Read | Psalm 20
May the Lord answer you when you are in distress;
may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
May he send you help from the sanctuary
and grant you support from Zion.
May he remember all your sacrifices
and accept your burnt offerings.
May he give you the desire of your heart
and make all your plans succeed.
May we shout for joy over your victory
and lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the Lord grant all your requests.
Now this I know:
The Lord gives victory to his anointed.
He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary
with the victorious power of his right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
They are brought to their knees and fall,
but we rise up and stand firm.
Lord, give victory to the king!
Answer us when we call!
Respond | Ian Graham
Now I know that the Lord will help his anointed; he will answer from his holy heaven with mighty victories by his right hand. Some take pride in chariots, and some in horses, but our pride is in the name of the Lord our God. They will collapse and fall, but we shall rise and stand upright. (Psalm 20vv6-8)
The people of Israel were a people who never washed the from the shore of the Red Sea off their feet. Everywhere they went that story followed them, defined them. On that day, outside of Egypt, the question of victory had nothing to do with the inventory of their weaponry or their strategic acumen. In fact, on that day they stood helplessly with their backs against the sea, waiting to be slaughtered by the Egyptians. But the Lord, “answered in the day of trouble.” He split the seas, he made a way. The people, in Psalm 20, sing the past into the present and the future because they know that the question of victory is not what’s in their hands but whose hands they are in. Over the long arc of the history of Israel, we are not simply receiving information about what happened to a certain people long ago. Rather, we are being formed as a people of promise witnessing what happens when we recognize that the story was never about us to begin with. The story is about God, God dwelling near, God promising, God saving, God sustaining. God is not undertaking a project, he is forming a people.