Thanks for the Victories

Bible Book: Psalms  21 : 1-13
Subject: Victory; Gratitude; Blessings of God

Dr. Arthur G. Clarke (1877-?) writes, “This seems originally to have been written as a coronation hymn or national anthem, and later used as a thanksgiving for victories granted in answer to prayer. . . .The recent victory a pledge of future victories; of David see 2 Sam 8; 1 Chron 18. . .”[1] Dr. Bill Barrick explains, “Psalm 21 is the prayer of thanksgiving for the victory granted by God in answer to the prayer in Psalm 20 for the king’s victory in battle. . . . Psalm 21 is sometimes referred to as one of the ‘royal psalms’ because its subject matter involves the king of Israel and his military activities.”[2]

Here we see a truly dependent leader. Rev. Charles Simeon (1759-1836), Senior Fellow of King’s College, Cambridge, explains, “David had long been habituated to trust in the Lord. When he was yet a youth, he withstood a lion and a bear in dependence upon God [1 Sam. 17:36-37]; nor feared to encounter him, who filled all the host of Israel with terror [1 Sam. 17:45, 47]. During the persecutions of Saul he still held fast his confidence; and, under the most imminent danger and accumulated trouble, encouraged himself in God [1 Sam. 30:6]. Sometimes, indeed, his faith for a moment began to fail him [1 Sam. 27:1]; but, on the whole, he was ‘strong in faith, giving glory to God.’ Nor was he less sensible of his own insufficiency when he was king: he still made the Most High his only and continual refuge [Ps. 91:2 and 56:2-4]: and God approved himself faithful to his believing servant. There were indeed some occasions wherein David was greatly ‘moved’ [2 Sam. 15:30]; but these only served more fully to evince the power and faithfulness of his God [2 Sam. 23:5].”[3]

Dr. J. J. (John James) Stewart Perowne (1823-1904) explains, “Each Jewish monarch was but a feeble type of Israel’s true King: and all the hopes and aspirations of pious hearts, however they might have for their immediate object the then reigning monarch, whether David himself or one of David’s children still looked beyond these to Him who should be David’s Lord as well as his son.”[4]

In his book titled, The Madness of King Nebuchadnezzar: The Ancient New Eastern Origins of Early History of Interpretation of Daniel 4, Dr. Matthias H. Henze explains, “The comparison is played out in a colorful array, and a certain ‘rivalry’ between two kings is created. On the simple level, Nebuchadnezzar and David come to represent polar opposites on the scale of human virtues, with Nebuchadnezzar as a prototype of the wicked, and King David as the righteous.”[5] Daniel 4:28-37 reads, “All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. At the end of the twelve months he was walking about the royal palace of Babylon. The king spoke, saying, ‘Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?’ While the word was still in the king’s mouth, a voice fell from heaven: ‘King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you! And they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. They shall make you eat grass like oxen; and seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.’ That very hour the word was fulfilled concerning Nebuchadnezzar; he was driven from men and ate grass like oxen; his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws. And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom is from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven And among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand Or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’ At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my honor and splendor returned to me. My counselors and nobles resorted to me, I was restored to my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added to me. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down.’”

Unlike King Nebuchadnezzar, King David understood his victories came from God. This man after God’s own heart was filled with gratitude for God’s goodness and mercy. Another example of David’s gratitude is Psalm 34:2-8, 15-22, “My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; The humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, And let us exalt His name together. I sought the Lord, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant, And their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, And saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, And delivers them. Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good. . . . The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their cry. The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, To cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all. He guards all his bones; Not one of them is broken. Evil shall slay the wicked, And those who hate the righteous shall be condemned. The Lord redeems the soul of His servants, And none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.”

2 Corinthians 10:17 reads, “But ‘he who glories, let him glory in the Lord.’” Paul echoes Jeremiah 9:23-24, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,’ says the Lord.”

Allow me to point out three things from our text.

I. Note the acceptance of God’s privilege.

Psalm 21:1-7 reads, “The king shall have joy in Your strength, O Lord; And in Your salvation how greatly shall he rejoice! You have given him his heart’s desire, And have not withheld the request of his lips. Selah For You meet him with the blessings of goodness;
You set a crown of pure gold upon his head. He asked life from You, and You gave it to him—
Length of days forever and ever. His glory is great in Your salvation; Honor and majesty You have placed upon him. For You have made him most blessed forever; You have made him exceedingly glad with Your presence. For the king trusts in the Lord, And through the mercy of the Most High he shall not be moved.”

In The Pulpit Commentary, C. Short shares the following comment on Psalm 21:3 and 5, “This highest earthly honour was to represent God. He was God’s vicegerent to the nation. The Lord’s anointed, who stood on earth for God in heaven; the image of the invisible King. This ought to be the idea still of all the highest earthly offices - king, statesman, teacher.”

Romans 5:17 reads, “For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.”

Revelation 1:4-6 reads, “John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

The phrase “heart’s desire” (v. 2) records the answer to the prayer of Psalm 20:4, “May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, And fulfill all your purpose.” Psalm 37:4 reads, “Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.”

Dr. William Forsyth, shares the following thoughts on the true nature of prayer: “It is the desire of the heart (Psalms 21:2). This is frequently taught by doctrine and fact in Holy Scripture. Words are of the mouth, thoughts are of the heart. ‘Words without thoughts never to heaven go.’ It is asking of God for things agreeable to his will. While there is real ‘asking,’ there is also loving trust and acquiescence. God’s will is aye the best will.”

