Psalm 20:7 is a well-known verse that demonstrates King David’s unwavering trust in God: “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” During David’s era and beyond, chariots and horses were a measure of military strength. In more contemporary terms, the verse might be rendered “Some trust in their armed forces and nuclear weapons, but we trust in the name of the Lord.”
In ancient times, the strength of a kingdom was gauged by its possession of “chariots and horses.” Hence, it was customary for kings to put their trust in their military resources. For example, King Solomon bolstered his strength by amassing “chariots and horses; he had fourteen hundred chariots and twelve thousand horses, which he kept in the chariot cities and also with him in Jerusalem” (1 Kings 10:26). Pharaoh of Egypt and King Sennacherib of Assyria are other biblical examples of rulers with large armies. These two kings are especially significant as God showcased His supremacy over their military powers (Exodus 14:6–14; 2 Kings 19). Grasping the significance of “chariots and horses” adds depth to David’s words. Though a courageous warrior himself, David relied on the Lord to give him victory.
Although modern nations don’t depend on chariots and horses, and regular individuals lack access to military resources, the metaphorical implication of this verse holds true. It is still possible to fall into the trap of relying solely on human strength, material possessions, and intelligence. This is evident sometimes in elections of political candidates, when people might assume that a certain candidate or party will usher in a utopia, disregarding the God-factor (see Proverbs 21:1; Daniel 2:21; 4:17). The wealthy may rely on their billions, intellectuals on their brilliance, and the physically strong on their bulk. Humans have been geared toward self-rule right from the Garden of Eden, and even Christians aren’t immune (Genesis 3:4).
Given our inclination to play the role of our own gods, Psalm 20:7 should be both a challenge and a proclamation for believers. In challenging times when others might tap into their limited human resources, we have a heavenly Father to turn to for assistance (Psalm 18:2; 46:1; Hebrews 4:16). He is willing to grant us wisdom (James 1:5), guide us through our troubles (Isaiah 41:10; Psalm 23:4), and liberate us from all that would entangle (Psalm 34:17; Matthew 6:13; 2 Timothy 4:18).
We can extend the concept of trusting in chariots and horses to the matter of salvation. Various religions and belief systems advocate for salvation through good deeds and obedience to religious law. Even atheists and skeptics rely on their perceived goodness, hoping that, if God exists, their good deeds will suffice to secure salvation. However, Christianity is unique, as the gospel invites us to trust in the person and work of Christ. As Jesus Himself promised, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
In all aspects of life, may we unite with King David in professing our unwavering faith in God, refuse to be numbered with those who “trust in chariots and horses,” and pray for the grace to remain steadfast.