Monday, March 24, 2014

Hearing Our Prayers (Psalm 20:1-5)

“May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob set you securely on high! May He send you help from the sanctuary and support you from Zion! May He remember all your meal offerings and find your burnt offering acceptable! Selah. May He grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your counsel! 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.” (Psalm 20:1–5, NASB95) 

Psalm 20 was a prayer prior to entering battle asking for the favor of God, and Psalm 21 a psalm of thankfulness after the victory. In the first five verses of psalm 20 the request of God was that He would answer this prayer when most needed—in their time of trouble. David, as king, had recaptured the ark and had it placed in a tabernacle in Jerusalem on Mt. Zion—the place where God made Himself present to His people.

Prior to going into battle they had made offerings to God and knelt before Him in prayer asking that He would respond and be their help. God’s covenant of protection, provision, and deliverance with Israel was one based upon obedient faith and by faith they worshiped Him, offered sacrifices according to what had been written, and obeyed His statutes and ordinances. All of these were done in response to who God is, what He had asked of them, and in anticipation of what He would do in their favor if they obeyed His commandments. So Psalm 20 starts off with a request of deliverance from a king who had been put in place by God Himself, and who the king (David) knew was really his deliverer and not his own armies.

Two thousand years ago things changed radically. Though man was still to seek after God by faith and God as always remains his Deliverer, now man does not have to look to the temple in Jerusalem for the place where God met with the priests who interceded for man in prayer and sacrifices. No, Jesus Christ offered up the ultimate, final, once-for-all sacrifice on a hill at Jerusalem. And as we place our trust in Jesus for our salvation, the Holy Spirit permanently indwells every believer. Jesus became our Great High Priest and our intercessor who hears and answers our prayers, and we have become the temple of His Spirit.

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20, NASB95)

“Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.” (2 Corinthians 6:16, NASB95) 

We have always been expected by God to worship Him with our whole hearts, regardless of the side of the cross we live on. David was a man called by God as one after His own heart. We, ourselves, are called by God to be the same. And in that same way we can echo the prayer of David for deliverance in our time of trouble, whether that trouble is entering a real battle, a spiritual battle, a battle with disease, personal relations, work, or even direction. 

The prayer of King David was that God would remember them, help them, and deliver them. The Scriptures tell us that our God is our faithful Deliverer, our help in time of trouble. “Let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; and let those who love Your salvation say continually, “Let God be magnified.” But I am afflicted and needy; hasten to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O LORD, do not delay.” (Psalm 70:4–5, NASB95)

Our prayer can be the same regardless of the issues we face, and we can know that our God hears those prayers and will answer. And like David and his people, we ourselves can rejoice in the faithfulness of our Deliverer.

“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23–24, NASB95)

“May the LORD fulfill all your petitions.”

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