Psalm 21 (ESV)
The King Rejoices in the LORD’s Strength
Jesus is God’s king, as Revelation 19:16 makes clear — KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. So this psalm can be read as about Jesus.
1O LORD, in your strength the king rejoices,
and in your salvation how greatly he exults!
2You have given him his heart’s desire
and have not withheld the request of his lips.
Verse 2 is talking about prayer. We remember how Jesus prayed. Up early and out away from the crowds, he spent long hours with the Father. At Gethsemane, knowing the time has come for him to be arrested and killed, he prays. Even on the cross, he cries out for forgiveness for those who are crucifying him, for salvation for one who is beside him.
Hebrews 5:7 (NIV)
During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.
3For you meet him with rich blessings;
you set a crown of fine gold upon his head.
4He asked life of you; you gave it to him,
length of days forever and ever.
5His glory is great through your salvation;
splendor and majesty you bestow on him.
6For you make him most blessed forever;
you make him glad with the joy of your presence.
“Now may He that bore the crown of thorns bring us to his bliss.”
–from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, a fourteenth century Arthurian romance
Hebrews 12:1-2 (NIV)
And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
7For the king trusts in the LORD,
and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved.
8Your hand will find out all your enemies;
your right hand will find out those who hate you.
9You will make them as a blazing oven
when you appear.
The LORD will swallow them up in his wrath,
and fire will consume them.
10You will destroy their descendants from the earth,
and their offspring from among the children of man.
11Though they plan evil against you,
though they devise mischief, they will not succeed.
12For you will put them to flight;
you will aim at their faces with your bows.
13Be exalted, O LORD, in your strength!
We will sing and praise your power.
HERE is “In your strength, the king will rejoice,” a musical presentation of Psalm 21. Composer Karl Kohlhase is a contempoary Christian musician and this song has a distinctly Hebraic flair.
And if you like organ music, HERE is a beautiful improvisation from Jacob van der Perk (born 1947) based on Psalm 21. Once when asked what the purpose of music is, he replied, “Music must be made to God’s honor. That is my goal. By the way, the whole Bible speaks like that. They praised God and that was accompanied by music.”
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.