The Book of Psalms

A Day of National Thanksgiving, Day 4

Theme

Theme: The Covenant-Keeping God
In this week’s lessons we see that prayer is not only to be offered to the Lord when we are in need of his help, but it is also to be offered in thanks for his goodness and faithfulness to us.
Scripture: Psalm 21:1-13
Today we look at the last two of the six specific blessings for which the Lord was to be given thanks.
5. Glory, splendor and majesty (v.5). The fifth blessing for which the people (or king) thank God is that glory, splendor and majesty have come to David as a result of his victories. In light of the previous verse, it’s hard not to think of this in terms of the superlative glory given to Jesus Christ because of his great victories over sin on the cross and over death by his resurrection.
6. The joy of God’s presence (v. 6). The last of these blessings is a partial present enjoyment of the blessings of the future age, described as the joy of God’s presence.
The New International Version is probably right to place verse 7 at the end of the first stanza of this psalm since it, like the preceding verses, speaks of the king in the third person (i.e., “he will not be shaken”). But it also breaks the pattern somewhat and is clearly also a transition verse. Verse 7 is a bridge from the past victory or victories celebrated in verses 1-6 to the future victories anticipated in verses 8-12. It bridges these two sections by referring to the covenant relationship that had been established by God with the people.
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. The second describes the king and people’s part. It is something that needs to be renewed constantly.6
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: “These daring anticipations are too exuberant to be realized in any but One, whose victory was achieved in the hour of apparent defeat, whose conquest was both his salvation and God’s, who prays knowing that he is always heard, who is King of men because he 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.”7
Study Questions:

What are the last two blessings listed? How are they seen in the light of further divine revelation given in the New Testament?
How does verse 7 serve as a bridge between verses 1-6 and verse 8? What characterizes verse 7, and how does it relate to the Lord Jesus Christ?

6See Peter C. Craigie, Word Biblical Commentary, vol. 19, Psalms 1-50 (Waco, TX: Word, 1983), p. 192.7Alexander Maclaren, The Psalms, vol. 1, Psalms 1-37 (New York: A. C. Armstrong and Son, 1893), p. 205.

Study Questions
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