Psalm 86

A stream of continuous prayer flows throughout this Psalm. Praise is sweetly intermixed. Pleas for audience with God are urgently enforced. May we thus pray, and verily we shall be heard!

1. "Bow down Your ear, O Lord, hear me; for I am poor and needy."

The cry is the breathing of humility. To seek help from our own poverty is to draw water from an empty cistern. Let us fly to God's fullness; it ever overflows.

2. "Preserve my soul, for I am holy; O my God, save Your servant who trusts in You."

Enemies are always near; God only can keep and save. Let us urge the plea, We are Yours by entire surrender of ourselves. All our confidence rests on You.

3-4. "Be merciful to me, O Lord; for I cry to You daily. Rejoice the soul of Your servant; for to You, O Lord, do I lift up my soul."

Mercy is our hourly need; for mercy let our hourly cry ascend. We shall hear joy and gladness, if on Him only our eyes are fixed.

5. "For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive; and plentiful in mercy unto all those who call upon You."

When we thus call upon our God, we only ask for the display of His own heart. Goodness and mercy, grace and love there dwell. O God, give them scope. Let them come forth to help.

6-7. "Give ear, O Lord, unto my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications. In the day of my trouble I will call upon You; for You will answer me."

The cry continues, I cannot let You rest. I must take heaven by storm. Awake, awake in my behalf. Troubles abound. But they bear me on their tide to You. I come in full assurance that Your promises shall never fail, and faithful prayer shall never be cast out.

8-10. "Among the gods there is none like You, O Lord; neither are there any works like Your works. All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord; and shall glorify Your name. For You are great and do wondrous things; You are God alone."

Precious is the season when the eye of faith contemplates the greatness—the majesty—the glory of our God. In heaven and throughout earth He sits supreme, worthy of all praise—all homage—all adoring love! In every climate enlightened servants now bow down to worship Him. The day will come when His knowledge shall cover the earth, even as the waters cover the sea. Then every knee shall bow before Him and every tongue shall magnify His name. O Lord, hasten the blessed time!

11. "Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name."

How quickly the believer flies back to prayer. Here is his solace and his heart's home. His grand desire is that the Lord would instruct him in the path of life. He has no greater desire than to walk in God's truth. He feels that his heart is prone in all its parts to wander. In itself it has neither cohesion nor stability. He prays that God would so restrain it by His bands, that no part should ever deviate from His fear.

12-13. "I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart; and I will glorify Your name forevermore. For great is Your mercy toward me; and You have delivered my soul from the lowest hell."

He vows that eternal praise shall issue from his comforted heart. Such glory is indeed God's due. For through redeeming blood He has rescued from perdition's lowest depths.

14-15. "O God, the proud have risen against me, and the assemblies of violent men have sought after my soul, and have not set You before them. But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, patient, and plentiful in mercy and truth."

In contrast to this mercy the Psalmist sees the enmity of man. But he takes refuge in his God. His compassions never fail; His grace abides forever; His patience is inexhaustible; His mercy and truth are overflowing.

16-17. "O turn unto me, and have mercy upon me; give Your strength to Your servant, and save the son of Your handmaid. Show me a token for good; that those who hate me may see it, and be ashamed; because You, Lord, have helped me, and comforted me."

This view of God prompts the prayer, that He would arise and strengthen and save; and give such tokens of His lovingkindness, that all observers may perceive that believers are the blessed men receiving help from heaven, and rejoicing in the Spirit's comforts. When such manifestations abound they cannot be hidden. Shame depresses the cruel adversaries. They are constrained to confess, that vain is their enmity when God extends His hand to work deliverance. May we be monuments of such help!