Talk given by John MacDiarmid at PCF on Sunday morning 11 January 2015
Listen to this talk (or download – right-click here and ‘Save as’):
The first part of our Mission statement is “Knowing Jesus…” and it is to this that we turn in this series.
Jesus came to give us eternal life. But what is eternal life? Jesus said, it is “Knowing you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ who you have sent”. Our faith is all about having and developing our relationship with God.
In this series we will be looking at Psalms 21 to 30 through the prism of “Knowing Jesus…”.
We start today with Psalm 21:
The king rejoices in your strength, Lord.
How great is his joy in the victories you give!
You have granted him his heart’s desire
and have not withheld the request of his lips.
You came to greet him with rich blessings
and placed a crown of pure gold on his head.
He asked you for life, and you gave it to him—
length of days, for ever and ever.
Through the victories you gave, his glory is great;
you have bestowed on him splendour and majesty.
Surely you have granted him unending blessings
and made him glad with the joy of your presence.
For the king trusts in the Lord;
through the unfailing love of the Most High
he will not be shaken.
Your hand will lay hold on all your enemies;
your right hand will seize your foes.
When you appear for battle,
you will burn them up as in a blazing furnace.
The Lord will swallow them up in his wrath,
and his fire will consume them.
You will destroy their descendants from the earth,
their posterity from mankind.
Though they plot evil against you
and devise wicked schemes, they cannot succeed.
You will make them turn their backs
when you aim at them with drawn bow.
Be exalted in your strength, Lord;
we will sing and praise your might.
We look at Psalm 21 under four heading:
1. Rejoicing in God (v1)
Here we see David rejoicing in His Lord, rejoicing in the fact that he experience God at work in his life day by day. There is no joy like the one of knowing that God is at work in your life. The challenge to us is: do we experience God at work in our lives day by day? Is our walk with God so current that we can tell others of something that God has done today? For David, there was a source of joy that came from God being in his life in the here and now.
2. Rejoicing in the Past (v 2-7)
Then David moves onto a description of how he has experienced God at work in his life.
This Psalm was written probably when David was at his peak. Having come through so many difficulties, when his life was threatened and it seemed impossible for his to achieve what God had said would happen, he finally became king over all Israel – something that had never happened before. God’s promises had been fulfilled, to David and to his people. It was a glorious, golden era in the nation’s life: we read in 2 Samuel l 8 that “David reigned over all Israel, doing what was just and right for all his people”
At this stage, David looks back over the way in which he has experienced God’s answered prayer throughout that period to bring him to this point. What a lot he has to thank God for! Read through verses two to seven and you can see it all clearly.
Of course, David was not the perfect king. Following this period, inexplicably, David messed up in the most spectacular way, committing adultery, murder and deception. He never stopped being King, but the great king, David, was a very flawed character. But this points us to a new phase, the day when God would bring a king who would be perfect and who really would rule forever. David didn’t know it, but he was writing a song about the Lord Jesus here, and pointing forward to the perfect King who would rule forever, as he trusted in His Father.
But this was not only about David and his successor, the Messiah. Because you are in Christ, this is about you. The individual Christian can identify with the promises and the blessings that are contained here. We need to learn to systematically rejoice in what God has done for us. As we do so, we experience his love in a fresh way.
There is a key phrase in this passage which is “you make him glad with the joy of your presence”. It is the presence of God that brings us joy, it is experiencing Him in our lives day by day it is knowing the wonderful oil of his presence as we spend time in His presence.
3. Rejoicing in the Future (v 8-12)
But David knew that his battles were not over. Verses 8-12 talk about the future battles which are ahead. As God said to Joshua at the end of his life “there is much land still to be taken”. So here David, based on what he has already seen God do, rejoices in the fact that God, in his faithfulness, will continue to give David victory wherever he goes.
As we apply this to the Lord Jesus, we know there are many today who are the enemies of Jesus. These verses talk about what God will do to them, and how in eternity they will be defeated and sent packing in disarray. Whilst all people today are objects of the love of God, while God gives them the opportunity to repent and to put their trust in Him , the day will come when Jesus will deal with his enemies one by one forever. Make sure you pick the right side to be on.
And because Jesus will defeat his enemies, and you are in Christ, you can be sure that God will also defeat your enemies – those which are external, and those inside us, the failings that we all have. All our battles will be won, even though the battle rages day by day.
Notice the pattern here: we can trust in God in the future because we recognise what he has done in our lives. Let us continually rejoice in God, in what he has done in our lives in the victories that we have already seen so that we can trust him for the future.
4. Rejoicing in the Present (v13)
So we finish this Psalm where we began. We rejoice in god in the here and now. He has done wonderful things for us, he will do wonderful things for us, and we can experience His presence as we rejoice in Him.