DEPENDENCE ON GOD
Lord, may I learn who I am through trust in You, the One who can make me more that I can imagine.
Read PSALM 86
1 Hear me, Lord, and answer me,
for I am poor and needy.
2 Guard my life, for I am faithful to you;
save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God; 3 have mercy on me, Lord,
for I call to you all day long.
4 Bring joy to your servant, Lord,
for I put my trust in you.
5 You, Lord, are forgiving and good,
abounding in love to all who call to you.
6 Hear my prayer, Lord;
listen to my cry for mercy.
7 When I am in distress, I call to you,
because you answer me.
8 Among the gods there is none like you, Lord;
no deeds can compare with yours.
9 All the nations you have made
will come and worship before you, Lord;
they will bring glory to your name.
10 For you are great and do marvelous deeds;
you alone are God.
11 Teach me your way, Lord,
that I may rely on your faithfulness;
give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name.
12 I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart;
I will glorify your name forever.
13 For great is your love toward me;
you have delivered me from the depths,
from the realm of the dead.
14 Arrogant foes are attacking me, O God;
ruthless people are trying to kill me—
they have no regard for you.
15 But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God,
slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
16 Turn to me and have mercy on me;
show your strength in behalf of your servant;
save me, because I serve you
just as my mother did.
17 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.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Like many of the psalms, this psalm of David provides a guide on how to face life when everything seems out of control.
David models for us the practice of “telling God about God” (J. A. Motyer, 1924–2016): prayerfully extolling him as the unique God (8,10), deserving of universal worship (9) who protects and saves (2), loves and forgives (5), is the source of joy (4), listens and answers (7) and loves and delivers (13). His words are not cold, formal statements read from a dry textbook; they are vibrant, borne out of experiencing this great God at work in and around him (e.g., 13). Praise like this, full of content and passion, is at the heart of biblical worship. David is captivated by the Lord and speaks without arrogance about his devotion and trust (2), his continual prayer (3,4) and his commitment to obedience (11). This is always the place to start: reminding ourselves (not God) of God’s greatness. How much more insight do we have, standing this side of the cross, into all of these themes?
If David’s unconstrained praise is a model for us then his self-awareness is equally so. He humbly acknowledges his need of the Lord and expresses his deep commitment to him and no other. He freely admits his poverty of spirit (1), position as a servant (2), need for mercy (6) and need to be taught (11). Eugene Peterson comments that “for all our sophistication, learning, and self-study we don’t know enough to run our lives.” That level of self-awareness needs to characterize us in our approach to God.
Having expressed his appreciation and recommitted himself to following the Lord (11,12), David then brings his request. He is being opposed by those who give God no thought (14). The servant of God seeks not personal safety but for the Lord to be honored (17).
Tim Keller says that a divided heart (11) can take many forms: an insincere heart (Psa. 12:1); an irresolute heart (Jas. 1:6–8); a resistant heart (Rom. 7:15-25). See if you have any of these “heart conditions.”
Dear Lord, give me a true heart, a heart that can be lifted up in sincere praise to You.
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