David is referring to some awesome work that God performed for him in the spiritual realm. It is something that gave David victory over his enemies, answers to prayer, overcoming power, and unspeakable joy. And God did it all before David could even go to prayer, unburden his heart or present his request. Once David finally did pour out his heart, he discovered that God had already made provision to defeat his enemies. David’s victory was assured before he could even get near the battlefield.
Indeed, when David wrote Psalm 21, he was speaking of a literal battle. This psalm is a companion chapter to Psalm 20, both referring to a battle described in 2 Samuel 10 where Israel’s enemy, the Ammonites, had hired Syrian battalions to wage war against David. David’s military leader Joab and a choice army defeated the Syrians soundly in an overwhelming victory, and the enemy fled in fear.
David rejoiced, thinking, “That’s the end of the Syrians. Our army dealt them a death blow.” He wrote, “I have wounded them, so that they could not rise; they have fallen under my feet” (Psalm 18:38). Yet, the enemy regrouped and began plotting yet another attack (see 2 Samuel 10:15).
Of course, this story is about more than David’s troubles with the Syrians. It is also about followers of Christ today and our battle with Satan. It’s about a battle we thought we had won long ago —at a time when we thought, “I’ve finally won the victory.”
God gives us the story of David and the Syrians to reveal to us a crucial lesson. Every victory we win over the flesh and the devil will be followed by an even greater temptation and attack. Satan simply will not give up in his war against God’s people. Once we defeat him, he will redouble his forces and come right back at us.
David made this statement of faith just before going to war: “You set a crown of pure gold upon [my] head” (Psalm 21:3). The crown David mentions here is a symbol of victory and dominion. David was saying, “I’m going to war riding on God’s promise to me — a crown of victory!”
Receive the Lord’s promise to you today. He tells us, “This work is accomplished only by faith in the finished work of the cross. It has already been accomplished by me so accept it by faith.”