How easy to misplace our trust!
Every day we’re looking for a sense of security, the assurance that we’ll be OK. So we trust in whatever seems to be most reliable. Perhaps that’s our intellect and strength, our money, our friends, government and scientists, or something else. Often we’ll trust the things that we can see, we’ll trust in whatever has impressed us or whatever has seemed to help us before.
When God’s people went to war, they also needed somewhere to put their trust. What would guarantee the success of the Israelites? How would David their king triumph?
Naturally, they could’ve copied their enemies: “Some trust in chariots and some in horses” (v. 7). These were the premium weapons of war, the most powerful armaments available in that time—like the battle tanks and attack helicopters of today. It’s hard not to be impressed by a mighty warhorse pulling a swift and deadly chariot into battle!
But the LORD did not allow his kings to acquire large numbers of horses (Deut 17:16). This was because the strength of a king was to be found in God Almighty. Everyone had to know that any victory would come from the LORD alone.
As Israel prays Psalm 20 before a battle, they acknowledge that those who trust in the speed or power of human armies are always going to be disappointed. These cannot stand against the LORD.
It’s an important truth for today: a material object like money or medicine, a human ability like science or collaboration, even an international collection of allies—these are nothing before the living God. In distinction from their enemies, Israel is glad to confess: "But we trust in the name of the LORD our God" (v. 7).
Psalm 20 is a prayer of faith, filled with expectation. Still, both David and Israel yielded to that temptation to trust in what they could see. Our trust too is flawed, and our faith is always weak.
When Jesus came to earth, however, he lived with perfect confidence in his Father. He could have relied on the protection of myriads of angels or he could have used the sword to advance his kingdom. But Jesus chose the way of quiet faith in God. He yielded to God his Father and trusted him, even to his final moments on the cross.
Now Jesus shows how trustworthy God is. As our king he will not fail his people or abandon us in any circumstance. He is faithful! As Jesus says, “Believe in God; believe also in me” (John 14:1).
Let us learn to trust in him more, and learn to give up every earthly confidence.