Bible Commentaries
Psalms 86

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

Verses 1-17

  1. Intro:
    1. Title/Outline: Here we have a Praise Sandwich. Prayer - Praise - Prayer.
    2. Here we have a mosaic of expressions found in other Psalms.
    3. It’s a lonely prayer of David.
      1. It’s a simple opening & closing prayer, with the deliberate Praise in the middle. Deliberate? Yes, because there is no end insight as of yet of the pressure...nor an answer.
        1. In which area of your life today do you need God to do great things or show His strength or forgive, or just show Himself Good?
  2. PRAYER (1-7)
    1. His appeal is to God’s compassion. A 3-fold cord binds David to his God.
      1. The bond of Covenant - you are my God.
      2. The bond of servant & Master - Save Your servant…
      3. The bond of the truster & the one who is trusted - ...who trusts in You.
    2. David sees himself as “poor, needy, & godly”.
      1. Godly in the sense, he’s been the recipient of God’s stedfast love & is in turn devoted to God in the covenant relationship.
      2. He describes God as, “Good, forgiving, abounding in steadfast love.”
        1. Forgiving, suggests he feels the need of God’s forgiveness.
    3. (4) Rejoice/Gladden-is a bold request at such a time. But...there are 3 good reasons for it[3 for’s]
      1. Single-mindedness - For to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
      2. The Character of God - For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.
      3. The Conviction God answers prayer - For You will answer me.
    4. (7) What is the quickest way to make the bell ring in heaven...the touch of a troubled hand.
      1. When we are full of the interests of this life, of prosperity & self-content; when the voices of applause are heard all around us; when our house is full of children or the joy of grandchildren, & our bank accounts are healthy; our prayers halt and God seems far away.
      2. But let trouble come - let the waters be swollen by many joining streams rising within your soul, so that lover & friend are far away, & you’re surrounded by all fears, then God bends his ear & heart.
      3. Try to think of trouble as storing in your heart seeds of joy, as the farmer buries the seeds of spring, in the autumn fields. A veiled angel…& nothing less.
    5. No wonder then this next part is pure praise to God.
  3. PRAISE (8-13)
    1. David’s praise is not random. It starts in heaven (8a) moves to nature (8b) mankind (9) & history (10). Finally, he exposes himself to this Sovereignty(11) & its searching implications.
    2. Lord (7x’s in this Psalm - 3x’s in this stanza) = Master/Sovereign. [distinct from LORD = Yahweh]
      1. To God in this capacity David now gives His full attention [Master/Sovereign].
    3. (11) This is a prayer about forming the right habits rather than making the right moves (not belittling those).
    4. Unite my heart - a beautiful metaphor, conveying the idea, that the heart of man is full of noise, torn in pieces, & often scattered about in fragments.
      1. Its a state when the heart may be: insincere, uncertain, hesitant, vacillating, in a tug-of-war.
      2. The uniting of a heart is when God gathers it to Himself & holds it together in a state of steady and preserving obedience.
    5. (12) I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart.
      1. His whole heart is absorbed in praise. He’s not going to wait passively for the spiritual maturity he has been seeking in vs.11.
    6. (13) Nor is this praise simply an exercise...there is abundant reason for it.
      1. You have delivered/rescued/saved my soul from the depths of Sheol.
    7. Like need a God-Encounter. (just like Isaiah in Is.6) You need a God-Quake. Then a Self-Quake. Which leads to a World-Quake. (6:1-4; 5-7; 8-13)
      1. Its experiencing Gods Glory. Glory = kabowd.
        1. Its basic meaning is “to be heavy, or weighty”.
      2. If you drop an object into the water, that’s heavier than the water, you make a water-quake. If you drop an object onto a sheet of ice, thats heavier than the ice, you make an ice-quake. Because the object has more glory than the water/ice.
        1. Whenever God shows up/comes down, in Sinai(the mountain quaked) or at Pentecost(the room shook) because of His glory. [God’s a Quaker!]
        2. When compared to God everything else has no weight.
    8. There is a big difference then in believing in God & having an experience in God’s glory.
      1. It goes from having a concept about God, to having a reality of God.
        1. God as a concept is lighter than you (you shape Him).
        2. God as a reality is heavier than you (he shapes you).
      2. When God is a reality into your life, it changes everything. Everything is rearranged. Your furniture is rearranged. Your view of everything has changed.
    9. Ok, so how do I know if I have had an encounter w/God or experienced a God-Quake?
      1. Well, Isaiah’s example in ch.6 says its when you experience God’s beauty “I saw the Lord”, it works 2 things into your life...Humility & purity. “I am undone”, “Your iniquity is taken away,...your sin purged”.
    10. This is different with all of us. When God became a reality to Jeremiah he told him to stop trembling (insecurities). When God became a reality to Isaiah he told him to start trembling (needed humility).
  4. PRAYER (14-17)
    1. ​​​​​​​So far David has confined his prayer to: his own relationship with God; God’s own character; God’s own sovereign rights.
      1. So the temptation to pour out a tirade instead of a petition has been overcome.
    2. Remember 3 things when you pray:
      1. Remember who God is - Never forget His attributes. Vs.5,15
      2. Remember what God does - He does wondrous things. Jer.33:3
      3. Remember what God promises - He promises to answer us. You will answer me.
    3. Wrap your whole person into prayer.
      1. Pray with an open mind - I will walk in Your truth.
      2. Pray with an obedient will - Lord, if You show me Your way, I will walk/ obey in it.
      3. Pray with a united heart - a heart wholly fixed on God. Not have 2 masters.
    4. Praying with Arguments(clear reason) - Spurgeon said we should learn to pray w/ arguments. We should sharpen our thinking by learning to
    5. express the reasons why God should answer our prayers affirmatively.
      1. It also should be clear that this is not so much for God’s benefit as for ours.
      2. If we cannot think of reasons why God should answer our prayers, it is probably the case that our requests are wrong & need to be revised or redirected.
    6. David gives 8 reasons why God should answer it. All starting with the word for (means because).
    7. 1st 4 reasons were based upon David & his need:
      1. For I am poor & needy (1) - God, I’m not mighty or self-sufficient.
      2. For I am holy/loyal/devoted to You (2) - God, I’m in covenant relationship with You.
      3. For I cry/call to You all day long (3) - God, I’m praying.
      4. For to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul (4) -Not to many gods. Only You can help.
    8. 2nd 4 reasons were based on God & God’s character:
      1. For You will answer me(7) earlier he asked God to hear. Now he’s confident He’ll answer
      2. For You are great and do wondrous things (10) - God’s not only a prayer-hearing & prayer-answering God, but a God who is able to do what the petitioner is asking.
      3. For great is Your mercy toward me (13) - God in His mercy has already set His Hesed His covenant love upon the one praying.
      4. For You, Lord, have helped me & comfort me (17) - God helped David in the past, will again.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Psalms 86". "Bell's Commentary". 2017.