In just a couple short months from now I am going to be sending my daughter off to college. I am both excited and apprehensive. I know that she will have her good days and she will have her bad days. I know that some days she will feel tlike she has everything under control, but then there will be other days when she will feel like everything in life is spinning helplessly out of control.
I have often wondered how I send her off. What will be the words that I will choose to send her off to college so that she is excited and also prepared for when the difficult days come. I think that I have found the perfect words to send her off with and they are found in Psalm 20.
In this Psalm, the first five verses are written in such a way that you envision what the people would say to a king and his army as they go off to battle. In the last four verses you hear how the king would respond as they walk out of the city gates. In both cases, it is easy to see that it is the LORD that the people are looking to for strength, success and victory.
Verse one begins with these words, "May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob protect you!" No one in this nation has unrealistic expectations - the day of trouble will come." Most likely, this will not be a journey that will end without a war and a battle having been fought. The miracle sought is not that this will not occur but that they would have victory through it. Though let it not be said, or even hinted at, that their trust is in their horses and chariots. because these people trust in the name of the LORD their God (v. 7). Many prayers have already been prayed and many offerings have already been offered (vv. 3-4), and these prayers will not cease as they pass through the gates on their way out to war. They will seek the LORD in this process. They will trust Him in al things that may come.
As a result of this the Lord has already begun to work within them (v.4). We see that the Lord has worked deeply in their hearts directing their desires. And we also see that the Lord will help them in all their planning (v.4). Through all of this their hope has remained in the LORD as they continually lift up their petitions to Him (v.5). All of this has given them such a tremendous boldness and courage as they pass through the gates of the city, "Now I know that the Lord saves His annointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven with the saving might of His right hand." (v.6)
There appears to be only two kingdoms advancing against one another. But this psalm reminds us that there were more than that. Because the people had sought the Lord, He is going out with them. Consider the following words:
"May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob protect you!" (v.1)
"May He send you help from the sanctuary and give you support from Zion!" (v.2)
"May the Lord fulfill all your petitions!" (v.5)
"Now I know that the LORD saves His annointed; He will answer Him from His holy heaven with the saving might of His right hand." (v.6)
"O Lord, save the king! May he answer us when we call." (v.9)
Yes, this psalm is very appropriate to send my daughter off with. Together, on that day, may we both affirm and ackowledge that the Lord will be with her on this journey. Therefore, we can say with the psalmist, "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!" (v.5)