Dr. Forsyth further shares, “some light as to the manner in which God answers prayer:

1. By giving what is good. ‘Life.’ 2. In a higher sense than we thought of. ‘For ever.’ 3. In such a way as shall be for the greatest benefit to others as well as to ourselves. ‘Blessings’

(cf. Paul, ‘more needful for you,’ Philippians 1:24). Hence faith is confirmed. Our hopes as to the future are sustained. Our hearts are soothed amidst the disappointments and trials of life, by the assurance that all is well. We ask ‘life’ for ourselves; and God gives what he sees best. We ask ‘life’ for our friends. Some child or loved one is in peril of death. We plead for him. We entreat that he may be spared. We continue with ‘strong crying and tears’ to pray that his life, so precious and so dear, may be prolonged. But in vain. He dies. We are troubled. We mourn in bitterness of soul, as if God had forgotten to be gracious. But when we look at things aright, we find comfort. God has answered us in his own way. He knows what is best. Your little one has gone quickly to heaven. Your darling boy has been taken to a nobler field of service than earth. The ‘desire of your eyes’ has been caught up into the glory of God. There they await us. Love never faileth. The fellowship in Christ endures for ever.”[6]

Rev. Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892) is credited with the following statement: “God is too good to be unkind, too wise to be mistaken; and when you cannot trace His hand you can trust His heart.” James 1:5 reads, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” Our Father is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent.

II. Note the assurance of God’s protection.

Psalm 21:8-12 reads, “Your hand will find all Your enemies; Your right hand will find those who hate You. 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. Their offspring You shall destroy from the earth, And their descendants from among the sons of men. For they intended evil against You; They devised a plot which they are not able to perform. Therefore You will make them turn their back; You will make ready Your arrows on Your string toward their faces.”

Dr. Albert Barnes (1798-1870) writes, “The general truth that ‘all’ the foes of God would thus be overcome, and that the cause of truth would be finally triumphant, Psa 21:8-12. This was ‘suggested’ by the victory which had been achieved. As God had granted that victory, as he had so easily subdued the enemies of himself and of his people - as he had gone so far beyond the expectations and the hopes of those who had gone forth to the conflict, the idea is naturally suggested that it would be thus with all his foes, and that there would be ultimately a complete victory over them.”[7]

Rev. Charles H. Spurgeon explains, “We pity the lost for they are men, but we cannot pity them as enemies of Christ. None can escape from the wrath of the victorious King, nor is it desirable that they should.”[8]

Psalm 37:9-15 reads, “For evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on the Lord, They shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more; Indeed, you will look carefully for his place, But it shall be no more. But the meek shall inherit the earth, And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. The wicked plots against the just, And gnashes at him with his teeth. The Lord laughs at him, For He sees that his day is coming. The wicked have drawn the sword And have bent their bow, To cast down the poor and needy, To slay those who are of upright conduct. Their sword shall enter their own heart, And their bows shall be broken.”

2 Thessalonians 1:6-10 reads, “since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.”

2 Thessalonians 2:3-8 reads, “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.”

III. Note the allegiance of God’s people.

Psalm 21:13 reads, “Be exalted, O Lord, in Your own strength! We will sing and praise Your power.” The last verse of our text refers to corporate worship as in Psalm 34:3, “Oh, magnify the Lord with me, And let us exalt His name together.” However, there are to be times of personal worship. Psalm 18:46 reads, “The Lord lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let the God of my salvation be exalted.” Psalm 46:10 reads, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

In the words of William Kethe (1561) recast by Robert Grant (1833):

“Oh, worship the King, all glorious above,
Oh, gratefully sing His pow’r and His love;
Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days,
Pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise.”


Rev. Charles H. Spurgeon writes, “A holy confidence in Jehovah is the true mother of all victories.”[9] In The Pulpit Commentary, C. Short explains, “former victories show us that we can, if we will, conquer in all future conflicts.” Remember, we march from victory to victory as believers in Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57 reads, “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Corinthians 2:14 reads, “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.” There have been former victories and there will be future victories, in the words of George Duffield (1818-1888), “Till every foe is vanquished / And Christ is Lord indeed.”[10] Each time we experience an answer to prayer for deliverance, we must lift our voices and say to the Lord, “Thanks for the victories!”

[1]A. G. Clarke, Analytical Studies in the Psalms (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1979), 74-75.

[2]Bill Barrick, Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs: The Master Musician’s Melodies, Placerita Baptist Church, 2003, Accessed: 06/16/14, .

[3]Charles Simeon, Horae Homileticae, Vol. V, Psalms I-LXXII, “Trust in God Recommended,” Psalm 21:7, (London: Holdsworth and Ball, MDCCCXXXII), 124-135.

[4]J. J. Stewart Perowne, The Book of Psalms: A New Translation, Introduction and Notes Explanatory and Critical, (London: Warren F. Draper, 1876), 207.

[5]M. H. Henze, The Madness of King Nebuchadnezzar: The Ancient New Eastern Origins of Early History of Interpretation of Daniel 4, (Boston: Brill, 1999), 115.

[6]Joseph S. Exell, Spence-Jones, Henry Donald Maurice. "Commentary on Psalms 21:1". The Pulpit Commentary. " . 1897.

[7]Albert Barnes, Barnes’ Notes on the Old Testament (1834) WORDsearch Corp.

[8]Charles H. Spurgeon, The Treasury of David, Vol. 1, (London: Passmore and Alabaster, 1870), 355.

[9]Charles H. Spurgeon, The Treasury of David, Vol. 1, Psalm I To XXVI, (New York, NY: I. K. Funk & Co., 1882), 354.

[10]George Duffield (1818-1888), “Stand up! Stand up for Jesus” (1858).

By Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey, pastor First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort 30775 Jay Drive Spanish Fort, Alabama 36527

Author of Don’t Miss the Revival! Messages for Revival and Spiritual Awakening from Isaiah and

Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice [Both available on in hardcover, paperback and eBook] & / / (251) 626-6210

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