his right hand.
7 Some make mention of chariots, and some of horses, but we of the name of Jehovah our God.
8 They are bowed down and fallen; but we are risen and stand upright.
9 Save, Jehovah! Let the king answer us in the day we call.
vv.6-9 The Remnant’s Confidence in Messiah’s Victory. The turning point in the Psalm is in v.6. Previously the remnant prayed for the Messiah’s deliverance, now they are confident that He will be delivered. The prayer of vv.1-5 will be answered “from the heavens of his holiness, with the saving strength of his right hand”. In v.7 the confidence of the remnant is shown to be in “the name of Jehovah our God”, and this is in contrast with the apostate nation around them, who are trusting in the military protection of the revived Roman empire; “some make mention of chariots, and some of horses”. It would seem that the prophetic setting of these verses would be after the chariots and horses have proven useless; i.e. after the first attack of the Assyrian, when the apostate Jews are fallen by the sword, and the faithful remnant have been providentially preserved by God. “They are bowed down and fallen; but we are risen and stand upright.” The closing prayer is for the salvation of Jehovah, and here again we see that cannot be limited to David speaking, because they say “we”. As risen and glorified, the Messiah their king becomes the resource of the faithful remnant. This shows that the king, Jesus, will become someone they pray to! 
  1. The last verse singularly depicts its force — “Jehovah, save” (the word in Hebrew is the root of Jesus). – Darby, J.N. Heads of Psalms.
  2. In Psalm 16 the Lord identified Himself with the remnant. Here they associate themselves in heart with Him thus suffering, and in His conflict here, though they may see as but the outside of it. – Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.
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