Psalm 86

Psalm 86

Great Is Your Steadfast Love

A Prayer of David.

86   Incline your ear, O LORD, and answer me,
    for I am poor and needy.
  Preserve my life, for I am godly;
    save your servant, who trusts in you—you are my God.
  Be gracious to me, O Lord,
    for to you do I cry all the day.
  Gladden the soul of your servant,
    for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
  For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
    abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
  Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer;
    listen to my plea for grace.
  In the day of my trouble I call upon you,
    for you answer me.
  There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
    nor are there any works like yours.
  All the nations 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 alone are God.
  Teach me your way, O LORD,
    that I may walk in your truth;
    unite my heart to fear your name.
  I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
    and I will glorify your name forever.
  For great is your steadfast love toward me;
    you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.
  O God, insolent men have risen up against me;
    a band of ruthless men seeks my life,
    and they do not set you before them.
  But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
  Turn to me and be gracious to me;
    give your strength to your servant,
    and save the son of your maidservant.
  Show me a sign of your favor,
    that those who hate me may see and be put to shame
    because you, LORD, have helped me and comforted me.


Psalm 86 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

We are all familiar with the tumultuous relationship between joy and sorrow. In Psalm 86, David moves back and forth between the two with little warning. He begins with the fear of uncertainty.

A Prayer of David. Incline Your ear, O LORD, and answer me; For I am afflicted and needy.  2  Preserve my soul, for I am a godly man; O You my God, save Your servant who trusts in You.

Psalms 86:1-2 NASB

With no transition, he suddenly bursts into praise while thinking about the Lord.

For You are great and do wondrous deeds; You alone are God.  11  Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name.

Psalms 86:10-11 NASB

But once again, David returns to the issue at hand. Fear grips him as he begins to ponder the reality of his situation.

O God, arrogant men have risen up against me, And a band of violent men have sought my life, And they have not set You before them.

Psalms 86:14 NASB

So, what do we make of all this? There was not a quick fix for the pain David felt. Sometimes we make the mistake of assuming that a faithful follower of Jesus should suffer no effects from this sinful world as long as they have enough faith. This theory is nice on the surface and is certainly admirable, but it isn’t true. David suffered repeatedly. We suffer as well. In the structure of this psalm, there is no definitive resolution. David ends with the same struggle he began with. The middle was filled with belief, hope, trust, and praise, but the situation seemingly did not change.

“All is not well, and the praise lifted was clearly not in response to a transformed situation. From that fact the prayer reminds all that God and humans do not operate in some automatic universe where God fixes everything that hurts. Belief must stand and praise, even when the world is broken.”

Beth Tanner

Belief must stand and praise, even if…

What does that look like for you? What is your current “even if…” moment? Both the OT and NT speak to the idea that active faith persists with praise and worship in the face of dangerous and threatening situations.

“But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

Daniel 3:18 NASB

Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good?  14  But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED,

1 Peter 3:13-14 NASB

So, I ask you again. What is your current “even if…” moment? What will it look like to persist today in praise despite nothing changing?

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments