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Psalm 86 - Jehovah gives Comfort

INTRODUCTION: Though scripture has many examples of David's firm trust in the LORD, he was not immune from some extreme difficulties. In those times he turned to the LORD in prayer for comfort and help. Though he loved the LORD with his whole heart, he did not consider himself to be without sin as he praised the LORD for being ready to forgive. David wanted to receive the gracious mercy that only the LORD God can provide from the abundance of his lovingkindness.

NOTE: All scripture passages are taken from the American Standard Version.


Psalm 86 "1 {A Prayer of David.} Bow down thine ear, O Jehovah, and answer me; For I am poor and needy. 2 Preserve my soul; For I am godly: O thou my God, save thy servant that trusteth in thee. 3 Be merciful unto me, O Lord; For unto thee do I cry all the day long. 4 Rejoice the soul of thy servant; For unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul."

COMMENTS: David made a humble request to the LORD to preserve his life, as he used the phrase "bow down thine ear, O Jehovah" giving recognition to the fact that the LORD is far above the position of man. Psalms 40 and 70 contain the same text that, in these cases, indicates the phrase "poor and needy" is not in reference to a lack of material wealth, but rather to being weak and afflicted, and in need of help for deliverance from a very difficult situation. Psalm 40 "16 Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: Let such as love thy salvation say continually, Jehovah be magnified. 17 But I am poor and needy; [Yet] the Lord thinketh upon me: Thou art my help and my deliverer; Make no tarrying, O my God."

When David said he was godly, he used a Hebrew word that is elsewhere translated as holy or saint. He identified himself as a servant of God who had placed his trust in the LORD. Psalm 37 "28 For Jehovah loveth justice, And forsaketh not his saints; They are preserved for ever: But the seed of the wicked shall be cut off." And David's request was based on God's mercy, not David's merit, as David made a persistent plea. As a servant of the LORD, David wanted to have joy in his soul as he lifted it up to the LORD who is the source of true joy. Many centuries after the reign of King David, when some of the people returned to the land that was yet under foreign domination, Nehemiah told them they were not "weak and afflicted" if they had the joy of the LORD. Nehemiah 8 "Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto him for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye grieved; for the joy of Jehovah is your strength."


Psalm 86 "5 For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in lovingkindness unto all them that call upon thee. 6 Give ear, O Jehovah, unto my prayer; And hearken unto the voice of my supplications. 7 In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee; For thou wilt answer me."

COMMENTS: The LORD is the very essence of precious pleasantry and goodness, and how wonderful it is to know that he is ready to forgive when we ask. Others may not always be ready to forgive us, and we may not always be ready to forgive others as we should. Jesus said, Mark 11 "25 And whensoever ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught against any one; that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses." If we want to call upon the LORD we need to have a relationship with him through his Word, and there should be evidence in our lives that we are applying that which he requires of us.

The LORD is abundantly overflowing with mercy and lovingkindness. That kindness borne out of his great love is available to all those who call upon him, not just to those that might be considered by man as the most spiritual. David wrote this psalm before Solomon built the first temple while Israel was a strong and prosperous nation. Many centuries later after seventy years of captivity, these words sill applied as returning Jews began to rebuild the temple in a decimated land that remained under foreign rule. Ezra 3 "11 And they sang one to another in praising and giving thanks unto Jehovah, [saying], For he is good, for his lovingkindness [endureth] for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised Jehovah, because the foundation of the house of Jehovah was laid."

In verse six, David repeated his request that the LORD hear his prayer, and listen attentively to the humble and earnest petitions it contains. In the day of trouble, David was ready to call upon the LORD, and he had confidence that he would receive an answer. David showed in another psalm that his trust was in the righteousness of Jehovah. Psalm 145 "17 Jehovah is righteous in all his ways, And gracious in all his works. 18 Jehovah is nigh unto all them that call upon him, To all that call upon him in truth. 19 He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him; He also will hear their cry and will save them. 20 Jehovah preserveth all them that love him; But all the wicked will he destroy."


Psalm 86 "8 There is none like unto thee among the gods, O Lord; Neither [are there any works] like unto thy works. 9 All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; And they shall glorify thy name. 10 For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: Thou art God alone."

COMMENTS: David expressed his obedience to one of the commandments of the LORD written on the stone tablets that were placed into the Ark of the Covenant, as he confessed that there is no other God. Exodus 20 "3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me." David also showed his agreement with the recorded words of Moses about the wonderful works of the LORD. Deuteronomy 3 "24 O Lord Jehovah, thou hast begun to show thy servant thy greatness, and thy strong hand: for what god is there in heaven or in earth, that can do according to thy works, and according to thy mighty acts?" David expressed this same thought in another psalm. Psalm 40 "5 Many, O Jehovah my God, are the wonderful works which thou hast done, And thy thoughts which are to us-ward; They cannot be set in order unto thee; If I would declare and speak of them, They are more than can be numbered."

