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Shouts of Joy

When World War II finally ended, millions rushed into the streets to celebrate.

Maybe you’ve seen pictures of the crowds when the victory was announced.

This is the kind of scene being portrayed in Psalm 20:5. In this psalm, Israel is praying for their king’s triumph, and is looking forward to celebrating his success.

May we shout for joy over your salvation,

and in the name of our God set up our banners!

May the Lord fulfill all your petitions!

Back in the days of Israel, the king wasn’t a ceremonial figure like most monarchs today. He took an active involvement in ruling, and even led the nation’s armies into battle. If the king was blessed, the country was blessed.

Yet even the best king was nothing without the LORD’s help.

So in this psalm Israel prays that the LORD will answer, protect, and sustain him—and that God will make the king victorious. We can imagine this prayer being offered on the eve of a new military campaign, or just before a big battle, as the people petition God for his gracious favour.

And if the LORD will be good to the king, Israel will shout for joy and wave banners in triumph (v. 5). With exuberance they will rejoice that the LORD has given “salvation,” delivering the king and all his nation from the enemy’s power.

Victory means peace and security for the people, freedom from fear and the opportunity to thrive.

Yet short-lived is every earthly triumph. Shortly after World War II the next international conflict started. In the same way, it was never long before Israel’s king and his armies had to go out again. Our shouts for joy fade quickly.

This is why God told his people that they could look forward to a better king from David’s line, Jesus the Christ. In the fullness of time, He came to defeat the devil’s power and to bring peace to his church.

The battle was incredibly hard-fought. At the cross it first looked as if the King has been conquered, and that there would be no victory banner. But the Easter Sunday angels announce joy to Jesus’s disciples,

for he has risen, just as he said.

Now Christ our triumphant King is in heaven, where shouts of joy ring out continually from the multitudes: “Salvation belongs our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb” (Rev 7:10).

The glories of the risen Christ give us continual reason to rejoice. Even when we are hard-pressed by trouble, He gives us the triumph. When the spiritual battle exhausts us, we know that through Jesus our final victory is sure.

Trust in your great King for all that you do, and live in the joy of his salvation!


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