Tuesday, April 18, 2023

2023.04.18 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 86:11–17

Read Psalm 86:11–17

Questions from the Scripture text: With what petition does the psalmist begin (Psalm 86:11a)? For what purpose does he need this lesson (verse 11b)? What one thing does he desire would characterize every motion of his heart (verse 11c)? What does such a heart especially do (Psalm 86:12a)? What does that whole person do (verse 12b)? What attribute of God makes this response an absolute certainty (Psalm 86:13a)? In what action of God is this most clearly seen (verse 13b)? What is the situation that we finally (in Psalm 86:14!) learn has occasioned this prayer/psalm? Who is more determinative of David’s condition and outcome (Psalm 86:15)? Which five of His attributes are highlighted here? Of which does it say that God is full? In which two does it say that He is abundant (verse 15)? For what four things does Psalm 86:16 ask? What two things does the psalmist call himself here? What does he ask to have made visible in Psalm 86:17a? For whom else to see (verse 17b)? So that what may happen to them? What will both the psalmist and his haters know, when God’s goodness to him is made visible (verse 17c)?

What do believers who are in trouble want most from God? Psalm 86:11–17 looks forward to the opening portion of morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these seven verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that believers who are in trouble desire to know God’s counsel, so they can praise God’s character, having experienced God’s comfort. 

God’s counsel, Psalm 86:11. David wants God’s counsel for his mind (verse 11a) and his behavior (verse 11b)—his whole soul (verse 11c). The prayer that the Spirit teaches us here focuses on our own minds, our own behavior, our own life. There is a way that Yahweh’s Word teaches us to walk. 

When we’re in trouble, clear thinking is of utmost importance, biblical thinking is of utmost importance. It may be surprising for us to learn that Bible study, doctrinal study is important for believers who are in trouble. This is because we need to know how to walk, and the right way to walk isn’t the way that manipulates circumstances or people, but the way that is according to God’s truth. 

Trouble endangers our hearts of going after many things, when they should be going after just one thing: the fear of the Lord. And the way to unite our behavior and our thoughts is by His Word.

God’s characterPsalm 86:12-15. Circumstances change. People are unstable. But one thing is always true: God and His glory (Psalm 86:12b). If our whole heart is about praising Him (verse 12a), then our life and its purpose will be forever. And what a glorious character is His Whom we praise! His covenanted love is great (Psalm 86:13a). He is a God of compassion and grace (Psalm 86:15a), of patience and a multitude of covenanted love and faithfulness (verse 15b).

The murderous (Psalm 86:14b) got that way because instead of having their lives be about beholding this God (verse 14c), they are proud of themselves instead (verse 14a). What a dangerous thing is pride—that it hides the glory of God from view by the smokescreen of our own faux glory! David’s great danger in his trouble isn’t that he might suffer at the hands of the wicked, but that he might become like them.

Here is one of the great benefits of having God as Savior (Psalm 86:13b). For us, His character is not merely a conceptual truth (Psalm 86:15), but and experienced reality toward us (Psalm 86:12a). If we keep His salvation ever in mind, it will keep His character in our minds, and protect us from slipping into that life like the wicked’s where God is not always at the forefront.

God’s comfortPsalm 86:16-17. As this prayer of David closes, it reaches a fever pitch of urgency. The plea to “Turn! Have mercy!” (Psalm 86:16a). The self-description as “servant” and “son of maidservant” (verse 16b–c). The request for an indication, any indication, of God’s goodness toward him (Psalm 86:17a). All he is asking for is to get a little help or comfort (verse 17c) that will be a reminder of that ultimate deliverance that is sure to come. This will put his attackers to shame (verse 17b). What a blessing it is, when the Lord shines a ray of His comfort into the believer’s darkness, for it reminds that behind those clouds the sun of God’s love toward him always shines at full strength!

What trouble are you in? How has this driven you to more study of Scripture and theology? What has this study done to inform how you think and act in the midst of your trouble? What comforts, even the tiniest, has the Lord given you in this trouble? How much comfort will you have when it is completed?

Sample prayer:  Lord, come now and help us to worship You according to Your Word. We desire that in all that we do, especially Your worship, we would have one heart to fear Your Name and to praise You. You are a God of compassion and grace, of patience and a multitude of covenanted love and faithfulness. Now, in Your worship, make us to know how great is Your steadfast love toward us. Help us and comfort us by Your Spirit’s showing us good today, we ask, through Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP86B “Your Way, Teach Me, LORD” or TPH5 “Hear My Words, O LORD”

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