How the king rejoices in your strength, O Lord!
He shouts with joy because you give him victory.
(Psalm 21:1, NLT)
As I thought about this verse, I was coming up empty with what to write. I read it. Reread it. Read the entire Psalm. But nothing came.
Then I read it in another translation. Interestingly enough, the ESV says “in your salvation how greatly he exults!” So I investigated further. The KJV and NASB also use salvation, as do many others. And, thanks to the wonderful world of the internet, I was even able to see the hebrew word and how it was translated. Salvation. But the ESV, NIV and some of the other translations use victory. One translation even uses the word deliverance.
How curious for some of the translators to choose the word victory. But seeing both victory and salvation used interchangeably created a connection for me.
Because isn’t that what salvation is? Our victory?
We’ve come to think of salvation as being “saved.” At least I have. The plan of salvation. Jesus is my Savior. He died for my sins. So I am saved. I have salvation.
But do I think of salvation in the context of victory?
To be saved is to be set free, liberated, delivered.
To have victory is to triumph, to conquer, to win.
Both assume a battle. And the Psalmist shouts with joy because the Lord has given both salvation and victory.
The soldier stood, breathing heavily, face dripping with sweat, and probably blood as well. The battle raged on every side, filling the air with a cacophony of death. A blazing sun sank lower in the sky, pulling the day’s heat and stench with it. Surely as night fell, they would fall also. It was inevitable. They were a pitiful army. It was surprising they had lasted so long. They were weak. And ill-prepared for this mighty adversary. They held inadequate weapons; wore inadequate armor. And were sorely outnumbered. A sure victory for their enemy. While their numbers dwindled, their enemy’s kept coming. An unending river of death. Unquestionably unfair. But here they were, fighting for all they were worth. And it wasn’t much, what they were worth, because they were being crushed.
The soldier hefted a sword. It felt heavy. Too heavy. But light faded quickly and soon their would be none to see by. Another enemy soldier advanced. The soldier took a deep breath and stepped forward.
That’s when she heard it. Clear. Pure. Echoing across the surrounding hills. The long sweet call of a horn.
She paused, as did her opponent. And their eyes lifted to the hills.
There, on the ridge line, stood another army. Powerful. Mighty. Beautiful. Where did it come from? In the golden light of the setting sun it swept down the hillside and plunged into the battle.
The soldier stared, amazed, eyes wide, mouth dropping open.
They were saved.
Their enemy melted before this new challenger. She watched as they were struck down, overwhelmed, defeated. Such was the number of their deliverers, it did not take long. As sun slipped below the horizon, the last of their enemies fell.
For a moment, in the grey of dusk, the battlefield fell silent.
Then, in one voice, in one sweet, exceedingly glad and grateful voice, they cried out in a shout of victory.
Heavenly Father, You give us salvation and victory. Let us not forget. Our enemy is defeated. Let us raise shouts of joy. Let us always celebrate your mighty acts and great power.
Grace & Peace