Questions for The Book of Psalms

Calvary Christian Fellowship

Bible Study, October 2019 – May 2020

Questions (w/ some answers) for Psalm 20

1. Who is the Psalmist?

  • “To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David”

2. Who is/are the speaker(s)?

  • David, the king, speaks of himself in the third person, as he addresses his relationship with the LORD and His anointed, the promised Messiah of Israel. Or, David is telling us about the king, the Savior of the world.

3. Who is the audience?

  • Even though David does not mention the Messiah by name, the psalm describes and identifies His power, His glory and His judgment. This was the traditional Jewish view of “redemption” through strength and justice by the One who will come to rescue the nation Israel. Here, of course, we have the divide with the Christian view of repentance, mercy and grace, and the need for the universal salvation of all mankind.

    So, from the beginning (the Talmud and the
    Targum of the Chaldeans ) the Jews considered this a Messianic psalm, but later gave up that interpretation (Rabbi Solomon Isaaci, or Rashi, 1040 AC) because of Christians making it out to be about Jesus of Nazareth. To foster peace, the politically correct Christian theologians have traditionally not included Psalm 21 among the list of messianic psalms (in part because it is not quoted verbatim in the New Testament with reference to the Lord); but that it is about the Ascension of the Risen Christ goes without question. Something we don’t seem to pay enough attention to: His return to Glory and His presence there as our Great High Priest.

4. List those described in the Psalm? How are they described (adjectives used, actions given, consequences prescribed)? Examples from the Bible? Do you know people like this?

1 The king shall joy in thy strength, O LORD; and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!

  • In the words of Vernon McGee: “Although David is speaking of his personal experience, the primary interpretation refers to the Lord Jesus Christ.”
  • The king shall joy in thy strength . . . see Hebrew 12:2: “. . . who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame,” and He ascended into Heaven “and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2
  • Again, McGee points out: “He rejoices in the power and strength that have been bestowed upon Him (defeating sin and death). He has gone to heaven, and the angels and principalities have been made subject to Him. Today He is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him: Hebrews 7:25

2 Thou hast given him his heart’s desire, and hast not witholden the request of his lips. Selah.

  • Again, who can argue with McGee: “When the Lord made His final report to His Father in His High Priestly Prayer in John 17” (aka, the actual “Lord’s Prayer,” the whole chapter, not just a sample lesson in a verse): John 17 . “. . . Father the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee” (17:1). McGee continues, “This prayer, and all of the Lord’s other requests, have been and will be answered, as we see in thisi prayer. This is the prayer of ascension. He is at God’s right hand: Thou hast given him his heart’s desire. When He was here on earth, the Lord could say, ‘Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou has given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world’ (John 7:24).” This -- our hope, our prayer, too – will be answered.
  • Selah . . . meditate on that.

3 He asked life of thee, and thou gavest it him, even length of days for ever and ever.

4 His glory is great in thy salvation: honour and majesty hast thou laid upon him.

5 For thou has made him most blessed for ever: thou has made him exceeding glad with thy countenance.

  • Lest we forget, He came to give His life as ransom for you and me. He came in humility. In anguish He prayed, time and again, in the flesh. In Gethsemane (Luke 22:42) as also in Psalm 102:23-24

· And in Hebrews: Hebrews 5:7 . In fear He prayed, just like you and me. Vernon McGee leaves us with this: “ How was He answered? He died! But God raised Him from the dead. The first of the resurrected, in His glorified human body for ever and ever. He is now at God’s right hand. His glory is great in Thy salvation.

6 For the king trusteth in the LORD, and through the mercy of the most High he shall not be moved.

7 Thine hand shall find out all thine enemies: thy right hand shall find out those that hate thee.

8 Thou shalt make them as a firey oven in the time of thine anger: the LORD shall swallow them up in his wrath, and the fire shall devour them.

  • He first came as Savior. He will come as judge: thy right hand shall find out those that hate thee . There are those that know Him, and though they can’t be like Christ, the strive to be Christ like. Then there are those who know Him, but not only reject Him, but blaspheme the Holy Ghost. They are without excuse: Romans 1:20 .
  • You may not believe in Hell. But that does not really matter, does it? Thou shalt make them as a firey oven in the time of thine anger: the LORD shall swallow them up in his wrath, and the fire shall devour them.

9 Their fruit shalt thou destroy from the earth, and their seed from among the children of men.

10 For they intended evil against thee: they imagined a mischievous device, which they are not able to perform.

11 Therefore shalt thou make them turn their back, when thou shalt make ready thine arrows upon thy strings against the face of them.

12 Be thou exalted, LORD, in thine own strength: so will we sing and praise thy power.

  • Our Savior in now King in heaven, joyful in the Word, the promises, of our Father. “He is there,” writes McGee, “in unspeakable joy and waiting for His manifestation and kingly glory.” From even before He first came, the world-wide movement conspired against God and His Anointed (Psalm 2). When He was here, they subjected Him to suffering, and pain, and betrayal . . . death. In Revelation 12 we see the work of Satan and his attempts to destroy Him. Yet now, He is at the right hand of God, while we today . . . well, just look around.

    Use discretion with your pearls. Condemn not lest thou be condemned. He has made His Ascension to His throne. He will be coming to judge.

5. What do you think the speaker is feeling and how do you relate? (Done)

6. How is this Psalm quoted in the New Testament? (None)

7. What other scriptures are brought to mind through the content, and how might that enlighten or expand the subject of the Psalm. (Column notes, chain references, commentaries, etc.?). (Done)