A Prayer of David.
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 You, O Lord;
neither are there any works like unto Your works.
9 All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord,
and shall glorify Your name.
10 For You are great, and do wondrous things:
You are God alone.
11 Teach me Your way, O LORD;
I will walk in Your truth:
unite my heart to fear Your name.
12 I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart,
and I will glorify Your name forevermore.
13 For great is Your mercy toward me:
and You have 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 You before them.
15 But You, O Lord, are 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 Your strength unto Your servant,
and save the son of Your handmaid.
17 Show me a token for good,
that they which hate me may see it, and be ashamed:
because You, LORD, have helped me, and comforted me.
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Oh, my! This psalm is rich! David, you have written yet another gem, and I know it came out of personal experience, both with hardship and with trusting the Lord.
Healing was never intended to return us to the point where we were before, but to take us to a place where we are stronger than before. David has reached this place of greater strength, and yet he still feels the need to call upon the Lord daily (v.3). Why? Because he has learned that the Lord is the source of his strength (v.16).
I marked several verses in my reading this morning and wrote copious notes in the margin:
Verse 3: God never gets tired of me. In fact, He wants me to come to Him daily—all day.
Verse 7: David had total confidence in the Lord. He knew that whenever He called upon the Lord, He would answer him.
Verse 8: The first part of the verse says that there is no god like our God, and the second part says there are no works like His works. Man works. Man is constantly busy doing something. In fact, man is constantly trying to prove himself before God by trying to do works that are “good enough.” But we cannot. None of our works can measure up to what God has done. We must trust in His work alone for our salvation.
Verse 11: I was intrigued by David’s use of the verb unite with relation to his heart. Isn’t his heart already a single unit? How can it be united? United to what? Well, united to fear Thy name, but that still doesn’t make perfect sense. Then I kept reading in verse 12, “I will praise Thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart….” Here his heart is united. It’s united with itself to praise the Lord. There is no division of allegiance within his heart, no sharing of his love for God with another. God possesses all of his affection. But this is not a natural phenomenon; this is not something David could simply will to do in the strength of his own nature. That is why He asked God to work it into him. God does not force us to love Him, but when we ask, He will teach us to love Him. Isn’t that wonderful!
Verse 15: In both verses 13 and 16 David asks for mercy for himself. However, verse 15, this wonderful list of God’s attributes, immediately follows verse 14, which is talking about the proud and violent men who have risen up against David. He says to God, “These men have not set Thee before them. But Thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.” These attributes were not for David alone, and by extension, for all believers. No, indeed! They were for the men of verse 14, and by extension, all the enemies of God and His followers. To the unredeemed David says that God is gracious and longsuffering, “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” This reminds me of our Lord Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry, and how patient He was with Judas Iscariot. For three years Judas traveled with the group, eating and sleeping with them, listening to His teachings and seeing the miracles. He had all the same opportunities as the other eleven disciples, and the same exposure to the gospel—and yet he rejected it and betrayed our Lord into the hands of His enemies. Jesus knew all along what Judas would do, but He never treated the man any differently from the rest. In fact, when it came time to reveal who would betray Him, all the other disciples were totally clueless! Never more clearly did Jesus demonstrate the longsuffering mercy of God than in the life of Judas Iscariot.
The Nature of God
We see much of the nature of God in this psalm. God is good, ready to forgive, and plenteous in mercy (v.5); one who answers prayer (v.7); above all gods and His works are above all works (v.8); great, and God alone (v.10); great in mercy (v.13); full of compassion, gracious, longsuffering, plenteous in mercy and truth (v.15).
The Nature of Man
We also see the nature of man in this psalm. Man is poor and needy (v.1); holy—set apart for God’s service (v.2); in trouble (v.7); inferior to God in works (v.8); helpless (v.13); proud and violent (v.14); and hateful (v.17).
You cannot read this psalm, much less study it, without coming away with a greater reverence for God and a right perspective of man. We are nothing; God is everything. There is no one else like God. There is no other god like our God, all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving. And yet this great God cares for us so much that we who are nothing are everything to Him.
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Photo taken in Brevard, NC, 2017