Because of God’s “preventing” promise, we are able to claim victory and dominion even before the battle begins. David sang, “The king shall joy in thy strength, O Lord; and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice! Thou has given him his heart’s desire, and has not withholden the request of his lips” (Psalm 21:1-2).

You may wonder, “How could David rejoice? He faced the most intense attack he’d ever known. How could he have joy when he might have been wounded or killed?”

David answers: “Thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness: thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head” (21:3). What David is saying here is life-changing: “I face a powerful enemy who is bent on destroying me. But my soul is at peace. Why? The Lord has foreseen my struggle. And he has showered me with assurances of his love. My enemy may cause me to stumble or fall, and at some point it might seem I’m finished. But God has told me that if I will just get up, I will receive his strength and win the battle.”

David then made this statement of faith just before going to war: “Thou settest a crown of pure gold on (my) head” (21:3). The crown of gold 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. He said I would walk out of the battle wearing the crown of victory.”

This sums up the doctrine of God’s “preventing goodness”: He has anticipated all our struggles—all our battles with sin, flesh and the devil—and in his mercy and goodness, he has paid our debt before it can even come due. Our victory is a done deal.

God’s preventing goodness applies especially to those who love Jesus and are surprised by sin. The Lord assures us that even if we are cast down temporarily, we will emerge from the battle standing upright, all because Jesus has paid our debt.