Some trust in chariots (Psalm 20:6-9)

PREFACE: Ordinarily I stay away from trendy topics, preferring instead to mine the timeless resources of the Scriptures, but I have decided to throw some of my thoughts and opinions into the vast ocean of the COVID-19 dialog. This is the first of several posts on that subject. NOTE: This is an edited version of a post I made yesterday (9/22/2021).

One of the topics that has been glaringly absent from the endless discussions and diatribes about COVID-19 and its related vaccines is the topic of faith. Even when reading articles and Blog posts from Christian authors, the subject of faith is rarely mentioned and is never central. Now, I would expect unbelievers to run to these vaccines and to loudly tout these “miracles of modern medical science.” I would expect those who do not know the living God to be fearful in the face of this pandemic, since admittedly many people have died from COVID. It is understandable for unbelievers to stampede to the vaccine since they have no shield or refuge or defender or savior other then the two mighty jabs. For an unbeliever to cling to the feeble hope that some man-made means of rescue will keep them safe from the dreaded disease is perfectly reasonable. “A suspect parachute is better than no parachute at all,” or so the saying goes. So, I understand the responses of those who do not know God and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

What puzzles me, and sometimes alarms me, is the response of those who do claim to trust in the Lord. I would expect that those who know the living God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and who thus have all the promises in the Bible credited to their account, would respond to this disease and to the vaccine in a noticeably different way, but almost always I am disappointed. In what they write, in what they say in conversations, and in what they do, the overwhelming majority of professing Christians respond virtually identically as the world responds. Brothers and sisters, this ought not to be!

Consider Psalm 20:6-9.

Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed;
He will answer him from His holy heaven
With the saving strength of His right hand.
Some boast (trust) in chariots and some in horses,
But we will boast (trust) in the name of the Lord, our God.
They have bowed down and fallen,
But we have risen and stood upright.
Save, O Lord;
May the King answer us in the day we call.

20:6 – David knows that the Lord is the one who saves. Notice that he does not mention any other possible means of rescue. The psalmist then declares the truth that the Lord will answer His people from heaven. When God’s people cry out to Him, we have the promise that God will answer our cries. And how will the Lord answer our cries? “With the saving strength of His right hand.” Nothing and no one can stay the action of the Lord’s right hand.

20:7 – This promise of the Lord’s faithfulness and strength shown to His people (20:6) evokes trust from David. “Some” boast in chariots and horses. “Some” people have never seen the Lord’s strength and they reject His salvation, so they trust in their worldly weapons. “When I am afraid,” this person says, “I will remember that I have chariots and horses. They are mighty to save. Chariots and horses will keep me safe.” But David, speaking for the Lord’s people, proclaims that “we will trust in the name of the Lord our God.” Whatever threat may come, we will trust in the name of the Lord our God. He has proven Himself faithful and the saving strength of His right hand will defeat any enemy. All our trust is in the Lord.

20:8 – And what is the result of where a person places their trust? Does it make a difference whom you trust? Yes, it most certainly does. In Psalm 146:3, we read, “Do not trust in princes, in mortal man in whom there is no salvation.” If your trust is in the mortal things of this world, you will perish with them. In 20:8 we read, “’They’ have bowed down and fallen.” The “they” in this verse is the same people as the “some” in verse 7. Those who trusted in chariots and horses “have bowed down and fallen.” They trusted in things that could not save and could not protect them from the threats of this world. “But we have risen and stood upright.” There is a huge contrast between those who trust the Lord and those who trust in worldly shields and defenses. “Bowed down and fallen” or “risen and stood upright,” that is the contrast. All the difference is in whom you trust.

[ASIDE: As a further note on 20:8, it is possible that David is here talking about more than a victory in an earthly battle. The phrase “risen and stood upright” could be referring to the Resurrection on the Last Day. On that day, all believers will rise in glorious resurrection and will constitute a great army to join with the Lord Jesus when He comes to destroy and judge the unrighteous. Ezekiel 37:10 declares, “So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life (‘risen’) and stood on their feet (‘stood upright’), an exceedingly great army.”]

20:9 – Now David can cry to the Lord with confidence, “Save, O Lord!” The Lord has declared and proven His faithfulness and David has trusted in the Lord, his God, so the result is that the man of God can know for certain that the Lord will be mighty to save him.

For the Christian, the primary issue is trust. Whom do you trust? Not “Whom do you claim to trust?” but, “Whom do you trust?” Do you trust in chariots and horses, or do you trust in the name of the Lord, our God? Trust is the issue.

So, if trust is the primary issue, then how do we apply the teaching of Psalm 20:6-9 to our current pandemic and particularly with regard to its vaccine? To be very direct, I pose this question: “Can the professing Christian listen to Biden and Fauci and Moderna and Pfizer and the CDC and a thousand other voices, and obey them, and then claim to believe Psalm 20:6-9?” I don’t think so, because the issue is trust. Our trust in the Lord must manifest itself in practical ways in our lives. What glory does God receive when, with regard to this very public controversy about COVID, His people have the same conversations and make the same decisions on the same bases as the rest of the world? Would the watching world not conclude that we, too, need a vaccine to protect us from COVID? Would it not be a better demonstration of the power of our God and of our trust in Him to declare that, regarding this disease or any disease or any threat whatsoever, “We will trust in the name of the Lord, our God”?

Remember, “Some boast (trust) in chariots and some in horses, But we will boast (trust) in the name of the Lord, our God.” In whom will you boast?