By Vanessa Fletcher
Lectionary reading for 4/5/2022: Psalm 20; Judges 9:7-15; 1 John 2:18-28
Selected passage for reflection: Psalm 20
Psalm 20 NRSV
Prayer for Victory. To the leader. A Psalm of David.
1 The Lord answer you in the day of trouble!
The name of the God of Jacob protect you!
2 May he send you help from the sanctuary,
and give you support from Zion.
3 May he remember all your offerings,
and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices.Selah
4 May he grant you your heart’s desire,
and fulfill all your plans.
5 May we shout for joy over your victory,
and in the name of our God set up our banners.
May the Lord fulfill all your petitions.
6 Now I know that the Lord will help his anointed;
he will answer him from his holy heaven
with mighty victories by his right hand.
7 Some take pride in chariots, and some in horses,
but our pride is in the name of the Lord our God.
8 They will collapse and fall,
but we shall rise and stand upright.
9 Give victory to the king, O Lord;
answer us when we call.[a]
When I was a cheerleader in middle school (Go Lions!), we had a cheer that began:
“Victory is sweet unlike the agony of defeat…”
What a colorful vocabulary for a group of 11-13 year old girls I imagine without understanding the meaning haha! It is amazing what we can remember from adolescent years. This cheer was brought to mind as I reflected on today's scripture passage in the Book of Psalms, chapter 20.
You see, as Christians we live on this side of the sweetest victory. We get to celebrate on Easter Sunday that Jesus, the King of the world bore our sin, died on the cross and rose again so that we may have an everlasting life and relationship with Him. While we know and believe in this victory, this world is still filled with agony and defeat. It is so easy to get swallowed up in the distress of our own lives and the world.
Yet as I was considering the connection between this cheer and this passage, I was reminded how there is no agony in defeat BECAUSE of Jesus.
Through Christ's victory, we are also victorious!
This passage affirms this. Verse 6a proclaims: "The Lord gives victory to His anointed." Then it goes on in verse 8b that "We rise up and stand firm!"
To be a victorious person is to be:
Sometimes it is easier to believe this victory for someone else. We think in our worldly lens of people having it “more together” or being a “better Christian.” For me, I can be more inclined to think of others as victorious and believe in and pray for victory over someone else's situation. It is more natural for me to live in the mindset of defeat than to view myself as victorious.
Let me encourage you and me in this Lenten season to personalize this passage, child of God! Write it out, type it up, put it on your mirror. Insert your name in the blanks.
Proclaim the victory over your season and situation at Jesus' feet.
"May the Lord answer ________ when ________ is in distress;
may the name of the God of Jacob protect _____.
May he send ________ help from the sanctuary
and grant _______ support from Zion.
May he remember all _______'s sacrifices
and accept _____’s burnt offerings.
May he give _______ the desire of their heart
and make all ______’s plans succeed.
May ______ shout for joy over _____’s victory
and lift up ______’s banners in the name of our God.
May the Lord grant all of ______'s requests."
Psalm 20:1-6, New International Version
I love how The Message version translates the end of verse 6: "....everything’s going to work out." Perhaps, we each need a taste of this assurance in this Lenten season.
To proclaim this victory over our lives, our families, our jobs, our cities, our world.
Rest in this, nothing that has been, is present or will be is too tough or far gone for Jesus to reign victory over. John 16:33 proclaims: "In this world you will have trouble, but take heart for I have overcome the world."
Rise up, stand firm, Daughter or Son of the King.
Jesus is our victor and you're His child deeming you victorious too!
If you have the time, listen to Champion by Maverick City Music & Upper Room. May you feel the victory of Jesus wash over you in song and worship.
About the Author
Vanessa Fletcher seeks to radiate the light and love of Christ as a hospital chaplain in Georgia. She is an ordained minister through the Federation of Christian Ministries. Vanessa is married to her adventure partner, Hayden and has a spunky German Shepherd/Husky named Callie. She loves to spend time in nature and enjoys a good cup of espresso. Follow along her chaplain journey at @chaplainess on Instagram!