When David said that all nations would come and worship the LORD, he confidently asserted his belief that the grace of the LORD was boundless. Many centuries later a prophecy demonstrated that the LORD continued to unfold his plan to make salvation available to all nations, despite how conditions may appear to man. Isaiah 45 "21 Declare ye, and bring [it] forth; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath showed this from ancient time? who hath declared it of old? have not I, Jehovah? and there is no God else besides me, a just God and a Saviour; there is none besides me. 22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else. 23 By myself have I sworn, the word is gone forth from my mouth [in] righteousness, and shall not return, that unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear." As long as the rule of man continues across the earth, the time has not yet been brought to completion for every knee to bow to the LORD, but the end of the age is coming. Revelation 15 "3 And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, O Lord God, the Almighty; righteous and true are thy ways, thou King of the ages. 4 Who shall not fear, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy; for all the nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy righteous acts have been made manifest."


Psalm 86 "11 Teach me thy way, O Jehovah; I will walk in thy truth: Unite my heart to fear thy name. 12 I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with my whole heart; And I will glorify thy name for evermore. 13 For great is thy lovingkindness toward me; And thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest Sheol."

COMMENTS: The law was given directly from God that we might learn about God through that teaching. Exodus 24 "12 And Jehovah said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee the tables of stone, and the law and the commandment, which I have written, that thou mayest teach them." Moses taught the foundation for walking in the ways of God. Deuteronomy 10 "20 Thou shalt fear Jehovah thy God; him shalt thou serve; and to him shalt thou cleave, and by his name shalt thou swear." David wanted Jehovah's teaching to be applied to his own heart, and that is the desire of God for all who will come to him by faith. David desired this for his son Solomon. 1 Kings 2 "1 Now the days of David drew nigh that he should die; and he charged Solomon his son, saying, 2 I am going the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and show thyself a man; 3 and keep the charge of Jehovah thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, [and] his commandments, and his ordinances, and his testimonies, according to that which is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself."

The LORD identified himself as our teacher as he spoke through the words written by the prophet. Isaiah 48 "17 Thus saith Jehovah, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I am Jehovah thy God, who teacheth thee to profit, who leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go." That teaching leads us to Christ. John 6 "45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall all be taught of God. Every one that hath heard from the Father, and hath learned, cometh unto me." And when we come to Christ Jesus we have found the way, the truth, and the life! John 14 "6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no one cometh unto the Father, but by me."

Our Savior God redeems out of the grave because his grace and mercy has overcome death for those who place their faith in him. 1 Corinthians 15 "53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 But when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the power of sin is the law: 57 but thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not vain in the Lord."


Psalm 86 "14 O God, the proud are risen up against me, And a company of violent men have sought after my soul, And have not set thee before them. 15 But thou, O Lord, art a God merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abundant in lovingkindness and truth. 16 Oh turn unto me, and have mercy upon me; Give thy strength unto thy servant, And save the son of thy handmaid. 17 Show me a token for good, That they who hate me may see it, and be put to shame, Because thou, Jehovah, hast helped me, and comforted me."

COMMENTS: David described in more detail in verse 14 the trouble that he had first mentioned in verse seven. He said that his enemies were proud and violent men and they did not recognize the LORD. David's appeal was based on the character of the LORD, similar to the way Moses made his request as he remembered the promise of the LORD. Numbers 14 "17 And now, I pray thee, let the power of the Lord be great, according as thou hast spoken, saying, 18 Jehovah is slow to anger, and abundant in lovingkindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression; and that will by no means clear [the guilty], visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, upon the third and upon the fourth generation. 19 Pardon, I pray thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy lovingkindness, and according as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now."

David indicated that he was the servant of the LORD, and even mentioned that his mother had served God. He acknowledged that the LORD will hear those whose guilt has been cleared by his mercy and grace. Since his enemies had not shown fear and respect for the LORD, he asked for a clear sign that would be seen by them to prove to them the presence and authority of the LORD God. This would put them to shame (confound, confused, disconcert, disappoint) when they saw that Jehovah had helped and comforted him. David wanted his enemies to understand that the victory for him would not be to his own credit, but to the glory of the LORD.


LORD, I ask that you listen to my call when I face situations that have overpowered me. I confess to you LORD that I am poor and needy whenever I trust in my own efforts to do those things that can only be done through your strength within me. Though I have never experienced a direct fear that I might lose my life as David faced, there have been times when fear has gripped me to the point of feeling unable to make a decision. I want to go to your Word to be reminded of your mercy so I will be able to have the joy of knowing that you will preserve my soul through all situations. For you, LORD, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in lovingkindness to all those who call upon you. This gives me the confidence to believe that you will hear and answer when I come to you in prayer.

LORD, I believe in my heart that there is no God but you alone, and your creation displays your glory throughout all of heaven and earth. People of every tribe, tongue, and nation will bow before you in worship to glorify your name because of your greatness and your wondrous works. Teach me your ways LORD, so I may fear your name and walk humbly in your truth with my whole heart as I wait for that excellent and jubilant day. I want to glorify your name as long as I live because you have victoriously delivered my soul from the sting of death. May I have the same heart as David to desire that those who do not set the LORD before them, will see the blessings granted to me, and be confused, disconcerted, and ashamed in their rejection. All my praise must go to my precious Savior for the grace and mercy shown to me in your lovingkindness and truth as you continue to be my comfort. Amen.

Published 10 August 2013