Summary: Often Christians their most difficult moments when they choose to trust God in difficult times and then He seems not to answer. David, and Jesus experienced this and we can learn from their reactions.
Psalm 21 is a royal psalm that celebrates the king’s victory and looks forward to future victories over the enemies of Israel. It’s a psalm that gives us comfort as we entrust our future to Him. This is likely connected to Psalm 20 where David cried out for just such a victory.
In the same way we find joy in God’s strong victory for us over sin. It’s not just a small amount of joy either but great rejoicing. Sometimes we take it for granted that those of us who have relationship with God through Jesus will never die!
Here David rejoices that when he spoke, God listened and answered.
3 – 4
I love the imagery of verse 3: that God would come to David with “rich blessings.” The crown on his head represents his kingly authority. Often kings were killed and that’s how succession planning happened in ancient days. So for a king to keep on living was a real blessing.
I find this interesting though in light of the ultimate fulfillment.
Revelation 1:5-6 To Him who loves us and has set us free from our sins by His blood, 6 and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and dominion forever and ever.
We will rule this earth with Jesus, who will place crowns on our head, including a “crown of righteousness” (2 Timothy 4:8).
Your life too will never ever end.
5 – 7
Though it is the Lord’s victory, David shares in the glory. And even though “it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13), we get to share in it, to bask in God’s glory.
I love verse 6: “You cheer him with joy in Your presence.” If you’re bummed out today, spend some time in God’s presence worshipping Him and experience that sweet joy.
Why is this possible? Because we, like David do not rely on ourselves but on the covenant “faithful” love of the Lord. We too will “not be shaken.”
8 – 12
Verses 8 and following are the congregational response to the king. God’s victory over our enemies will be total and complete. And though the enemy means harm to us, it will not prevail (vs 11).
Then finally there is this wonderful praise at the end for the Lord to be exalted, not the king!
Psalm 22 is one of the strongest Messianic psalms we have. If you remember, the Psalms contain more references to the Messiah than any other book, and this particular psalm is particularly strong, especially when it comes to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
1 – 2
These are the words that Jesus spoke (Matthew 27:46) from the cross at the very moment when the Father turned His back on the Son and laid upon Him the “iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6). For the writer, David is feeling forsaken by God though he has cried out day and night. This is among the worst feelings a Christian can have—thinking that God is not answering our most urgent cries.
3 – 5
David recognizes that even though God has not answered, He is still good and holy. I love the last part of verse 3: “enthroned on the praises of Israel.” God is so faithful and can be trusted so much that His people are constantly praising Him. It’s always a good idea to remind ourselves of what God has done for others and for us when we face a current bad situation.
6 – 8
This also can refer to the Messiah. (Mark 15:29-32) Those who passed by were yelling insults at Him, shaking their heads, and saying, "Ha! The One who would demolish the sanctuary and build it in three days, 30 save Yourself by coming down from the cross!" 31 In the same way, the chief priests with the scribes were mocking Him to one another and saying, "He saved others; He cannot save Himself! 32 Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross, so that we may see and believe." Even those who were crucified with Him were taunting Him.
David is feeling scorn and derision from those around him. Sometimes when we experience pain and trouble we feel that same thing. People say “You’re a Christian, right? So why are you suffering?” They don’t realize that serving Christ guarantees suffering (“In the world you will have tribulation but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
9 – 10
David is feeling abandoned, yet he recites that he’s belonged to God from a very early age. It reminds me of Peter, when Jesus asked His men if they were going to abandon Him. He said: “where will we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68). David, and us, have thrown out lot in with the Lord so if He fails us, we are utterly without hope. Yet He won’t fail.