Psalm 86:1-17 A Lament By David
Psalm 86:1-17 Asking God To A-C-T-S
Psalm 86 is the only psalm written by David in Book III. Psalms is broken into five sections or books. Now you know.
This is another lament written for the worship leaders, the sons of Korah. It may have been written after the Jews were allowed to return to Israel after the seventy years of Babylonian captivity (cf. Jer. 29). More likely, the emphasis is on the hope of Israel, the Thousand-Year Millennial Kingdom of the Messiah in the future. It is then that all of the prophetic elements of this psalm will be fulfilled.
Does David really think Yahweh might not answer him? He implores God again (v. 1). Actually, he is showing earnestness in prayer. God likes that. “Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops” (James 5:17-18).
David appeals to his servanthood as a reason for God to answer his prayer (v. 2). Are you a faithful servant of God? Jesus said that those who stay in His Word would receive answers to prayer (cf. John 15:7).
David also appeals to God’s grace as a reason He might be inclined to answer his prayer (v. 3). He appeals to God’s generosity and desire to make others happy (v. 4). Jesus said it was more blessed to give than receive (cf. Acts 20:35). He knew God was eager to forgive sins and was bound to be loving and kind (hesed) to those who trust Him (v. 5, 13, cf. Ps. 103:10; Rom. 8:32).
David knows that God is the type of God that answers the prayers of those in trouble (vv. 6-8). During the rule of the Messiah, the Millennium, all the nations will gather and worship Yahweh, aka Jesus (v. 9).
God loves to receive our worship. David declares God’s greatness, that He has performed wonderful feats, and He is, in fact, the Only God (v. 10). One way we know that Christ is God is that He received worship. Angels don’t allow anyone to worship them. Peter fell at Jesus’ feet after a great haul of fish and Jesus didn’t forbid him (cf. Luke 5:8).
David would have made a great disciple. He wanted God to teach him (v. 11). True disciples are learners. The word in Greek for disciple is mathetes. It literally means “learner.” We are told that the way to grow as a Christian is to learn God’s Word. ” . . . Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom. 12:2).
One of the best ways to pray is to follow the pattern of A-Adoration, C-Confession, T-Thanksgiving, and S-Supplication. (That spells ACTS, incidentally). Verse 10 is praise. Verse 5 implies that David has confessed his sins. Verse 12 shows that he thanked God on a regular basis. In verse 16, he makes supplication, asking to be delivered from his enemies. A-C-T-S. It’s all in this psalm.
David appealed to God’s graciousness already in verse 3 and again appeals to His graciousness in verse 15, along with His mercy. Does He think God has forgotten Who He is? When we mention God’s attributes back to Him in prayer, we are reminding ourselves Who He is. He, again, mentions Yahweh’s hesed in verse 15 as he did in verse 5 and 13. He is reminding himself that Almighty God is bound to him in love.
David knew he had been saved from Sheol (v. 13), the holding tank of the dead until released to Paradise after Christ ascended or Hell at the culmination of time (cf. Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:10). He also pleads with God to rescue him from his enemies (vv. 14, 16). This may have been during the time he was being chased by his own son, Absalom, during the rebellion (cf. 2 Sam. 17). Interesting that David would appeal to God on the basis of his sonship while his own son was pursuing him.
It’s not usually good to ask God for a sign. It is usually a sign of immaturity. But David asks for a sign, not for himself as did Gideon (cf. Judg. 6, particularly verse 6:17) but for others to see and glorify God (v. 17). He wants to teach others to trust in God so that they, too, will trust Him. To some God’s deliverance will cause hatred of God and humiliation (v. 17b). To others the sign will indicate God is merciful and loving, one who rescues and delivers (v. 17a, c).
Proverbs 13:9-10 Dancing In The Dark?
When I was first saved I memorized, “ . . . he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God” (John 3:21). I thought I came to the light because I wanted to. Ha. Well, I did want to but God also drew me to Himself (cf. John 6:44).
Those who walk in the light will rejoice in the light (v. 9a). They will want to be around others who are in the light (cf. 1 John 1:7; 2:10). They will want to get advice from others who are walking in the light (v. 10b).
On the other hand, those who don’t trust God are dancing in the dark (v. 9b). They are arrogant because they are not submitting to God and end up in fights. This goes for even seminary professors. No one is safe from arrogance.
But understand that sometimes when Christians are humble, their humility and stand for God make them appear to the world that they are arrogant. The world just doesn’t understand someone holding to God’s standards.
We live in a world where there is only one commandment: Be tolerant. It means everyone should be tolerant of sin. They are not tolerant of those who are submitting to God. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. (I didn’t make up that expression.)