Psalm 86

Psalm 86
Confidence in the Character of Jehovah
Psalm 86. In this Psalm of David we have the remnant of Israel in a sort of in between state. They know that they are in a relationship with Jehovah and are confident in His character, but they do not yet possess the kingdom blessings. Circumstances arise which case Israel to again cry out to Jehovah for deliverance. Once again, enemies approach Israel; “the assembly of the violent. If we take this progression of Psalms as chronological, then the attack of Psalm 86 comes after the ten tribes have returned to Israel (Psa. 84-85). This would make the attack of Psalm 86 the second attack of the Assyrian under the name “Gog and Magog” (read Ezek. 38). The Psalm is divided up into four parts: vv.1-5; vv.6-10; vv.11-13; and concluding in vv.14-17. It isn’t until that final conclusion that they actually ask the Lord to protect them from the enemy. A pattern is seen in the three sections. In v.1; v.6; and v.11 the psalmist begins by addressing him as “Jehovah” (Israel’s covenant relationship with Him), but in the remainder of each section, Israel addresses Him as “Lord” (Adoni) or “God (Elohim), calling upon His power and majesty for deliverance!
A Prayer of David.
1 Incline thine ear, Jehovah, answer me; for I am afflicted and needy.
2 Keep my soul, for I am godly; O thou my God, save thy servant who confideth in thee.  
3 Be gracious unto me, O Lord; for unto thee do I call all the day.
4 Rejoice the soul of thy servant; for unto thee, Lord, do I lift up my soul.
5 For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive, and art of great loving-kindness unto all that call upon thee.
vv.1-5 Confidence in Jehovah’s Forgiveness. Israel begins by asking Jehovah to hear their prayer. They cite their afflicted and needy condition (v.1), their own godliness, or proper behavior (v.2), as well as their continued supplication to Jehovah. The ask for His grace, relying on His goodness and forgiveness; “For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive, and art of great loving-kindness unto all that call upon thee”. Notice that they do not speak as having been forgiven, but as confident in One who is willing to forgive.
6 Give ear, O Jehovah, unto my prayer, and attend to the voice of my supplications.
7 In the day of my distress I will call upon thee, for thou wilt answer me.
8 Among the gods there is none like unto thee, Lord, and there is nothing 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, thou alone.
vv.6-10 Confidence in Jehovah’s Greatness. They ask again for Jehovah to hear their prayer, and speak of being in a day of distress. The “day” spoken of here would seem to be at a later date than that of Psalm 79 and 83. Here it refers to the second attack of the Assyrian, under Gog and Magog, and patterned in history by the attack of Sennacherib, king of Assyria. In that second historical attack, there was a great discourse of Rab-shakeh, sent by Sennacherib, against the God of Israel (2 Kings 18). In 2 Kings 18:33-35, Rab-shakeh argued that Jehovah was no greater than other gods; Have any of the gods of the nations delivered at all his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath and of Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah? and have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? Which are they among all the gods of the countries, who have delivered their country out of my hand, that Jehovah should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?” Apparently Gog will cast similar arguments in the teeth of Israel as they come down from the uttermost north. They come down because they do not believe the Lord is there. The faith of the remnant rise above these arrows of doubt, and they can say “Among the gods there is none like unto thee, Lord, and there is nothing like unto thy works.” They can look forward with confidence to the day when “All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord, and shall glorify thy name.” The basis of their confidence is in the greatness of God; truely they can say “thou art great”, and “thou art God, thou alone”.
11 Teach me thy way, Jehovah; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.
12 I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with my whole heart; and I will glorify thy name for evermore.
13 For great is thy loving-kindness toward me, and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest Sheol.
vv.11-13 Confidence in Jehovah’s Love. Israel asks Jehovah to teach them His way, as the long to walk in His truth. The new heart that they have delights to do God’s will, and this will result in full-hearted praise. The ground of their confidence in this section is “thy loving-kindness toward me”, through reflecting on past deliverances; “thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest Sheol”.
14 O God, the proud are risen against me, and the assembly of the violent seek after my soul, and they have not set thee before them.
15 But thou, Lord, art a GOD merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in goodness and truth.
16 Turn toward me, and be gracious unto 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; for thou, Jehovah, hast helped me and comforted me.
vv.14-17 Confidence in Jehovah’s Grace: A Prayer for Protection. Israel cries out to God (not Jehovah), and tells Him of the proud invading army poised to enter the land; “the assembly of the violent seek after my soul”. It is a perilous time, but Israel’s confidence in God is on the basis of His mercy and grace (v.15). The remnant prayer for grace, strength, and salvation from the imminent danger. Israel’s desire is that the proud enemies would be ashamed, and see that Jehovah is on their side!