Psalm 21: Strength and Justice

Devotionals > Old Testament > Psalms > Psalm 21: Strength and Justice

Psalm 21: Strength and Justice

January 22, 2022


Genesis 46-47Psalm 21Matthew 9:1-13Acts 13:1-25


Psalm 21:

“The King Rejoices in the LORD’s Strength”—such is the title given to this psalm in one Bible translation. And rightly so. The first half of the psalm is all about exactly that. How the king, this King David, rejoices because he has God’s strength, because God has answered his prayers, because he has been made glad with the joy of God’s presence.

Perhaps you are looking for joy. And perhaps, like C.S. Lewis, you will be surprised to discover that the joy you are looking for is found in none other than Christ and him alone. There are many other distractions and opportunities and tantalizing pleasures on offer; but the real joy, the joy that we truly seek and long for, that is found in Christ. Would you this morning look to him to give you joy? Would you ask him to make you “glad with the joy of his presence” (21:6)?

The second half of the psalm, from verse 8, is less rejoicing and more fighting. There is language here that puts this part of the psalm in the “imprecatory” category. “You will destroy their descendants from the earth…you will aim at their faces with your bows” (21:10, 12). This hardly is the kind of thing that we can imagine singing about on a Sunday morning. And yet we are glad that there is such thing as justice.

Human justice is always imperfect, albeit that at its best, human justice is an attempted reflection of divine justice. And one day there will be perfect justice as God the judge administers it. Read this part of the psalm as a longing for such justice—though expressed in ways that are not ones that are likely to be readily taken on our lips, certainly not in a personal vengeance sense. Perhaps you feel that a great injustice has been done against you. Would you take the time this morning to commit to God that injustice, and put in his hands the right judgment?


Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.


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