(6) Now I know that Yahweh saves his anointed one. He will answer him from his holy heaven with the saving might of his right hand. (7) Some (trust) in chariots and some in horses, but we will remember the name of Yahweh our God. (8) They collapse and fall, but we rise up and stand firm. (9) Yahweh, save the king! May he answer us in the day we call.
Two repeated words, “save” and “answer,” anchor this segment. In the opening verse, they appear in a confession of faith following the verb, “know.” Here, the psalmist expresses his confidence that God will save and answer his anointed one, Messiah (vs. 6). In the closing verse, David earnestly calls on Yahweh to save and answer both the king and the nation (vs. 9). We find an additional use of the word “save” in the opening verse, this time as an adjective describing the mighty power of Yahweh’s right hand, his hand of power which gains him the victory (vs. 6).
Note the contrast between those who trust in chariots and horses and those who trust in Yahweh (vss. 7 & 8). Those who rely on what the world trusts for victory will be undone, but those who depend on Yahweh will stand firm. We are reminded of Moses’ warning to Israel’s kings not to amass for themselves great numbers of horses lest they rely on their own strength rather than trusting in Yahweh to win the battle (Dt. 17:16).
I. Profession of faith: Yahweh will save his anointed one. (6)
II. Principle: those who trust in Yahweh will stand firm. (7 & 8)
III. Prayer: Yahweh, save your anointed one! (9)
Yahweh saves those who trust in him, but those who trust in their own resources will fall.
Anointing with oil was an important part of the dedication ceremony for both kings and priests in Israel. Those who stood between God and humanity either as rulers or as mediators were set apart (sanctified) by anointing. This represented God’s granting the special indwelling of his Holy Spirit to those holding these offices to enable them to serve him effectively.
In the Upper Room Discourse, Jesus promised his disciples that he would send them the Holy Spirit: “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you” (Jn. 14:16 & 17). On the day of Pentecost, the birthday of the Church, this promise was fulfilled as the Holy Spirit visibly and audibly came to indwell and empower all who belong to Jesus Christ (Acts 2:1-4). The anointing that was reserved for a few special individuals in the Old Testament became the experience of every believer after Christ’s ascension.
Paul referred on several occasions to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. To the Romans he wrote: “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you” (Rom. 8:9). He exhorted the Corinthians: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body” (1 Cor. 6:19-20). In his second epistle to the Corinthians he wrote: “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come” (2 Cor. 1:21-22).
We who have trusted in Christ as Savior receive the anointing of the Holy Spirit to indwell us the moment we believe. We can grieve the Spirit, quench his working in us, and resist him by ignoring his guidance. However, God has promised that his Spirit will never be taken from us, no matter how far we may wander from his ways.