Summary: Before the Battle - Based on Psalm 20
Before the Battle - Dr. Leslie Verghese
Preparation before battle is an essential part of victory in battle. Prayers and sacrifices will not only provide strength to face the battle but also to overcome it. There can be victory in a battle, only if the King and the people work in harmony both in trust and unity of thought and action. Psalm 20 is a picture of a battle preparation by David and his soldiers. When the Ammonites and the Assyrians came with their hosts of horses and chariots, team David is preparing to face them.
Psalm 20 is written in conversational style. The first three verses are recited by the people who love the king. Fourth is recited by the high priest and fifth is proclaimed by both David and the people. The voice of the high priest is echoed in verse six. Verses seven and eight are the faith proclamation of the people. The psalms ends with the assembly together reciting verse nine.
The preparation for battle contains at least three components
1. Prayer (Verses 1,2, and 9)
2. Worship (Verses 3 and 4)
3. Shout of Victory (Verses 5 and 6)
4. Trust (Verses 7 and 8)
Prayer (Verses 1, 2 and 9)
What we need primarily before a battle is ‘prayer’. Here David is the anointed king of God (verse 6). Battle is a commission for the King. Destruction of the enemy is the mandate for a king. The enemies of David are the enemies of God. The battle that David wages is the battle of the Lord. It is God who helps and saves David in battle. However, it is the responsibility of the people to pray for David. In time of ‘trouble’, salvation is in God alone. That ‘salvation’ is the ‘deliverance’, ‘healing’ and ‘victory’. When we pray, God starts His work of salvation that encompasses answer, protection, help and strength
• Answer – Our God hears our prayers and answers in the time of trouble. It is our comfort and consolation (Psalm 34:15)
• Protection – The phrase that’s used is ‘May the God of Jacob set you securely on high’. It also means defend. It means that through the prayer of the people, God sets His anointed in a high place where the enemy cannot touch him. It is the name of the God of Jacob that ‘protects’ David. Always bear in mind that the ‘revealed character’ of God is the name of God. The ‘God of Jacob’ brings us memories of Jacob who ‘wrestled’ with God in Jabok. The people have total assurance in their prayer that the ‘God of Jacob’ who protected David throughout his life journey in the midst of adversities and weaknesses will protect David also
• Help – God is faithful to give timely help for His servant. His help comes from His throne. His throne is where He sits. It is where we have the covenant with God. He answers the prayers of His people from His throne
• Strength – Strength is essential for battle. When you have military power you can defeat the enemy. However, the strength of David is not in the military as we see in verse seven. Their strength comes from Zion. The word that is used here is ‘support’ and ‘back up’. It is from Zion that the people of God get the support and back up. Through prayer, the people of God are asking God to give answer, protection, help and strength to David.
Worship (Verses 3 and 4)
Worship should not be belittled as the emotional response of the person who received deliverance. In whatever circumstance of life we are, worship is the ‘privilege’ of the people of God. We can’t worship God looking at our circumstances. People who ‘know God’ will worship God when they are in trouble. David started worshipping God before he went to battle. That’s why the people are saying, May God receive your sacrifices and burnt offerings. They say that God will not forget them while he is in battle.
The desire of David is the victory in battle. The victory is not only for himself personally but for his kingdom. As he has put together his plans and counsel for the battle with this noble desire, the people are saying that God will grant his desires
Shouts of Victory (Verses 5 and 6)
If you pray in trouble and worship before battle, your victory is definite. The people are seeing that by faith and proclaiming it. ‘We will rejoice in your victory’. The people are saying that when David wins the battle, they will raise and banner in the name of the Lord. It is the Lord who gives the victory but they are saying that they are sure that their King will win. Not only that, they are saying that they will be proud of the victory of their king.