Psalm 86 is a moving and personal prayer of David. It begins, “Incline your ear, O LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. Preserve my life for I am godly”. Can we pray as David did? In what sense are we poor and needy? Poor and needy might have different connotations today. In his prayer David said, “O God, insolent men have risen up against me; a band of ruthless men seek my life, they do not set you before them” (verse 14).
The experiences of “the son of David”, our Lord, are parallel to this. In Mark 14 we read of his arrest when under the cloak of darkness, Judas Iscariot led “a crowd with swords and clubs” (verse 43). The disciples fled, but the time was to come when their eyes were opened to the meaning of it all and their lack of faith was forgiven.
It would be then that Psalms such as this one would be meaningful. “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” (verses 5,6). Verse 11 has a special appeal, “Teach me your way O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name”.
How often does our heart experience a sense of discord – the world’s values and desires pull one way, and divine thoughts pull another! Tragically some give up reading the Bible to avoid feeling this discord. Does the Bible seem unreal in this modern world? Unfortunately many of society’s attitudes lack any sense of purpose and direction. Paul wrote of these attitudes, “… they did not honour him as God, but became futile in their thinking and their foolish hearts were darkened.” (Romans 1:21). In contrast, may we say with David, “I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart …” (verse 12).