Psalm 21 is a psalm of thanksgiving. In it David praised God for a victory given in response to his prayers and others of God’s people. The rejoicing recorded in Psalm 21 is closely related to the petition of Psalm 20.

 

Psalm 21 is messianic because its truth goes beyond David’s experience and anticipates the greater Son of David, Jesus Christ.

 

The believer can identify with David’s joy as he trusted in God’s power and was strengthened by Him. True joy comes from the Spirit of God (Gal. 5:22). Only His strength can enable the believer to stand against the schemes of the devil (Eph. 6:10).

 

The Lord’s power not only enables us to believe God (Rom. 4:20) but also supports us when all others let us down (2 Tim. 4:17)!

 

Psalm 21 can be divided into three parts.

 

The King Rejoiced in God’s Strength and in the Victory that He Granted—Ps. 21:1-7

As noted above, Psalm 21 anticipates the Messiah, who served His Father in His earthly life and constantly lived in dependence on Him (Phil. 2:7). By so doing He was the most joyous Person who ever lived (Heb. 1:9). He left us a pattern of life that enables us to know His joy (John 15:11; cf. 1 john 2:6). Our highest level of rejoicing comes when we accept the salvation He provided on the cross.

True prayer results when the believer’s heart is right with God. David rejoiced over the answered prayer that led to the fulfillment of his heart’s desire (Ps. 20:4; 21:2).

The path of true fulfillment is found along the road of delighting in God (Ps. 37:4). In this sense the fulfillment of our greatest hope is found in the accomplishment of God’s will for this is true success (John 17:4).

The enjoyment of all our blessings leads us to the source of every good and perfect gift (Jas. 1:17), namely, the Lord Himself.

David declared that God “preventest him” (Ps. 21:3), MEANING THAT He went before him in order to meet him with the blessing of good things. David did not try to crown himself but credited God as being the source of his kingship. The blessing of the crown was found in the God who gave it to him, not in the gold or the power associated with royalty.

God gave David life (Ps. 21:4), for He is the Creator and Sustainer of both physical and spiritual life (Col. 1:16-17; John 17:3). God spared David’s life in battle. The answer to his prayer was above and beyond all that he could ask or think (cf. Eph. 3:20).

The phrase “even length of days for ever and ever” (Ps. 21:4) alludes to a hope that went beyond military victory. David based his hope of resurrection on the future resurrection of the Messiah, who is the source of all life (Ps. 16:9-10; John 1:4; 14:6).

He clung to God’s wonderful promise to him that ultimately would be fulfilled by Jesus Christ (Luke 1:32-33). The promise was that from David’s seed his kingdom would be established forever (2 Sam. 7:13, 16).

Psalm 21:6 repeats the theme that God is the source of all true blessings and the source of true joy. David experienced these blessings and this joy; but his Descendant, Jesus Christ, made it possible for all who trust Him to enjoy every spiritual blessing (Eph. 1:3) and the joy of God’s presence forever (Ps. 16:11).

Psalm 21:7 reveals that the Lord’s mercy, or loving-kindness, is the means to experience God’s gracious blessings that are enjoyed by faith.

Christ not only died to make possible all our blessings but also lived a perfect life of faith. We can by faith experience the following: God’s strength and salvation; the desires of the heart; the blessings of good things; life; glory, honor, and majesty; and the joy of God’s presence.

 

The Congregation Responded to the King’s Trust in Yahweh and Anticipated the Defeat of All his Enemies—Ps. 21:8-12

The blessing of stability (Ps. 21:7) may be added to the above list.

The congregation responded to David’s trust by anticipating the defeat of all his enemies. The focus here changed from the celebration of a single victory to the anticipation of total and complete victory.

Such victory anticipates the work of Jesus Christ. His death secured the defeat of demonic forces (Col. 2:15), who are the ultimate source of our conflict (Eph. 6:10-12).

In Psalm 21:9 the “fiery oven,” “wrath,” and “fire” anticipate the future day of wrath and final judgment described elsewhere as a “furnace of fire” (Matt. 13:42) and “flaming fire” (2 Thess. 1:8).

The future judgment will punish all unrepentant sinners and defeat all evil. Righteousness will triumph in every way. The final judgment in this sense will be a revelation of God’s righteousness, for no evil plot will ultimately succeed.

The anticipation of judgment is not a cry of personal vengeance but rather a cry for God to be glorified for who He is.

 

The Congregation Praised the Power of the Lord, who Alone is to be Exalted—Ps. 21:13

As the Lord displays His strength in judging evil and fulfilling His promises, He is exalted and honored.

The only suitable response from God’s people is to purpose to live a life of praise to God. When we praise God, we are acknowledging Him to be who He is. Praise delivers us from the lie that anyone or anything else is worthy of our complete love, trust, and adoration that belongs to God. Praise is an expression of gratitude for the triumph of righteousness.