The inscription below the title identifies Psalm 86 as being written by David. The events behind the writing of the psalm are not known today, but any Christian can identify the words of a man who is truly trying to put into words his love, trust, gratitude and dependence in the Living God.
God wants each of His children to be completely dependent upon Him. To arrive at that state, the Lord will often allow a person to get in such a desperate state that the only alternative is to trust in the Lord. David had always loved and trusted the Lord. Yes, he made very serious mistakes in his life, but he never hesitated to repent when faced with his sin, and accepted the consequences for his actions.
In verse 1, David wrote, “Incline Your ear, O LORD, and answer me; for I am afflicted and needy.” One man wrote that these words picture a small child who runs to his father for comfort and protection. It is sad that too many Christians do not take advantage of the comfort and protection that the Lord can give. Often, it takes some crisis or catastrophe to make a person realize that the only answer is trust in the Lord. Society trains people to be self-sufficient. “He is a self-made man!” But God wants each person to place his, or her, life in His hands.
When a person tries to deal with the unbearable, the result is a feeling of being adrift. Usually, a person is too burdened to enjoy the pleasures of life. There is no time to “stop and smell the roses”. David faced heavy trials before and after he became king, but he still knew the source of his strength. Verses 2-5 describe a person who is God-centered. Today we would such a person is Christ-centered. David writes, “Preserve my soul, for I am a godly man; O You my God, save Your servant who trusts in You. Be gracious to me, O Lord, for to You I cry all day long. Make glad the soul of Your servant, for to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul. For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in loving kindness to all who call upon You.”
How many Christians, when they prayer to the Father, reflect the love and trust in David’s prayer? How many allow the words and direction of God to actually guide their lives? Christians are not exempt from depression and troubles, but IF a person will hold fast to their faith in the Lord, He WILL come through. Only God can bring real joy and peace.
Verse 11 is an important verse for any sincere person who is searching for the truth. “Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name.” Many people are searching for…something. However, they really don’t know what they are searching for. Again, the answer lies with the Lord. To contemplate the real fact that any person, who is joined to God through Jesus Christ, can approach the Supreme Creator of the Universe as “Father” will inspire awe and deep reverence.
The psalmist prayed for God to teach him His way. Today, Christians know the way, the truth, and the life through Jesus Christ. The New Testament scriptures reveal God’s Plan and hope. However, the words and power of the Gospel cannot work if a person does not make them part of his, or her, life. In addition, a person can read about Jesus Christ and never come to know Him on a personal level. To know God, to know His will and way, requires prayer, obedience, commitment, and active faith in the principles laid out in the scriptures. David knew that, but he did not have what every Christian has available today. How much more should a Christian show in terms of spiritual trust and strength!
David also asked for an undivided heart. Too many people have divided loyalties. James wrote that a double minded man will fail. Christians are constantly being pulled one way and then another. Knowing “The Way” will help a Christian to cast off all the things that try to pull him away from the path of salvation. A Christian’s mind must be centered upon the Lord FIRST, and then everything else will fall into place.
Every Christian has come to the place that David did when he wrote Psalm 86. Every Christian has stood before God stripped of all self-sufficiency and pride. When such times occur, remember Psalm 86 and the final words when David wrote, “because You, O LORD, have helped me and comforted me.” God is waiting to do just that with each of His children. Won’t you let Him help you?