An Invitation to Trust the Right Hand of God–Psalm 20 for Proper 6B

Psalm 20

This psalm developed as the result of David’s many experiences with the strength and faithfulness of God’s right hand. It is a beautiful prayer of reflection on God’s reliability, trustworthiness, and power. David had learned to put his trust in “the name of the Lord our God” in the midst of difficult times in his life. This reliance was something he no doubt learned early in his life as a shepherd, discovering the presence of God while out in lonely and dangerous places with the sheep. Then came along the anointing by Samuel to be the king, providing the test of trust with taking on tremendous responsibility at such a young age. He was obviously developing in his awareness of God’s faithfulness by the time he met up with Goliath. The five smooth stones he launched came from a trust in the heart of God rather than the experience of his own biceps. We also remember the trying time he had with Saul, the problems he had with the insurrection of Absalom, the battles he fought against great armies, and the battles he fought within himself. Through all of this, he truly found that those who trust in God “will arise and stand upright.” Those who placed their trust in chariots and horses would fail. David had not only observed this, he had experienced it in his own life.

The psalm is not only a testament to God’s reliability, it is also an invitation to those who heard it to experience it for themselves, especially when in a “day of trouble” (verse 1) and in need of God’s defense. In the midst of their difficulties, they could know that God would provide an answer out of his “holy heaven, with the victorious strength of his right hand.” One can just imagine how this psalm encouraged and strengthened those who heard it originally as well as those who have heard it ever since. It provides a connection to the 1 Samuel text, a great introduction to Prayers of the People, or a manageable portion for preaching.

How will you use it this Sunday?

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