“May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble;
May the name of the God of Jacob defend you;
May He send you help from the sanctuary,
And strengthen you out of Zion;
May He remember all your offerings,
And accept your burnt sacrifice. Selah
May He grant you according to your heart’s desire,
And fulfill all your purpose.”
The bible describes David as a man after God’s own heart. I am sure the meaning behind that statement is many faceted. While I do not pretend to know all that it means, I am pretty certain that it has a lot to do with the fact that David, like God, had the heart of a shepherd. When he looked at the people of God, he did so with the eyes of a shepherd. His great desire was to see them flourish and grow in the Lord. There are very few texts that express that idea in a greater way than the one before us. Here we are invited into the prayer chamber of the king, as he stands before the throne of grace, on behalf of congregation of Israel. His prayer is a beautiful expression of love for others and should serve as a model for each of us to follow.
“May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble; May the name of the God of Jacob defend you”
Life is filled with difficult and challenging times. When a person loses someone they love, has a marriage collapse, is diagnosed with a serious illness, or a host of other trying experiences, it is our hope and prayer that they would find both answers and defense, from the God who loves them. Whatever trying experience you are undergoing, I hope you will find consolation in the presence of the Lord. I hope you will hear His gentle voice speaking to your heart, as you cling to Him for answers and for strength to face another day.
“May He send you help from the sanctuary, and strengthen you out of Zion”
The sanctuary was not a fortress or a military compound. It was a place to meet with God, offer prayer, and hear from Him. David knows that in the tragedies of life, our help and strength will come from the presence of the Lord. Friends are a blessing, family is a great source of comfort, but true, lasting, even abiding strength, will be found as we frequent the sanctuary and enjoy sweet communion with Christ.
“May He remember all your offerings, and accept your burnt sacrifice.”
Sacrifices were accepted on their merit, not on the merit of the person making the offering. He or she was there, not because they were perfect, not because they had unwavering faith, or a stainless record, they were their because of sin, and the sacrifice was accepted on their behalf. Trials, which often express weakness and sin, are not designed to keep us from the Lord, but to bring the offering of confession, perhaps mingled with brokenness, and offer ourselves once again as a living sacrifice. We are accepted not because we have not sinned, but because of the spotless Lamb who was offered for us.
Perhaps there is no better way to sign off than to simply quote the final request from the king;
“May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your purpose.”
In this sweet psalm, David is actually praying for you.
Make a list of the things he is praying and take some time to pray those things.