August 21 2023
Today, Monday August 21
“Abundant in Mercy and Truth”
Psalm 86:14-17 A Prayer of David.
“O God, the proud have risen against me, And a mob of violent men have sought my life, And have not set You before them. But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, Longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth. Oh, turn to me, and have mercy on me! Give Your strength to Your servant, And save the son of Your maidservant. Show me a sign for good, That those who hate me may see it and be ashamed, Because You, LORD, have helped me and comforted me.”
Psalm 86 is a “Prayer of David”. Several times throughout this Psalm David mentions that he is experiencing a time of trouble (v. 7). It appears that the source of this trouble is from proud people who have “risen up against him” (v. 14). Whoever these proud people are we don’t know, but they have also incited a “mob of violent men” who were seeking to kill him, and they had no regard for God or His ways (v. 14).
What do you do when you are overwhelmed with trouble and when the world has come crashing in around you? Who do you turn to for help and deliverance when you are helpless and feel hopeless? David turned his thoughts and prayer to the Lord, and we should do the same. At least twice in this prayer David mentions that “God is gracious and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon Him” (vv. 5, 15).
In verse 8, David declares, "There is none like you!" This is the confession of a man who truly knows God and remembered Israel's confession in Exodus 15:11 when the people of Israel were hemmed in between the armies of Pharoah and the Red Sea. "Who is like You, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, Fearful in praises, doing wonders?” During ten years of exile in the wilderness of Judea, David had learned much about God's character and the way He worked in the lives of His people. No doubt he spent much time reading the Torah and meditating on God’s Word and promises.
David believed that God is great in who He is and what He does, and the false gods of all the nations are nothing. In spite of his present troubles, it is interesting that David becomes a prophet according to Acts 2:30 and saw the day coming when all the nations would enter the Messianic kingdom (v. 9; see Rev. 15:3-4). God made the nations and assigns their boundaries and determines their destinies (Acts 17:22-28; Isa. 2:1-4; 9:6-7; 11:1-16).
As David closes this Psalm and prayer, he recognizes the reality of his situation and his enemies. David's enemies were proud of themselves and their abilities, violent, and totally ignorant of and indifferent to the God of Israel. But David looked away from them to the Lord who had saved and guided him all his life. David is possibly quoting from Exodus 34:6 in verse 15. “And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth”.
God repeats this phrase time and time again in Scripture: (Psalms 86:5; 103:8-13; 116:5; 145:8; Neh. 9:17; and Jonah 4:2.) The apostle Paul tells us that knowing these attributes of God ought to lead people to repentance (Rom. 2:4). "The son of your handmaid" (v. 16) means "your devoted servant" (116:16; Ruth 2:13, 3:9; 1 Sam. 1:11, 12, 18). Children born to servants were considered especially faithful since they were brought up in the master's household (Gen. 14:14). Since David was the Lord's faithful servant, it was his Master's duty to protect and deliver him (Psalm 143:11-12).
David finished his prayer by asking that the Lord would “show him a sign for good.” David wanted that deliverance to bring glory to the Lord and to demonstrate to the nations that Jehovah alone was God. It wasn't just warfare, it was witness, a "sign" of the goodness of the Lord to David. It was his way of praying, "Hallowed be Thy name" (Matt. 6:9). When our requests are in God's will and glorify His name, we can be sure He will answer.
Today, if we want to really experience the graciousness, longsuffering, goodness, and mercy of the Lord all we need to do is go to the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ! “The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). Jesus said in John 10:10, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
My friend, our God is still “longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth”! You can trust Him to forgive and help you today!