86:0The psalmist had trouble. Bad people were attacking him. We do not know why or when. He prayed to God about it. This psalm is his prayer, or the words that he prayed.
But this prayer is special. The psalmist did not use his own words. He used the words of David! He also used words that Moses wrote in the Book of Exodus. He took some bits from Psalms 25-28, some pieces from Psalms 54-58 and some from other psalms and other parts of the Bible. And he made a new psalm from them!
Bits and Pieces
Words that David prayed.
1 LORD, turn your ear to me, answer me!
Because I am weak and need help.
86:1‘Answer me’ in verses 1 and 7 does not mean that the psalmist will hear God speak. It means that God will give him help. The gods of verse 8 are the false gods of the people attacking the psalmist. The united heart in verses 11 and 12 means a heart (or person) that serves (obeys) God only. He does not try to serve (obey) God and somebody or something else. This is what Jesus said in Matthew 6:24, ‘You cannot serve God and Mammon.’ Mammon means money or what money can buy. ‘When I think of your name’ in the Hebrew Bible is ‘to be afraid of your name.’
2 Save me from death because I am one of your people.
Keep me your servant safe. You are my God.
I am someone that is trusting in you.
86:2In verse 2, ‘one of your people’ is a special Bible word. It is someone that has accepted God's love. Some Bibles translate it ‘saints.’ ‘I lift myself to you’ in verse 4 means ‘I give myself to you.’ Some Christians show this by lifting their hands when they pray. In verse 5,the word ‘forgive’ means more to Christians than maybe it did to the psalmist. To him it meant ‘excuse.’ To Christians it means that God gave their sin to Jesus for them when Jesus died for them. That was when God punished Jesus for our sin!
3 My Lord, give me mercy!
All through the day, I am praying this to you.
4 Make me your servant happy!
Because I lift up myself to you, my Lord.
5 My Lord, you are good. Also, you forgive people.
You give your kind love to everyone that prays to you.
6 Turn your ear to what I am praying, LORD.
And listen to my voice when I cry for mercy.
7 On the day that I have trouble I will pray to you,
because you can answer me.
8 None among the gods is like you, my Lord.
And nobody can do what you can do.
9 All the countries that you have made will come
and worship before you, my Lord.
They will say how great your name is.
10 For you are great. You do great things.
You alone are God.
11 LORD, teach me your way. I will walk in your truth.
Make my heart united when I think of your name.
12 I will praise you, my Lord and my God, with all my heart.
I will always tell people that you are really great!
13 I will do this because there is so much of your kind love to me.
You will save me from going to the lowest part of Sheol.
86:13‘Kind love’ in verses 13 and 15 is a word like ‘your people’ in verse 2 in the Hebrew Bible. God's people (or saints) are the people that have accepted his kind love. Read the note on Psalm 85:10. In verse 16 we read that the psalmist's mother was also a servant of God.
14 God, proud people are attacking me.
A group of cruel men is trying to kill me.
They do not think about you.
15 But you, my Lord, are a God that loves people and gives them mercy.
You are slow to become angry and you are full of kind love.
You do not leave your people when they have trouble.
16 Turn to me and give me mercy. Make me your servant strong
and make the son of your woman servant safe.
17 Show me something that tells me that you are good.
Let my enemies see it and be ashamed.
Because you, LORD, have given me help and been kind to me.