blog meditation Psalms

Meditation Psalm 86

A prayer of David.

Hear me, Lord, and answer me,
    for I am poor and needy.
Guard my life, for I am faithful to you;
    save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God; have mercy on me, Lord,
    for I call to you all day long.
Bring joy to your servant, Lord,
    for I put my trust in you.

You, Lord, are forgiving and good,
    abounding in love to all who call to you.
Hear my prayer, Lord;
    listen to my cry for mercy.
When I am in distress, I call to you,
    because you answer me.

Among the gods there is none like you, Lord;
    no deeds can compare with yours.
All the nations you have made
    will come and worship before you, Lord;
    they will bring glory to your name.
For you are great and do marvellous deeds;
    you alone are God.

Teach me your way, Lord,
    that I may rely on your faithfulness;
give me an undivided heart,
    that I may fear your name.
I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart;
    I will glorify your name for ever.
For great is your love towards me;
    you have delivered me from the depths,
    from the realm of the dead.

Arrogant foes are attacking me, O God;
    ruthless people are trying to kill me –
    they have no regard for you.
But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God,
    slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
Turn to me and have mercy on me;
    show your strength on behalf of your servant;
save me, because I serve you
    just as my mother did.
Give me a sign of your goodness,
    that my enemies may see it and be put to shame,
    for you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.

(Ps. 86:1-17 NIV)

He giveth more grace

The Psalmist comes humbly before the Lord. He needs God because he is empty of resources, and full of need. He is a servant before the Lord. He asks God to hear. God hears everything and sees everything, so the Psalmist means more than just listen, he wants God to respond, to give specific attention. When I worked in Daylight Christian Prison Trust my secretary had an office beside mine and we often had the door open between the offices. I would be working at my desk and my secretary would ask me something. I would look up at her and she got to know when I wasn’t listening to her, and she would wave her arms in the air to make sure she had my attention. I never ever meant to not listen, but I just get so absorbed in what I am doing, that when someone speaks to me, I’m listening but not really listening. God is not like that. Of course, God has a lot of things to pay attention to, but He never takes His ear away from us.

The Psalmist asks God to guard his life and he describes himself as faithful to God and trusting in God. I don’t remember hearing anyone pray like that. The Psalmist is not saying he is perfect and he also recognises that he is in need of God’s mercy. The Lord alone can give him joy in his heart by not necessarily changing the circumstances, just changing the way that Psalmist looks at the circumstances.

We all know what is like to give and give and keep giving to someone. We can easily become fatigued and drained of emotional energy. The Psalmist describes God as forgiving. Think of how often God has to give you forgiveness. God is good, abounding in love to everyone who calls on His name. The love of God has to be great. Think how longsuffering God is. Why does God tolerate us the way He does? He gives grace, and upon grace He multiplies grace. When we know the character of God, we can come before Him with confidence. God He gives mercy, love, joy and forgiveness.

The Psalmist turns to God a second time to cry out for mercy. That is all we can do, is cast ourselves upon God’s mercy and seek the forgiveness of our many sins. Out of his time of trouble, he calls because he knows God will answer.

The Psalmist says that the other false gods cannot begin to compare with God. God is alive, God hears, and God responds to prayer. When the honest mind looks at the work of God, His deeds are marvellous and the LORD God is God alone. All nations of the earth will bow before the one true God and give glory to His name.

The Psalmist understands that there is much area for spiritual growth in His life. Yes, he has troubles and he knows that his confidence wavers at times. He asks the Lord to teach him God’s ways, and he vows to walk depending on God’s faithfulness. When we ask God for this kind of improvement in our lives, we don’t doubt God, but we doubt ourselves. Do I really mean this, am I sincere? If God gives me this, can I keep up and remain faithful? The Psalmist knows his own heart and mind, and he asks God to give him an undivided heart so that he can have a proper fear of God’s name. An undivided heart has a single focus upon God, then he truly can give his whole heart over to praising the Lord and by his behaviour glorify the Lord.

The great love (hesed) that God has is covenant love. That is always the safe place for the believer, to plead God’s covenant love towards us. In love God has delivered the Psalmist from the realm of the dead.

The Psalmist has arrogant foes attacking him and seeking to take his life. The enemies are not God- fearing people. They have no regard for God nor do they think they will ever have to give an account. The Psalmist has been to the Lord so many times on this issue, yet he comes again with confidence, because the Lord is a compassionate and gracious God. We have to be thankful that God is abounding in love and faithfulness, and slow to be angry. He again asks for mercy. He calls for a demonstration of the Lord’s strength. The Psalmist serves the Lord just as the generation before him had served God. The Psalmist desires a sign of the Lord working and that that sign will be clear to his enemies, that God is with the Psalmist.

Even before he has been given an answer to his prayer he already feels helped and strengthened. Prayer changes us as well as changing things.

Lord we praise Your great name that love always abounds towards us. We thank You that You are compassionate and gracious, and slow to become angry with us. Our many sins righteously deserve Your anger. How many times have we come to You with the same prayer? Lord forgive us for how slow we are to learn. Lord forgive our sins and give us an undivided heart and then with our whole heart we will sing Your praise, through Jesus Christ. Amen