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Psalm 21


Joy in the Salvation of the Lord


This psalm is divided into two parts.  A thanksgiving for blessings received in verses 1-6.  And in verses 7-13 we see an expression of confidence in God.  Psalm 21 seems to be a thankful praise for victory in response to the previous pleas found in psalm 20.  There are some commentators, as well as Jewish rabbis, who see here a prophetic type of king Messiah (Jesus) ascending in victory.


Verse 1.  The king shall have joy in Your strength, O Lord; and in Your salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!


As King David offers up this prayer it is like a two in one, as the Holy Spirit within him guides his prayer.  He of course is speaking of himself and the salvation that he has received but also of the greatest King to come.  Jesus is a Royal Personage, remember what Jesus said as He stood before Pilate, John 18:37.  "You are a king, then!" said Pilate. Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me."  Jesus is not merely a King, but the King; King over minds and hearts, reigning as on a throne.  Jesus has wrought out the salvation of His people, but as a man He found strength in Jehovah His God.  David also found his strength in the same manner and constantly gave praise to God for it and his salvation.  The “joy” here spoken of is described by a note of exclamation and a word of wonder or awe: “how greatly!” We like David should rejoice with our Lord in salvation, as coming from God, as coming to us, as extending itself to others.  It would be far better for us to be accused of being over zealous with praise and joy of our salvation than to be found only lukewarm in our faith.  (So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth. Revelation 3:16)


Verse 2.  You have given him his heart’s desire, and have not withheld the request of his lips.  Selah


David had received answers to his prayers, yet as we mediate deeper on this passage we can see that Jesus did as well.  The desire He pursued while on earth through His prayer, His actions and His suffering; He manifested that His heart longed to redeem His people, and now that He is in heaven He has His desire granted him, as He sees His beloved ones coming to Him where He is.  The desires of our Lord Jesus came straight from His heart, and His Father heard them.  So, if our hearts are right with God, He will in our case also “fulfill the desires of them that fear Him.”  Those who have truly given them selves to the Lord and received His free gift of salvation have also received His gift of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit.  As we lean into God, drawing closer to Him, we began to pray His heart lead by the Spirit within us.  In John 17 Jesus prays for Himself, the disciples, and all future believers (you and me), He was and still is our prevailing Pleader.  Jesus is always ready to ask for us at the mercy seat.  Is there not something right now, at this moment pressing in on your heart that you feel you must go to the throne room of God to ask for?  We should not be slack to use our willing, loving, all-prevailing Intercessor.  This verse ends with Selah, the only time it’s used in this psalm.  It’s a pause properly inserted to give us time to admire the blessed success of the King’s prayers, and maybe even prepare some of our own requests to be presented through Him.  If we had a few more quiet rests, a few more Selahs in our public worship, it might be more profitable.  (Take a moment and pray)


Verse 3.  For You meet him with the blessings of goodness; You set a crown of pure gold upon his head.


The mercy and the love of our heavenly Father preceded even the prayers of His son for the salvation of His chosen ones.  The love of Jehovah is not caused by the Redeemers sacrifice, but by that love, with it’s blessings of goodness, preceded the great atonement, and provided it for our salvation.  All of our mercies are to be viewed as blessings of goodness that our Fathers bestow upon us with free favor.  Jesus wore a crown of thorns, but now wears the crown of glory.  And because of the excellence of His dominion it is a crown of pure gold.  The Father placed the crown firmly there, and no power can remove it.  And in that crown are precious jewels, could it be that each jewel represents every soul that was bought by His sacrifice?



Verse 4.  He asked life from You, and You gave it to him---length of days forever and ever.


Jesus rolled away the stone that prevented not only David but also all of us from having eternal life.  We are now partakers of eternal life because of the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.


Verse 5.  His glory is great in Your salvation; honor and majesty You have placed upon him.


