Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. – Ps. 20:7 NIV
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Today’s scripture is the psalm of King David and can be summarised as prayer and advise for anyone who hopes to overcome distress. The particular individual in reference, of both intentions is not made clear in the psalm, but the relevance of both intentions to the Christian today cannot be over emphasised. King David anticipated a day of distress, which will definitely come to a human being because, it is not possible for man to live without experiencing a period of distress, no matter the circumstances of birth. Distress will definitely come to the human being and although, King David used the phrase “day of distress”, it is more appropriate to use the word “period” or “season” of distress. This is because when distress comes, it usually will last for more than a day. Even when it is for hours, it will usually feel like it lasted for days or months.
Distress is usually associated with events that cause extreme anxiety, sorrow and pain. Anxiety, because there is the urgency for the event to end so as to relieve the accompanying pain, whilst lack of solution continually produce sorrow. For the Christian, it is usually a time of increased devotion to worship, and other similar activities, that is believed will attract the mercy required for that situation, from the Lord.
David starts the psalm by praying that God will indeed hear those prayers and supplications during those periods of distress. He prays that, during such times, God will send help and support from His sanctuary – Ps. 20:1-2. It is very important for the Christian to remember where David is requesting for this help to come from. The Christian must be conscious of the source of the help, and learn to show gratitude to the one who is seated at that source, rather than the messenger that brought the help and support. At this juncture, David pre-conditions the availability of the help and support on the following assumptions and does a comparison with some other solutions.
1. David assumes that the Christian who is asking for the help and support of the Lord in the day of distress has made sacrifices in the name of the Lord which enhanced divine objectives, so he requests that God should remember the sacrifice of the person in distress – Ps. 20:3. In such situations, the Christian would have taken some actions that favours divine objectives without any obvious advantage to him her. It is comparable to losing something by fire, all in the name of the Lord as nothing remains except ashes. At this point, the Christian that plans to benefit from this prayer of David will need to do a self assessment and be able to have one or more sacrifices that he or she has made in the name of the Lord. This is where most Christians fail because, most times they do not really have any sacrifice to reference. For such a Christian, this Psalm will be a wrong psalm to use as a point of contact, to ask God for positive intervention in a distressed situation. There is nothing on record for God to remember as a sacrifice made by the supplicant in the name of the Lord. You need not wait until the time of distress before making sacrifices that can bail you out of distress situation. The Bible says the Christian should remember the Lord before the evil days arrive – Eccl. 12:1. That is when this Psalm can be used as a point of asking the Lord to grant you your heart’s desire in those times of distress and provide help to fulfil all those plans that seem unachievable and thus, are creating anxiety, sorrow and pain. You may be in distress at the moment and it seems God is not responding to your supplications. The way out for you may be to begin to sacrifice your time, skill and similar capabilities, in a selfless manner to the Lord. It is obvious that, that may just be your key to victory. May that be your solution in Jesus name. Amen.
2. King David however, recognizes that some people in such times create alternative ways of getting out of their distress by trusting in chariots and horses (Ps. 20:7) predicting that they will be brought to their knees and fall – Ps. 20:8a. This again is David speaking symbolically to the Christian. To trust in chariots and horses is to rely on human alternatives and weapons of war. Most Christians are actually at the place of prayer but are not trusting in the Lord. Instead, their trust is on men and by this, King David says, they will stumble and fall. Some in the time of their distress actually leave the place of prayer to seek human solutions, that they believe will get them out of that distress. Both are options that are similar to trusting in chariots and horses. To trust in the Lord is to wait on Him to provide His solution which obviously will come through man, except that, that man will be a God sent help from His sanctuary. Any solution outside the plan of God, being suggested or applied during the time of distress will be classified as chariots and horses. It will always lead to stumbling and falling. To trust in the Lord is to wait on Him believing that the approaching danger will not arrive before His help. To one who trusts in the Lord, God is never late. David says, such a one will rise from such distress and stand firm – Ps. 20:8b.
To the Christian who either is yet to experience distress or to one already going through it, David advises that victory over that situation will come if you have credits built through your sacrifices to Him in the course of worship and learning to trust Him that He too will recompense you with victory over that distressing situation. The Almighty God does not owe anyone anything. Learn to sacrifice for Him in your worship and trust Him in all your ways and He will definitely straighten your path – Prov. 3:5.
May God endow us all with the right Spirit to offer selfless sacrifice to Him and subsequently learn to trust Him to provide help for us in our time of distress in Jesus name. Amen.