Thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness: thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head” (Psalm 21:3). At first glance, this verse by David is a bit puzzling. The word “prevent” is usually associated with hindrance, not with blessing. A modern translation here would be, “The Lord hindered David with the blessings of goodness.”
Yet the biblical word for “prevent” signifies a completely different meaning. It means “to anticipate, to precede, to foresee and fulfill in advance, to pay a debt before it is due.” Furthermore, in almost every instance, it implies something of pleasure.
Isaiah gives us a glimpse of this kind of pleasure. It comes from God anticipating a need and fulfilling it ahead of time. “It shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear” (Isaiah 65:24).
This verse provides us with an incredible picture of our Lord’s love for us. Evidently, he is so anxious to bless us, so ready to fulfill his loving kindness in our lives, that he can’t even wait for us to tell him our needs. So he jumps in and performs acts of mercy, grace and love toward us. And that is a supreme pleasure to him.
This is just what David is saying in Psalm 21, in essence: “Lord, you pour out blessings and loving kindness on me before I can even ask. And you offer more than I could even conceive of asking.”
David is referring to some awesome work that God performed for him in the spiritual realm. It’s 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, to 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.
David laid hold of these promises. And the first thing he did was to take his eyes off the oncoming enemy. Now he was no longer weeping about being in trouble, trying to grasp why the struggle had come. Instead, he basked in the revelation of God’s loving kindness: “He delivered me, because he delighted in me” (Psalm 18:19).
This is what God intends for every one of his children when the enemy comes upon us like a flood. The Lord “prevents” us with his love. In other words, he says to us, “You may be wounded, but that doesn’t matter. I have already made you victorious.”