Meditations on the Psalms #166

Psalm 86 Part 1

We can’t place this psalm at a specific time, because there are too many possible points where this could connect with David’s general circumstances. This psalm is notable because David uses the Hebrew word Adonai (“Master”) seven times when referring to God. Throughout this psalm, we see a man of sincerity and fervour, a man of trials, of faults, and of great heart. He pleads, sobs, and trusts. 

We aren’t told the nature of David’s need. We know it was severe, and he felt it to be life-threatening. Yet we don’t know if it was danger from Saul, the Philistines, from assassins, or from a dozen other things. This is good because it allows us to see our need in David’s need. It allows us to know that we can approach God in prayer on the same basis for whatever our need is. David appealed to God’s sympathy and His compassion not to any righteous reason of his own.

 ‘In the day of my trouble, I will call upon You, for You will answer me:’ This demonstrates David’s wonderful confidence in God. He knew that God was not a fair-weather friend; instead, God could be counted on even in the day of trouble.

 Notice the emphasis on ‘my’ and ‘me’ in verses 6-7. In fact, the intimacy of this psalm is demonstrated by the repeated occurrence of the pronouns ‘me’, ‘my’ and ‘your servant’ for the author and ‘you,’ ‘your’ and ‘O Lord’ (Adonai– master,) for the recipient. I have the pronouns highlighted in two different colours in my Bible to show the contrast and closeness of the entire psalm. This shows his submission and loyalty.  God’s submission and loyalty are demonstrated by the use of the word lovingkindness used in the second half of the psalm. It brought him to say, “Don’t give me my way, Lord; teach me Your way.”

 The determination to ‘walk in your truth’ gave integrity to David’s request. He wanted to be taught so that he could live – so that he could walk in God’s truth. This wasn’t merely to satisfy intellectual curiosity or to win arguments; it was to live. 

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