CONTEXT: Matthew Henry’s Commentary states: It is the will of God that prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings, should be made, in special manner, for kings and all in authority. This psalm is a prayer, and the next a thanksgiving, for the king. David was a martial prince, much in war. Either this psalm was penned upon occasion of some particular expedition of his, or, in general, as a form to be used in the daily service of the church for him. In this psalm we may observe, I. What it is they beg of God for the king (v. 1-4). II. With what assurance they beg it. The people triumph (v. 5), the prince (v. 6), both together (v. 7, 8), and so he concludes with a prayer to God for audience (v. 9). In this, David may well be looked upon as a type of Christ, to whose kingdom and its interests among men the church was, in every age, a hearty well-wisher.
Yesterday’s post was about the difference between a Rock Concert or Worship? Here is another example of how some churches can twist scripture to their own liking. As you read this keep in mind our main text Ps 20:5 for today.
A few years back, we attended a Biker Sunday event about 100 miles from our house in support of our local CMA. The “warm-up” as I deemed it to the preaching was about 30 minutes of blaring contemporary “Christian rock music”. I noticed a guy over on the left front of the stage waving a banner throughout the music. Cheerleading for God was all I could think of. When the music finished this same guy went to the center of the stage while the keyboardist lightly played said a few words and we were done. Afterward, this same man (I had found he was the Pastor) how I had enjoyed the “worship” I mentioned I had never seen anyone wave a banner in church before and he quoted Psalm 20:5. Biblical context anyone?
During the time of David, the author of this psalm, banners were used for the purpose of announcing and distinguishing Armies. They were instruments of War, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners: whom did the armies of David go forth into battle with God. Whom were they to give the Glory for saving them from their enemies, God? There for raising the Banner of God high proclaiming victory. How this related to anything in the worship of OT or NT is beyond me. But let us look at some others for context:
Verse 5. “We will rejoice in thy salvation.” In Jesus there is salvation; it is his own, and hence it is called thy salvation; but it is ours to receive and ours to rejoice in. We should fixedly resolve that come what may, we will rejoice in the saving arm of the Lord Jesus. The people in this psalm, before their king went to battle, felt sure of victory, and therefore began to rejoice beforehand; how much more ought we to do this who have seen the victory completely won! Unbelief begins weeping for the funeral before the man is dead; why should not faith commence piping before the dance of victory begins? Buds are beautiful, and promises not yet fulfilled are worthy to be admired. If joy were more general among the Lord’s people, God would be more glorified among men; the happiness of the subjects is the honour of the sovereign. “And in the name of our God we will set up our banners.” We lift the standard of defiance in the face of the foe, and wave the flag of victory over the fallen adversary. Some proclaim war in the name of one king, and some of another, but the faithful go to war in Jesu’s name, the name of the incarnate God, Immanuel, God with us. The times are evil at present, but so long as Jesus lives and reigns in his church we need not furl our banners in fear, but advance them with sacred courage.
“Jesu’s tremendous name
Puts all our foes to flight;
Jesus, the meek, the angry Lamb
A lion is in fight.”
The church cannot forget that Jesus is her advocate before the throne, and therefore she sums up the desires already expressed in the short sentence, “The Lord fulfil all thy petitions.” Be it never forgotten that among those petitions is that choice one, “Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am.” – C.H. Spugeon
Verse 5 (first clause). Whosoever do partake with Christ’s subjects in trouble, shall share with them also in the joy of their deliverance; therefore it is said, “We will rejoice in thy salvation.”—David Dickson.
Verse 5. “‘We will set up our banners.” Confession of Christ, as the only name whereby we can be saved, is the “banner” which distinguishes his faithful people. O that this confession were more distinct, more pure, more zealous, in those who seem to be his followers, then would they be more united, more bold, in the profession of their religion, more successful in the cause of Christ, terrible as an army with “banners.” Canticles 5:4.—W. Wilson.