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"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

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  • « Yom Kippur - the Day of Atonement | Main | The Westminster Confession of Faith »

    Psalm Twenty: O Yahweh, Save the King!

    Images of the Savior from the Psalms
    Psalm Twenty: O Yahweh, Save the King!

    Everywhere one may turn, the psalms are full of the prayers of the Davidic King, who intercedes for his people and pleads God's eternal blessing and favor upon them; but in this psalm, we find the roles reversed, as it were, and the people of God all lifting up their voice in one accord on behalf of their King. “May the Lord save you!”, they cry out to him; “May his Name protect you, may he send you aid from his sanctuary, may he remember your sacrifices and burnt offerings, may he fulfill your plans, may we rejoice in your salvation” – these and other such requests they offer up for him.

    Note how confidently and with what assurance they lift up these requests: “Now I know that the Lord saves his Messiah,” they cry out with joy; “it matters not what horses and chariots may be arrayed against us, for the hand of the Lord is with his Christ, he will answer him from heaven. All the chariots of the wicked will fall, but we who hope in the King will arise and stand upright. O Yahweh, save the King,” they finally repeat, for they know that when Yahweh saves the King, the King will then save them. And so they end their prayer with this one last request, “May he answer us when we call”.

    Do you remember, O reader, how the last, eternal anointed King, David's true Son and Lord, taught us to pray when he finally came? Did he not teach us, first, to plead for the Name of the God of Jacob to be hallowed, and second, for the Kingdom of his Christ to be crowned with success? And so we see that the saints in David's time, who requested these same things, were well taught by the Holy Spirit to pray according to God's will.

    “May the Lord remember your sacrifice and fulfill all your plans,” they cried out then. And so we also cry, “Your will be done and your plans be accomplished, on earth as they are in heaven” – and in this, we are following the example of the Savior, who, when he was about to offer up the one great Sacrifice by which, when the Lord remembered it, we would be saved and justified, cried out with great anguish, “Not my will, but yours be done”. “Forgive us our debts,” we cry out; and in this we are saying to Christ, the Lamb of God, “May the Lord remember your Burnt Offering, the Sacrifice you made when you poured yourself out on Calvary, and save you from heaven, that we may shout for joy at your salvation, and rest in you alone”. So you see then, how like this prayer for David is to the prayer that the greater David taught us to pray.

    Only consider this one final point, dear Christian, when you lift up your prayer for the success of the Kingdom of Christ, in the same spirit as these saints who prayed for the success of David's kingdom; if they displayed such confidence and joyful hope in God's salvation, seeing the great deliverances by which he had saved their king, with what unshakeable certainty should we lift up our requests, now that we have seen a greater work and a greater deliverance by far? When God reached down from heaven and vindicated his Christ by raising him from the dead, our own salvation and the final victory of the Kingdom he then made sure beyond any shadow of a doubt.

    Do you fear what the world, the flesh, and the devil may do to you? Do you groan at the affliction of your persecuted brothers and sisters in those places of the world where Christ's Kingdom seems weak and tormented beyond measure? Do you look at the horses and chariots of the world, drawn up in a daunting array, and feel tempted to tremble and despair? Then remember the day when Yahweh bared his holy right arm, raised up our King from the dead, put all his enemies to shame, and made certain the promise that he will one day cast them beneath the feet of his Christ and his Church, to trample them in the dust. Then you will be able to join that great prayer of all the saints with the utmost confidence: “O Yahweh, save the King! May he answer us when we call”.

    Posted by Nathan on September 20, 2010 11:12 AM

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