The king shall have joy in Your strength, O LORD;
And in Your salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!
This psalm is called “a psalm of David.” Which mean it was written by him, or about him, or perhaps in the Davidic style. As we see from the first verse, this psalm speaks of “the king” and the joy he has in the strength and salvation that comes from the Lord.
There are many psalms which speak of God as King, but there are also many that speak of the king of Israel — of David, and the descendants who would sit on his throne. As I pray through the psalms, which is one of my spiritual practices, whenever I read about the king, as in Psalm 21, I am always aware of three kings to whom it rightfully applies.
- First, there is David himself, whom God anointed to be king over Israel. And God made a promise that a descendent of David would reign on that throne forever. Of course, it soon became apparent that David and his heirs often fell far short of the glorious things that were ascribed to the king of Israel.
- The second king is Jesus, the Son of God who became human. In His humanity, He is a the son of David who fulfills the promise God made to David. He is the Messiah, whom God anointed to be King over Israel and the nations forever. He is the divine embodiment of everything the psalm writers were longing for.
- The third king is … me. Actually, it is all who know King Jesus and belong to Him by faith. Paul says that God has raised us up with Him and seated us with Him, and Jesus is seated on His throne at the right hand of the Father (Ephesians 1:19-22 and 2:4-6). In King Jesus we, too, are made “kings and priests” to God our Father (Revelation 1:6 and 5:10).
So it is in Psalm 21:1, “The king shall have joy in Your strength, O LORD,” I find David and Jesus and me, taking great joy in God because we have all experienced the strength of the Lord in amazing ways. “And in Your salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!” We “whirl and twirl for joy” (the word here for “rejoice” indicates to “spin”) because of the salvation God has worked on our behalf. For David and me, He worked that salvation through Jesus (Hebrew, Yeshua), whose very name means “salvation” (yeshuah). And He worked salvation for Jesus by raising Him from the dead.
You have given him his heart’s desire,God never refused the desire of David’s heart. For David delighted himself in the Lord, and the Lord gave him the desires of His heart (Psalm 37:4). Because David delighted in the Lord, his desires were God-shaped desires.
And have not withheld the request of his lips. Selah.
God also never refused the desire of Jesus’ heart. “For the Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand” (John 3:35). What was the desire of Jesus’ heart? “The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). And God heard Him, for “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself” (2 Corinthians 5:19).
And God will not refuse the desires of my heart or yours. “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). King Jesus has given us this promise: “Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13). “In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God” (John 16:26-27).
So now, as the psalm writer continues, see what God has done for David, for King Jesus, and through Him, for you and me:
For You meet him with the blessings of goodness;
You set a crown of pure gold upon his head.
He asked life from You, and You gave it to him —
Length of days forever and ever.
His glory is great in Your salvation;
Honor and majesty You have placed upon him.
For You have made him most blessed forever;
You have made him exceedingly glad with Your presence.
For the king trusts in the LORD,
And through the mercy of the Most High he shall not be moved.