What is Happiness? Psalm 20

*Writer Kendra Cherry defines happiness as,

an emotional state characterized by feelings of joy, satisfaction, contentment, and fulfillment. While happiness has many different definitions, it is often described as involving positive emotions and life satisfaction. 

How often can you expect to be happy?

About half the time.

When I heard this recently, I confess that I was surprised. We live in a society that expects happiness to be achievable as a reasonably permanent state. It is treated as a goal that can be reached and then a location where you can live, permanently. Hence, the notion of meeting your perfect match and living “happily ever after.”

The book of Psalms provides believers with much honest reflection about the struggles and joys of life. There are psalms written to process through difficult emotions and hard times and celebrate God’s goodness.

Psalm 20 was written as a prayer for the kings of Israel, acknowledging that even the most powerful king must depend upon the Lord for protection. The most amazing weapons systems ever created cannot stop the forces of evil that come against us all at times.

1 May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble! May 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 regards with favor your burnt sacrifices! 
(Psalm 20:1-3 ESV)


The opening verses of this prayer point to the reality these believers lived in. A cycle of burnt sacrifices and offerings had to be maintained. Today, we can praise the Lord for His generous provision for us in Jesus, the once and for all sacrifice.

We can boldly approach God’s throne and request help for our people and us; no sacrifices are required. God regards us with favor because of the blood of Jesus.  

4 May he grant you your heart's desire and fulfills all your plans!
5 May we shout for joy over your salvation, and in the name of our God, set up our banners! May the LORD fulfill all your petitions! (Psalm 20:4-5 ESV)

Will the Lord hear our prayers, grant our heart’s desires, and fulfill our plans?

He could, but He loves us far too much to make this an even exchange. He will give us what is best for our hearts and what will fulfill the ultimate plans for our lives. He’s shaping us into the likeness of Jesus, and this will involve some answers we don’t love.

6 Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed; 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 trust in the name of the LORD our God.
8 They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright.
9 O LORD, save the king! May he answer us when we call. (Psalm 20:6-9 ESV)

I believe the Lord can make special provisions for Godly leaders and those in authority.

Who is anointed by the Lord?

As believers, we are all anointed as the priesthood of believers. We are all influential leaders in various places and in multiple circumstances in our lives. I speak to women all the time who may suggest they are, in fact, not leaders. However, every woman influences her home, children, spouse, parents, friends, coworkers, neighbors, social media, and so much more than we ever realize.

Do you trust chariots or horses?

So far, I can honestly say that I have never really been dependent upon horses or chariots for my day-to-day life. However, chariots and horses would have been how protection was found in this psalm writing. Build stronger chariots to fight wars and find faster horses.

What might it look like in my life to depend upon chariots and horses?

  • Are you relying on the latest technology to solve all of my problems?
  • Will purchasing a new iPhone make me feel happier?
  • Are you taking a new magical supplement?
  • Are you buying the latest fashions?
  • Following the latest eating plan?

While any one of these things might temporarily give me a boost, none of these are sustainable for achieving happiness.  

Sustainable Joy

The psalmist points to a simple yet challenging solution for sustainable joy.

“Trust in the name of the Lord our God.”

When I surrender my plans for His.

  • When I seek Him first.
  • When I surrender to His ways and not my own.
  • When I rely entirely on His resources to work things out, He sustains me.


Thank you for the anointing provided by You for every believer.

Thank you for saving me by the blood of Jesus Christ, Your son.

Thank you for answering my prayers in the best ways for me and those I love.  

Thank you that I can trust in the name of the Lord my God. You are always reliable.
Thank you that I can stand upright before You because of all You have done for me.

Thank you that you answer me when I call.

Thank you for the sustainable joy that comes from this knowledge.

In Jesus’s name, Amen.

*Article by Kendra Cherry -“What is Happiness?”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s