There is a close link between this Psalm and the preceding one. There we heard the people praying for victory for David as the king as he went off to war. Here the prayer has been answered, and these same individuals rehearse the victory with the Lord.
Adonai (Lord), the king finds joy in your strength; what great joy he displays in your victory! You give him his heart’s desire; you don’t refuse the prayer from his lips. (Selah)
For you come to meet him with the best blessings, you place a crown of fine gold on his head. (Psalm 21:1-4 CJB)
The first six verses contain David’s celebration for past victories given by God on the battlefield. David praised the Lord first for the spiritual strength he gave which led to victories. These victories, to be sure, were in direct response to the petitions David had made of God.
Accordingly, God welcomed him back from battle with the best blessings that accompanied the victor. Perhaps this was a reference to spoils gathered from defeated enemies. Most notably, David returned to exchange his warrior’s helmet for the visible emblem of victory – a crown of fine gold, possibly the crown that had belonged to the defeated king.
He asks you for life; you give it to him, years and years forever and ever.
Your victory brings him great glory; you confer on him splendor and honor. For you bestow on him everlasting blessings, you make him glad with the joy of your presence. (Psalm 21:5-7 CJB)
The king had prayed for life, in essence requesting that his life is spared in battle. This prayer was answered since God gave it to him. These military victories enhanced David’s glory, …splendor, and honor as Israel’s king. God had given him prominence.
Likewise, this regal honor would lead ultimately to the eternal blessings of God’s reward in heaven forever. But presently, David had been made glad about the joy of experiencing intimate fellowship with God in his holy presence. Like all difficulties that believers face, these battles drew David closer to God.
For the king puts his trust in Adonai, in the grace of ‘Elyon; he will not be moved. (Psalm 21:8 CJB)
Here is the underlying reason for David’s great military victories – the king puts his trust in Adonai (LORD). Because he relied upon the unfailing love of God, he was granted success on the battlefield. Thus, he would not be moved when attacked by the enemy but would stand immovable and secure.
Your hand will find all your enemies; your right hand will overtake those who hate you. At your appearing, you will make them like a fiery furnace. Adonai will swallow them up in his anger; fire will consume them. You will destroy from the earth their descendants, rid humankind of their posterity; for they intended evil against you; but despite their scheme, they won’t succeed. For you will make them turn their back by aiming your bow at their faces. (Psalm 21:9-13 CJB)
As David and the people looked to the future, they rejoiced that more victories were certain to follow as they continued to rely on God. They believed that the Lord would find all their enemies and overtake those who hated them.
In the day of battle, God would make them like a fiery furnace, swallowing them up in his anger. So complete would be his victory that their posterity would be utterly destroyed from the earth. David’s enemies might plot evil against him, but they would not succeed. These enemies would be forced to turn their backs in retreat and run away in the day of battle. Victory belongs to the Lord.
Arise, Adonai (LORD), in your strength; and we will sing and praise your power. (Psalm 21:14 CJB)
In this final appeal, David entreated the Lord to assert his irresistible strength again to defeat his enemies. David and the people would sing and praise God, who was full of power to win all other conflicts.
In the battles of life, three great enemies attack believers regularly:
- The world
- The flesh
- The devil.
Spiritual warfare, like hand-to-hand combat, is hard because behind these three evils are forces that seek to destroy believers (Eph. 6:12). It is critical that believers live with unshakable confidence in the Lord. “But thanks be to God, who in the Messiah constantly leads us in a triumphal procession” (2 Cor. 2:14). God promises victory wherever we go as we trust and follow him. As God has proven himself victorious in the past, he will grant similar spiritual victories in the present as his people rely on him.
Holman Old Testament Commentary