Thursday, June 15, 2017

A Prayer for Jesus

June 15, 2017

The Scriptures repeatedly remind us of the importance of reflection. It is too easy to allow ourselves to simply move through life without ever examining why we're here or what it all means. The Bible word for it is 'meditation.' In Joshua 1:8, we are told that if we want to be successful in life, we need to meditate on the Word of God day and night. So it is that this morning in our men's prayer group, Harry opened with Psalm 20.

I've read this Psalm countless times before, but this morning as we were praying, I stopped long enough to actually let it speak to me. It was written as a song to be sung in worship, and begins with the notation, "To the Chief Musician." The identity of this person is lost in the mists of time, but as is often the case, the meaning of this Psalm is deeper than we at first see. Ultimately, the Chief Musician is not the man who led the choir in the temple; it is none other than Jesus Christ himself. This is the only way the psalm makes any sense. 

This is a song that pleads with God the Father for Jesus, his Son. It begins asking that the LORD will answer Jesus in his day of trouble, and defend him. Jesus prayed in the garden that this cup would pass from him, but if not, that God's will would be done. Verse two pleads for help from the sanctuary, ie. from heaven itself, which in fact, was given. It goes on to ask that the Father remember the sacrifices of this Chief Musician, that his heart's desire be given, his purposes fulfilled.

Finally, in the fifth verse comes our rejoicing in the Chief Musician's salvation, and the full confidence that the LORD saves "his anointed," an appellation given almost exclusively to Jesus. Because of all God has done for Jesus, we can be confident in his plans for us. The psalm ends declaring that "we have risen and stand upright." This is not merely wishful thinking; it is a theological and spiritual fact. St. Paul tells us that we have been raised with Christ, and we stand firm against the trickery of the devil (Ephesians 2:1, 5-6, and 6:11 & 13). 

So we can sing this song in retrospect, knowing that its longing was answered 2,000 years ago when Jesus cried out in prayer to his Father, who answered decisively when he raised him from death and seated him above all authorities and powers, at the right hand of the Father by "the saving strength of his right hand." And because all this is true, the final words of this Psalm are also true: The King will "answer us when we call."

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