Teach Me

Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name. I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, And I will glorify Your name forevermore.

~ Psalm 86:11-12 (NKJV)

There are many spiritual benefits to growing in grace. Here the Psalmist petitions Jehovah in this prayer to teach him in the way of the Lord. The Psalm’s author desires to learn, to grow, and be fed from the bounty of his Master’s table in the ways of God. The benefits and blessings of learning the Lord’s ways are manifold in these verses.

In this passage, the word “teach” in the original literally means “to point or shoot” in a particular direction. The Psalmist aspires to be nudged or even pushed in the direction of ways of the Lord that he might walk, or live, in God’s truth. He is seeking the blessings of the narrow path of God’s righteous ways that his words and deeds might align with that of his Lord’s will.

More in particular, David longs for a uniting or joining of his heart with the Lord that he might revere God’s name; that his heart would be inclined to worship, honor and obey the Lord. Through the Lord’s teaching of David, springs forth praise for God and ultimately the glorifying of the name of David’s covenant-keeping God.

Believers should not see their Christian education as merely a way to gain head-knowledge. God’s instruction to us is always moral in nature. It is intended to “push” the believer towards holy living, in being more Christ-like. David understood his prayer for God to teach him His ways as a means to an end. The end being to glorify God’s name forevermore.

~ apl

All Nations

All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, And shall glorify Your name. For You are great, and do wondrous things; You alone are God.

~ Psalm 86:9-10 (NKJV)

In these verses, the Psalmist expresses his earnest belief that the ability of the Lord to save, and His being the only true living God, would yet pervade all the nations of the earth. David seems to rest this assurance of God to return the nations to Himself on the greatness of God and His wondrous works, concluding all nations would one day come and worship before Him.

The hope of the Psalmist is the hope of Scripture; that all peoples from every nation, tongue, and tribe would one day come to possess a saving interest in the Lord Jesus Christ and come to worship God in His holiness. In Isaiah 2:2 we read the Lord will establish Himself in Mount Zion that “all the nations will stream to it.” And earlier in the Psalms we have the promise of God to the coming Messiah to give Him “the nations as His inheritance“.

The testimony of Scripture and the promise of God is no less sure because these things may seem so long delayed. The Gospel of Christ has gone forth with power and authority into the nations and it will accomplish it’s purpose. Of the nature or duration of the powers and principalities of this world, none can be sure. Only one thing is certain – that the kingdom of God will be set up, and that the Redeemer‘s throne will be well-established over all the earth; and that “all nations shall come and worship before God, and shall glorify His name.”

~ apl

None Like You

Among the gods there is none like You, O Lord; Nor are there any works like Your works.

~ Psalm 86:8 (NKJV)

As we continue our brief exposition of this Psalm of prayer, in verse 8 we find David exalting God above all the other gods of this world. To be sure there are many false gods and religions in the world today. And millions of people place their trust in these so-called deities. Here the Psalmist lifts up and praises the true and living God among all the false gods of this world.

For among all the gods of this world, Jehovah God, the God of Holy Scripture, is the only One who can hear our prayers and deliver us from trouble. As it pertains to our prayers, an idol of wood, rock or stone cannot respond to the supplications of a people. Those who ultimately place their trust in anything short of the Lord God will find their hopes sorely disappointed.

Yet, the child of God who brings his petitions to the Lord, he can know there is a throne of grace which is always accessible to him; while to others there is none. There is One to whom he may always come in prayer; while others, they sadly cry out in vain. As we bring our prayers to God, let us remember He is the living God. He is not like the false gods and idols of a worldly making. He will hear you. May we believe about God, in faith, saying there is none like You.

~ apl

God Will Answer

In the day of my trouble I will call upon You, For You will answer me.

~ Psalm 86:7

A true believer can have the blessed assurance the Lord is there for them in times of trouble. One of the greatest comforts in Scripture is the idea that God provides for His people; that Jehovah Jireh, God Our Provider, furnishes the needs of those who will faithfully call upon Him in times of adversity, trouble or affliction.

Notice, in our verse today, the confidence the Psalmist displays is not because of himself. His assurance does not lie the astuteness of his prayer, or the correctness of his doctrine. The words of our prayers in times of trouble may not carry much eloquence or refinement of speech. But if they are issued with even the faith of a mustard seed, they can be lifted up with the same assurance of David when he declared, “You (God) will answer me”.

When we are faced with our own day of trouble is God the first place we turn for help? Is He a second choice, third choice, or even a last resort? Do you believe if you will but make God your refuge in times of adversity that you will find Him faithful, strong and true? May the troubled humbled heart take away from our passage today that if it will but call upon the Lord, He will be near you. God will answer.

~ apl

You, Lord, Are Good

For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You. Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer; And attend to the voice of my supplications.

