Around the time there is a transition in the monarchs of Britain we seem to be more interested in the royalty, don’t we? William and Kate’s wedding and the births of their children, Harry and Megan’s wedding and births of their kids, or the Queen Elizabeth’s passing and King Charles’s ascension to the throne all seem to be compelling. Nancy Guthrie writes, “My theory is that we can thrill at the pageantry and pomp of the British royals only because they have no real authority…When we think about most kings who have ruled over history, we get less excited about the ways of royals, because the truth is, when humans have unchecked authority, that power is most often abused. No one can genuinely celebrate life under a corrupt or cruel king. But what if we could live under a good king, a king who is not corrupt but compassionate, a king who does not take the lives of those he reigns over but gave his life to save those who are citizens of his kingdom? The Bible is the story of this good king and his kingdom. We were made to live under the gracious rule of this king…When God set David on his royal throne over Israel, he made a covenant promise to him—that his throne would last forever and his descendants would eventually rule the whole world…But in a sense, [they] were only the warm-up act for the king God intended to put on this throne one day. It is as if they were only keeping the seat warm for the greater king whom God intended to set on his holy hill.” (1) King Jesus is on his throne, ruling with supreme and sovereign authority over his kingdom. As his subjects, we are not only under his rule, but to be like him in character and blessed as his family members. All the blessings that God bestowed on King David and his descendants are ours in Christ. We have more than all God promises to the kings of Israel, since Christ is ours and we are his.
King David Was Blessed
We will continue to meditate on the blessings in the psalms through King David’s glorious words in Psalm 21. “O Lord, in your strength the king rejoices, and in your salvation how greatly he exults! You have given him his heart’s desire and have not withheld the request of his lips. For you meet him with rich blessings; you set a crown of fine gold upon his head. He asked life of you; you gave it to him, length of days forever and ever. His glory is great through your salvation; splendor and majesty you bestow on him. For you make him most blessed forever; you make him glad with the joy of your presence. For the king trusts in the Lord, and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved.” (Psalm 21:1-7) Why was King David rejoicing, exulting, and glad with joy? God blessed David, giving him God’s strength, salvation, answers to his prayers, steadfast love, a crown of fine gold, long life, glory, splendor and majesty, trust in the Lord, and His steadfast love. He also gave David a firmness and certainty in God’s character and plan so that he “shall not be moved.” “There is something to be learned by the mere existence of this psalm, even before we begin to study it in detail, and that is the importance for us of giving thanks…the Jews of this far-off day realized the importance and necessity of being thankful always. Jesus did too. He also recognized how we easily neglect thanking God after he intervenes for us. We remember that on one occasion, when Jesus was traveling to Jerusalem along the border between Samaria and Galilee, he was met by ten lepers. They asked him to have pity on them, which he did….But only one was thankful…He returned to Jesus, fell at his feet, and thanked him profusely.” (2) In Israel’s days, King David rejoiced in God’s salvation, answers to prayer, rich blessings, long life, glory, splendor, majesty, joy in His presence, God’s steadfast love—all of which led him to his trust and faith in God. How much more we, who are in Christ, should rejoice in God’s blessings of salvation, answers to our prayers, and eternal life, sharing in our Savior’s glory, spender, and majesty with unshakable faith.
Blessings for David and Us
“What are the specific blessings for which the people (or king) give thanks in this section?[They include] victory through God’s strength…and answered prayer. In addition to thanking God for the victory itself, Psalm 21:2 also thanks God simply for answering prayer…[David recognized and thanked God for] glory, splendor, and majesty…that have come to David as a result of his victories…[and] it is hard not to think of this in terms of the superlative glory given to Jesus Christ because of his victories over sin on the cross and over death by his resurrection. David is blessed with the joy of God’s presence, [and] rich blessings associated with the crown.” (3) Our spiritual blessings in Christ are even greater, including his Spirit in us, and the crown promised to us at the culmination of this life (James 1:12). But this psalm is not about us! It’s about the only one who deserves The Crown of Royalty. John Gill writes, “Thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head is expressive of [Christ’s] victory over all enemies, sin, Satan, and the world, death and hell; and of his being possessed of his throne and kingdom; and has respect to his exaltation at the right hand of God, where he is crowned with glory and honour: and this crown being of ‘pure gold’ denotes the purity, glory, solidity, and perpetuity of his kingdom; this is a crown, not which believers put upon him by believing in him…but which his Father put upon him, who has set him King over his holy hill of Zion.” (4) King David rejoiced in God’s salvation, answers to prayer, rich blessings, long life, glory, splendor, majesty, joy in His presence, and God’s steadfast love—all of which led him to his trust and faith in God. We rejoice in Christ’s unveiled blessings of salvation, answers to our prayers, and eternal life, sharing in our Savior’s glory, spender, and majesty with unshakable faith.
David’s Greater Son’s Victory
“Like many of the psalms containing strong statements about the character or future victories of Israel’s king, this one contains statements that can only have their true fulfillment in the Messiah…Verse 7 is rich with covenant language, particularly the two words hesed (translated ‘unfailing love’ or, in other versions, ‘lovingkindness’) and botah, meaning ‘trust.’ The first describes God’s part in the covenant. It is eternal and unchangeable…We cannot read these words without again being made to think of Jesus Christ. He alone can be said utterly to have trusted God and thus never to have been shaken. Alexander Maclaren summarizes this well: ‘[Christ] endured the cross—and wears the crown of pure gold because he did not refuse the crown of thorns; who liveth for evermore, having been given by the Father to have life in himself; who is the outshining of the Father’s glory, and has all power granted unto him; who is the source of all blessing to all, who dwells in the joy to which he will welcome his servants; and who himself lived and conquered by the life of faith, and so became the first leader of the long line of those who have trusted and have therefore stood fast.’” (5)
Blessed with Trust in God’s Providence
King David rejoiced in God’s blessings, all of which led him to his trust and faith in God. When we trust in God’s providential plans through Christ, we are spiritually joyful, sharing in our Savior’s glory, splendor, and majesty with unshakable faith. We don’t need kings and queens today because we have The King who will never die and will continue to adopt children until the end of this world. “Happy the people whose king makes God’s strength his confidence, and God’s salvation his joy; who are pleased with all the advancements of God kingdom, and trusts God to support him in all he does for the service of it. All our blessings are blessings of goodness, and are owing, not to any merit of ours, but only to God’s goodness. But when God’s blessings come sooner, and prove richer than we imagine; when they are given before we prayed for them, before we were ready for them, nay, when we feared the contrary; then it may be truly said that he went before us with them.”(6) “The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalms 16:6-11)
Related Scripture: 2 Samuel 7:18-21; Psalms 16:8-9; 20:4-5; 21:6-7; 22:8; 36:8-9; Matthew 7:14; Romans 6:9.
- Guthrie, Nancy, The Wisdom of God, Seeing Jesus in the Psalms and Wisdom Books, pp. 121-124, Crossway, 2012.
- Boice, James, Boice Expositional Commentary Series, Psalm 21:1-7, Baker Books, Software version, 1998.
- Boice, Ibid.
- Gill, John, John Gill’s Exposition on the Whole Bible, Psalm 21:3, https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/psalms-21.html
- Boice, Ibid.
- Henry, Matthew, Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Bible, Psalm 21:1-6, https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhn/psalms-21.html
October 6, 2022