Salvation is ascribed to God; and now the Son, as our Savior, magnifies His Father; but the Son’s glory is also greatly seen for the Father glorifies His Son.  As the wood of the tabernacle was overlaid with pure gold, so is Jesus covered with glory and honor.  There is no possible way that we mere humans can bestow the entire honor upon Jesus that He rightly deserves, that which our God delights to do so, yet we can try earnestly to do just that.


Verse 6.  For You have made him most blessed forever; You have made him exceedingly glad with Your presence.


Blessedness was given to Him as a reward, the Father has blessed Him forever; He is an overflowing wellspring of blessings to others.  Jesus is a blessing to mankind, and blessings abound to others because of His reign


Verse 7.  For the king trusts in the Lord, and through the mercy of the Most High he shall not be moved.


David practiced his faith regularly by consistently seeking the Lords help in all he did.  He had learned to wait on and to trust the Lord for guidance and deliverance, throughout his life.  He set a great example just like Jesus would do of unwavering confidence in God.  Jesus felt safe and secure in the Father’s care even up until the hour He breathed His last and committed His spirit into the same hands.  The verses prior to this one expressed a joyful faith of being under the divine protection of our Heavenly Father.  Even though this psalm of triumph was composed long before our Lord’s conflict began, we can get a picture of how faith overleaps the boundaries of time.  We too can place our total trust in the Lord Most High (Hebrew title for God: ‘Elyon) and never be moved, because of the Spirit of the Lord that has been placed within us.


Verse 8.  Your hand will find all Your enemies; Your right hand will find those who hate You.


We can have pity and remorse for the lost because they are made in the image of God, but we cannot pity them for being the enemies of Christ.  This verse reveals that none will escape from the wrath of the victorious King, nor is it desirable that they should.  Because God is omni-present none will be able to hide from Him.  This verse undoubtedly refers to the final triumph of truth on the earth, or to the fact that the kingdom of God will be set up over the entire world.  All worshippers of idols, all enemies of truth, all rejecters of revelation, all workers of iniquity, and all infidels or scoffers will be found out and subdued.  This will come about in one way or another, either by yielding to the truth of God and becoming His friend, or by being cut off and punished for their sins.  Job 34:22 “There is no darkness nor shadow of death where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.”




Verse 9.  You shall make them as a fiery oven in the time of Your anger; the Lord shall swallow them up in His wrath, and the fire shall devour them.


God’s wrath is often described as a fiery fire.  Fire also is used to describe a cleansing or a judgment.  The fire of sin will be followed by the fire of wrath; just as the smoke Sodom and Gomorrah rose up to heaven, so shall the enemies of the Lord Jesus be utterly and terribly consumed.  This is a judgment verse and we should not make light of it or gloss over it, for it is God’s Holy Word.


Verse 10.  Their offspring You shall destroy from the earth, and their descendants from among the sons of men.


The truth being taught here is that the wicked will ultimately be destroyed, and that God will obtain a complete triumph over them, or that the kingdom of righteousness shall be at length completely established.  


Verse 11.  For they intended evil against You; they devised a plot which they are not able to perform.

Verse 12.  Therefore You will make them turn their back; You will make ready Your arrows on Your string toward their faces.


Satan has been about the business of trying to thwart God’s plan, and he may win skirmishes here and there, but he has not and never will win the battle.  Humans have been his pawns over time to do his bidding, plans have been laid and carried out, and from outward appearances may have seemed successful.  However, they are not!  The enemy may take all that the righteous have, he may torture his body and even take his life, but his soul is God’s and cannot be taken.  Know this, if all the devices and the desires of the wicked were accomplished, righteousness would soon cease in the earth, religion and virtue would come to an end, and even God would cease to occupy the throne.  Praise be to the Sovereign that this will not happen and that final judgment will come on all those who have rejected Him.


Verse 13.  Be exalted, O Lord, in Your own strength!  We will sing and praise Your power. 

Finally to end this beautiful psalm of joyful salvation we have a devout Doxology.