~ Psalm 86:5-6 (NKJV)

Here in this passage we find one of the mightiest appeals for answered prayer – God’s own goodness. David could seek no higher ground upon which to lay the basis for his petitions than the Lord’s own character. “You, Lord, are good”. What a testimony! Such a declaration! It is because of the goodness of God that His servant, can, by faith, approach the Lord for forgiveness, healing and restoration of his heart and soul.

And if we think this view of God’s good character is limited to just this one Biblical witness, listen to the testimony throughout Scripture. In 1 Chronicles 16:34 we read, “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” Elsewhere the Old Testament prophet Nahum writes, “The LORD is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble” (1:7). Mark, the Gospel writer, would also declare, “No one is good but One, that is, God” (10:18).

A.W. Pink, in his classic work on the attributes of God, describes the Lord’s goodness this way, “God is summum bonum, the highest good… The “goodness” of God refers to the perfection of His nature… There is such an absolute perfection in God’s nature and being that nothing is wanting to it or defective in it, and nothing can be added to it to make it better… The goodness of God is the life of the believer’s trust. It is this excellency in God which most appeals to our hearts. Because His goodness endureth forever, we ought never to be discouraged…”

Rather than being discouraged, David plead God’s goodness as his greatest encouragement while approaching Him in prayer and supplication. Do you find God’s innate goodness as a reason to come to Him in prayer? Do you trust that the Lord is good, just and holy and always ready to listen? May we rest upon the character of God and His goodness as the high ground while seeking His face during seasons of communion, fellowship and prayer with our Lord.

~ apl

I Lift Up My Soul

Be merciful to me, O Lord, For I cry to You all day long. Rejoice the soul of Your servant, For to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.

~ Psalm 86:3-4 (NKJV)

John Bunyan once wrote, “In times of affliction we commonly meet with the sweet experiences of the love of God.” As we continue our study through Psalm 86, verses 3 and 4, we find the Psalmist in fervent supplication to his Lord for tender mercies in a time of trouble. Like Bunyan would later write, David is longing for that sweet experience of God’s love in times of affliction.

In these verses, we see the heart of the Lord’s servant laid bare. David was man who suffered afflictions both inwardly and outwardly. He knew first hand the need for God’s mercy. So here we find him crying out for just that. Notice his plea for mercy is “all day long”. David’s prayer was on-going. He understood the remedy for his trouble was found no place else save the mercy of Almighty God. Therefore we see the importunity, the persistence, of his prayer.

David is seeking restoration, the refreshing, of his soul. This portion of his prayer is a cry for the interposing of divine grace during a trial of adversity. The soul of this servant is being offered up unto the Lord so that He might tend it, nurture it and comfort it. David’s spirit yearns for deliverance from these present afflictions so it might be restored to the joy of the Lord.

Do we seek God persistently in our prayers? Can we allow ourselves to cry out to the Lord in the midst of our own adversity? David would not stop seeking God’s face, His merciful hand, until the rejoicing of his soul had been restored. Affliction can deepen your faith and draw you closer to the Lord and the sweet experience of His love if you will only lift your soul up to Him.

Bow Down Your Ear, O Lord

A Prayer of David.

Bow down Your ear, O LORD, hear me;
For I am poor and needy. Preserve my life, for I am holy;
You are my God; Save Your servant who trusts in You!

Psalm 86:1-2 (NKJV)

The Prayer of David found in Psalm 86 is one of my favorite prayers in the Psaltery. It seems to capture the heart of David at a time when he is in strong communion and fellowship with Jehovah, his covenant keeping God. It expresses something of David’s deep and abiding love, faith, obedience and willingness to both speak and listen to the Lord through prayer and supplication. As I examine excerpts from this Psalm, I pray it is a blessing to you.

In verse one, we find David simply pleading with the Lord to condescend to hear his petition. David uses the figurative language of a parent or father turning an attentive ear towards the mouth of his child as they seek to speak to him. In verse one, the author, David also admits the reason for his prayer – that he is poor and needy. David’s plea for God’s ear is not one based on his merit, but on God’s mercy. King David was rich and certainly not needy in a physical sense yet, he understood as a sinner before God, he was poor in spirit and needful of the Lord’s grace.

Then in verse two we find David recounts his relationship before his God. David had found favor in the sight of the Lord. David was holy (1 Sam. 16:13); set apart by divine sovereign grace. He was called and sanctified by God’s Spirit. The God of heaven and earth was also his Redeemer and Friend. God’s holiness had fallen mercifully upon this servant of the Lord. Through prayer, David comes seeking the Lord’s presence, power and protection. He trusted in God’s provision to preserve His life. Though David had the armies of Israel at his command, he knew in his heart, his hope, strength, covering and protection was found only the Lord.

God eagerly invites the humble heart into His presence through prayer. His ear is ready and willing to hear from those who desire His close communion and abiding fellowship. As we found David doing here, it is good in prayer to recite back to God those truths Jehovah God has promised about His people. We are holy. He is our God. The Lord is faithful to those who trust in Him. May our prayers be strengthened and enhanced as we learn from this Scriptural prayer.