Today’s passage: Psalm 86
Are you afflicted and needy? Then has David got some good news for you: God is good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon him (5). In Psalm 86, David freely intermingles petition and praise in an intimate prayer. He addresses his words to God, but he was kind enough to put them to song and share them with future generations, such as us.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m distressed, I find it easier to ask God for help than to praise him; my eyes are all over the storm and the waves. But even as he’s asking God to deliver him, David praises God for those attributes that uniquely qualify him to come to his aid. First of all, God will respond; he won’t ignore him. David states, “In the day of my trouble I shall call upon You, for You will answer me” (7). Second, God is the only all-powerful being in existence, and he does good things that no other being can do. As David notes,
There is no one like You among the gods, O Lord,
Nor are there any works like Yours.
For You are great and do wondrous deeds;
You alone are God. (8, 10)
And finally, everything else: God loves David, he’s saved him from the depths of the grave (13), he created every group of people and is more powerful than all of them (9), he’s got mercy in spades (15), and in conclusion, the list goes on.
Hey, and if I need a reason to praise God right now, here’s an easy one: he has kept me safe from threats on my life. David penned this psalm, as he did with so many others, while confronted by hostile enemies. But evil men are not out to kill me, and I am able to write this blog post from the safety of my living room. God could easily have made a universe where people are out for my blood right now, but he didn’t, and for that I am grateful.