The day of trouble will come. I’m not trying to be a pessimist here–just realistically saying that difficult days come. Sometimes we can look out on the horizon and see them headed our way–like a menacing storm. At other times they come suddenly, like an unexpected earthquake, and cause the very foundations of our lives to shake.
Psalm 20 anticipates the day of trouble. The king is going out to war–he is marching into imminent danger. The people gather to send him off and they do so with remarkable encouragement.
May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob protect you! May he send you help from the sanctuary and give you support from Zion! May he remember all your offerings and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices! Selah
May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans! May we shout for joy over your salvation, and in the name of our God set up our banners! May the LORD fulfill all your petitions! (Psalm 20:1-5, ESV)
Notice what is missing in their remarks. They never mention how great the king is. They never refer to his mighty stallions, well-built chariots and well-trained army. No! May the Lord, may the name of the God of Jacob, may he…If the king returns victorious, clearly the Lord will have done it.
The king responds in verse 6.
Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with the saving might of his right hand. (Psalm 20:6, ESV)
The tiny word now suggests that something happened when the people spoke. The king now knew something he didn’t know before. In a 2016 article in the Atlantic, Julie Beck writes about inner speech. “We can produce it much faster when we don’t have to go at the pace required to use tongues and lips and voice boxes. One researcher clocks inner speech at an average pace of 4,000 words per minute—10 times faster than verbal speech. And it’s often more condensed—we don’t have to use full sentences to talk to ourselves, because we know what we mean.” We aren’t privy to what the king may have been saying to himself before the people showed up with their prayer of verses 1-6, but one thing we do know…he knows something different now.
Now I know.
Who is interrupting your self talk, speaking truth, praying grace, confronting lies that you tell yourself?
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright. (Psalm 20:7-8, ESV)
How important is godly interruption! How easily the king could have trusted in his own skill, his mighty army, his horses and chariots!
Now I know.
If no one is speaking truth to you, repent. Find a godly truth-teller. Ask someone to interrupt the self-deceiving inner speech that either makes you a victor in a battle you’re doomed to lose, or a loser in a battle you’re bound to win–all because you are trusting in yourself and not God. Get back to your Life Group, reach out to your accountability partner. Repent.