Psalm 86 (New Living Translation)
A prayer of David.
1 Bend down, O Lord, and hear my prayer;
. . . and then David gives his reasons why he is counting on God to answer:
answer me, for I need your help.
–because of my great need,
2 Protect me, for I am devoted to you.
Save me, for I serve you and trust you.
You are my God.
–because I am connected to you,
3 Be merciful to me, O Lord,
for I am calling on you constantly.
4 Give me happiness, O Lord,
for I give myself to you.
–because I continue to cry to you,
5 O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive,
so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.
–because you are a gracious God,
6 Listen closely to my prayer, O Lord;
hear my urgent cry.
7 I will call to you whenever I’m in trouble,
and you will answer me.
–because you, God, are utterly dependable.
8 No pagan god is like you, O Lord.
None can do what you do!
9 All the nations you made
will come and bow before you, Lord;
they will praise your holy name.
Did David really mean that every nation will worship before God? Yes! Even in the Old Testament we can see that God’s purposes go beyond just the Hebrew nation. God has always wanted all peoples to rejoice before him in worship.
The process has already begun! All over the world various people groups are praising God in their own unique ways, with their own instruments, songs and dances. The ultimate goal of evangelism is that one day people of all nations will be worshiping Jesus as he sits on the throne! As the church presses on with its task of reaching every group with the gospel, David’s vision of all nations worshiping God will be fulfilled.
10 For you are great and perform wonderful deeds.
You alone are God.
from This Day with the Master,
by Dennis F. Kinlaw
A TRUE PERSPECTIVE
Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord. — Psalm 86:8
Most of us turn to prayer in order to solve a problem. Our troubles become the motivating force behind our prayers. If we were the people we ought to be, we would pray whether we had problems or not. One of the beautiful things about God and about human life is that he does not leave us long without problems. He sees to it that we have difficulties, and he works at ordering our situation so we are not trouble free. This helps us to stay in relation to him.
(from Rebecca: Here’s a thought you don’t often hear taught! Do you agree with Kinlaw? God is of course the giver of every good gift; can troubles and difficulties be good gifts? How do problems actually work strength and faith into our lives? Do you have examples of such from your own experience?)
In Psalm 86 David prays to God in great distress because his very life is in danger. The reader senses David’s panic and desperation in verses 1-7, and then there is a psychological shift in verse 8. All of a sudden David’s eyes turn away from his problem and become fixed on God himself. When David enters into the presence of God, he forgets the men who are hunting for him.
When a person spends enough time in the presence of God, problems begin to fade into the background and God’s greatness begins to loom large. This psalm is a classic picture of the way the most serious and intense problems melt away in the presence of Almighty God, before whom they seem insignificant. As David faces God, he gets the true perspective on reality. His problems diminish and God’s glory increases.
11 Teach me your ways, O Lord,
that I may live according to your truth!
Grant me purity of heart,
so that I may honor you.
Other translations speak of an “undivided heart” or a “focused heart,” or ask God to “unite my heart.” I like that thought. I do not want my heart to be divided when it comes to holy things — not fragmented or scattered or at odds. No, I want my heart to be wholly committed to Jesus, and I want my words and deeds to reflect that! So let me examine myself today: where have I allowed my focus on God to slip or to wander? Where have I given my heart to lesser things? Where have I allowed or even welcomed sin into my life? Oh, Lord, forgive me, and give me an undivided heart. All for you.
12 With all my heart I will praise you, O Lord my God.
I will give glory to your name forever,
13 for your love for me is very great.
You have rescued me from the depths of death.
14 O God, insolent people rise up against me;
a violent gang is trying to kill me.
You mean nothing to them.
15 But you, O Lord,
“What a contrast! We get away from the hectorings and blusterings of proud but puny men to the glory and goodness of the Lord.”
— Charles Haddon Spurgeon
are a God of compassion and mercy,
slow to get angry
and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.
16 Look down and have mercy on me.
Give your strength to your servant;
save me, the son of your servant.
17 Send me a sign of your favor.
Then those who hate me will be put to shame,
for you, O Lord, help and comfort me.
HERE is Darlene Zschech and “Show Me Your Way.”
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.