May 12 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

May 12.—Morning. [Or September 20.]
“The Lord hear thee in the day of trouble.”

WHEN David was settled upon his throne, his people were accustomed lovingly to pray for him. We find one of their prayer-hymns in the book of Psalms; it is known as

Psalm 20

We shall, as we read it, see Jesus in it, and turn it to spiritual account.

The Lord hear thee in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob defend thee;

Send thee help from the sanctuary, and strengthen thee out of Zion; (Out of heaven’s sanctuary came the angel to strengthen our Lord, and from the precious remembrance of God’s doings in his sanctuary our Lord refreshed himself when on the tree. There is no help like that which is of God’s sending, and no deliverance like that which comes out of his sanctuary. The sanctuary to us is the person of our blessed Lord, who was typified by the temple, and is the true sanctuary which God has pitched, and not man: let us fly to the Cross for shelter in all times of need, and help will be sent to us. Men of the world despise sanctuary help, but our hearts have learned to prize it beyond all material aid. They seek help out of the armoury, or the treasury; but we turn to the sanctuary.) “And strengthen thee out of Zion.” (To the Lord’s mystical body the richest good comes in answer to the pleadings of his saints. This verse is a benediction befitting a Sabbath morning, and may be the salutation either of a pastor to his people, or of a Church to its minister. God in the sanctuary of his dear Son’s person, and in the city of his chosen Church, is the proper object of his people’s prayers, and under such a character they may confidently look to him for promised aid.)

Remember all thy offerings, and accept thy burnt sacrifice; Selah. (Before war, kings offered sacrifice, upon the acceptance of which they depended for success. Our blessed Lord presented himself as a victim, and was a sweet savour unto the Most High, and then he met and routed the embattled legions of hell. Still does his burnt sacrifice perfume the courts of heaven, and through him the offerings of his people are received as his sacrifices and oblations. We ought in our spiritual conflicts never to march forth to war until first the Lord has given us a token for good at that altar where faith beholds her bleeding Lord.)

Grant thee according to thine own heart, and fulfil all thy counsel.

We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners: the Lord fulfil all thy petitions.

Now know I that the Lord saveth his anointed; he will hear him from his holy heaven with the saving strength of his right hand.

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God. (Chariots and horses make such an imposing show, that vain man is much taken with them; yet the discerning eye of faith sees more in an invisible God than in all these. The most dreaded war-engine of David’s day was the war-chariot, armed with scythes, which mowed down men like grass: this was the boast and glory of the neighbouring nations; but the saints considered the name of Jehovah to be a far better defence. As the Israelites might not keep horses, it was most natural for them to regard the enemy’s cavalry with more than usual dread. It is, therefore, all the greater evidence of faith that the bold songster can here disdain even the horse of Egypt in comparison with the Lord of Hosts. Alas, how many in our day who profess to be the Lord’s, are as abjectly dependent upon their fellow-men, or upon an arm of flesh in some shape or other, as if they had never known the name of Jehovah at all!)

They are brought down and fallen: but we are risen, and stand upright.

The enemies of God are uppermost at first, but before long they are brought down by force, or else fall of their own accord. Their foundation is rotten, and therefore when the time comes it gives way under them; their chariots are burned in the fire, and their horses die of pestilence, and where is their boasted strength? As for those who rest on Jehovah, they are often cast down at the first onset, but an Almighty arm uplifts them, and they joyfully stand upright. The victory of Jesus is the inheritance of his people. The world, death, Satan, and sin, shall all be trampled beneath the feet of the champions of faith; while those who rely upon an arm of flesh shall be ashamed and confounded for ever.

Save, Lord: let the king hear us when we call.

May 12.—Evening. [Or September 21.]
“His glory is great in thy salvation.”

IN another Psalm we find King David exulting in the mercy of the Lord his God.

Psalm 21

This has been called the Royal Triumphal Ode. If we can see Jesus the king sweetly prominent in it, we shall be greatly profited.

The king shall joy in thy strength, O Lord; and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!

Thou hast given him his heart’s desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips. Selah. (Souls are saved by Jesus, his people are enriched with all spiritual blessings in him, and this makes him greatly rejoice.)

For thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness: (The word prevent formerly signified to precede or go before, and assuredly Jehovah preceded his Son with blessings. Before he died, saints were saved by the anticipated merit of his death. The Father is so willing to give blessings through his Son, that instead of his being constrained to bestow his grace, he outstrips the Mediatorial march of mercy. “I say not that I will pray the Father for you: for the Father himself loveth you.”)

Thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head. (Jesus wore the thorn-crown, but now wears the glory-crown. It is a “crown” indicating royal nature, imperial power, deserved honour, glorious conquest, and divine government. The crown is of the richest, rarest, most resplendent, and most lasting order—“gold,” and that gold of the most refined and valuable sort, “pure gold,” to indicate the excellence of his dominion. This crown is set upon his head most firmly, so that no power can move it, for Jehovah himself has set it upon his brow.)

He asked life of thee, and thou gavest it him, even length of days for ever and ever.

His glory is great in thy salvation: honour and majesty hast thou laid upon him.

For thou hast made him most blessed for ever: thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance.

For the king trusteth in the Lord, and through the mercy of the most High he shall not be moved.

Thine hand shall find out all thine enemies: thy right hand shall find out those that hate thee. (None shall escape from the Great King when he comes in wrath. Be it ours at once to accept his love.)

9, 10, 11, 12 Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of thine anger: the Lord shall swallow them up in his wrath, and the fire shall devour them. Their fruit shalt thou destroy from the earth, and their seed from among the children of men. For they intended evil against thee: they imagined a mischievous device, which they are not able to perform. Therefore shalt thou make them turn their back, when thou shalt make ready thine arrows upon thy strings against the face of them.

Vain will be all opposition to Jesus, and terrible the overthrow of his enemies. God forbid that we should be among them.

13 Be thou exalted, Lord, in thine own strength: so will we sing and praise thy power.

The whole Psalm is meant to show forth the praises of the Lord Jesus. Isaac Ambrose upon this subject writes:—“I remember a dying woman who heard some discourse of Jesus Christ; ‘Oh,’ said she, ‘speak more of this—let me hear more of this—be not weary of telling his praise; I long to see him, and therefore I love to hear of him!’ Surely I cannot say too much of Jesus Christ. On this blessed subject no man can possibly exaggerate. Had I the tongues of men and angels, I could never fully set forth Christ. It involves an eternal contradiction, that the creature can see to the bottom of the Creator. Suppose all the sands on the sea-shore, all the flowers, herbs, leaves, twigs of trees in woods and forests, all the stars of heaven, were all rational creatures; and that they had wisdom, and tongues of angels to speak of the loveliness, beauty, glory, and excellency of Christ, as gone to heaven, and sitting at the right-hand of his Father, they would, in all their expressions, stay millions of miles on this side of Jesus Christ. Oh, the loveliness, beauty, and glory of his countenance! Can I speak, or you hear of such a Christ? And are we not all in a burning love, in a seraphical love, or at least a conjugal love? O my heart, how is it thou art not love-sick? How is it thou dost not charge the daughters of Jerusalem as the spouse did? I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my beloved, that ye shall tell him, that I am sick of love.”[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 277–278). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

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