Psalm 86

The best self preservation is to commit ourselves to God’s keeping and by faith and prayer to make Him our preserver.

1 Bow down thine ear, O LORD, hear me: for I am poor and needy.

2 Preserve my soul; for I am holy: O thou my God, save thy servant that trusteth in thee.

3 Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto thee daily.

4 Rejoice the soul of thy servant: for unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.

5 For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.

6 Give ear, O LORD, unto my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications.

7 In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me.

8 Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works.

9 All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name.

10 For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone.

11 Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.

12 I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore.

13 For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell.

14 O God, the proud are risen against me, and the assemblies of violent men have sought after my soul; and have not set thee before them.

15 But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.

16 O turn unto me, and have mercy upon me; give thy strength unto thy servant, and save the son of thine handmaid.

17 Shew me a token for good; that they which hate me may see it, and be ashamed: because thou, LORD, hast holpen me, and comforted me.

Psalm 86 – ​A Prayer to the God of Mercy

   This psalm is largely composed of quotations. When the soul is in great need, it is not concerned with inventing new forms of address to God, but avails itself of well-known and well-worn phrases. Our Lord in Gethsemane “prayed… the same words” (Matthew 26:44). The background of the psalm is faith which reckons on God’s goodness. Thou… art good, Psalm 86:5; thou art great, Psalm 86:10; thou… art… full of compassion, and gracious, Psalm 86:15. Be sure to build prayer upon the revelation of God’s nature as given by Christ.
   Psalm 86:1-5. That we are indeed poor and needy is our strongest plea with God. That we are holy is true only so far as we present Christ as our righteousness. That we cry all the day is a plea which God honors. But the best of all is the plenteousness of His lovingkindness.
   Psalm 86:6-13. Again, in this strophe, there is the cry of need; and faith is helped by remembering that God’s power is sufficient. God is so great that He can include our little life in His microscopic care.
Psalm 86:14-17. We can readily imagine the rabble that beset the psalmist, for we are similarly beset; but nearer than they can come is the calm and holy inner presence of God. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Psalm 86:5—Thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive.

​   We are blinded by sin, and cannot believe that God is ready to forgive. We think that we must induce Him to forgive, by tears, promises of amendment, religious observances. There is in every heart such difficulty in understanding the unwearying patience and ever-yearning love of our Heavenly Father. Oh, clasp this word to your heart! Say it over and over again—“Ready to forgive, ready to forgive!” At any moment of the sad history of the prodigal, had he returned, he would have found his old father as ready to forgive as on the day, too long delayed, when he did return. The only pity was that he had not come long before.
   You have fallen a hundred times, and are ashamed to come to God again; it seems too much to expect that He will receive you again. But He will, for He is ready to forgive. You feel that your sin is aggravated, because you knew so much better; but it makes no difference to Him, He is as ready to forgive you now, as when first you came. You are disposed to wait a little, till your sin has become more remote, till passion has subsided, till the inscription has faded from the wall; but you might as well go at once, God is as ready to forgive at this moment as at any future time. You are wounding Him greatly by doubting Him. He is ready, waiting, eager to forgive. You have only to call upon Him, and you would discover the plenteousness of his mercy. How ready Jesus ever was to forgive sinners, herein revealing God’s heart!

       “O Love, Thou deep eternal tide,
          How dear are men to Thee!
       The Father’s heart in opened wide
          By Jesus blood to me.” —Our Daily Homily