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Psalm 86 - Living Different

Pastor Travis Burkett

Have you ever been in an argument that was simply based on perspective and not facts? Working in student ministries, I constantly have students who approach me with problems that have no ground for reasoning. While I want to help in each circumstance, there are times when I guide their focus not on what they think but on what the facts are in the circumstances.

David takes a similar approach in Psalm 86. He asks God to hear his prayers, but they are grounded in what he knows to be true. David is needy (vs 1), David trusts God (vs 2), David is dependent on God (vs 3), and David has confidence that God will show up (vs 7). For David, he has seen God work. He knows who God is and has confidence in His purpose. In David’s culture, there were others “gods” (such as Baal). David knew these fake “gods” held no weight, especially to the God of Israel. He says in verse 10, “For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone.” David understood that he was approaching the greatest. The only true God.

Our God isn’t just better, He is the only. He’s the beginning and the end. First and the last. He is God. David didn’t just understand God’s authority but the fact was, David needed God. His need for God was proven by God’s character: "For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.” (vs 5).

We watch as David is reminded of who God is. His prayer shifts from a need to a desire to learn. Look at verse 11: “Teach me thy way, O Lord; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.” In desperation, David recognizes His need to learn God’s plan and walk in His truth.

I love this challenge from Psalm 86. However, sometimes it’s a slap in the face. I am so good at putting “gods” above the one true God. My heart can serve pride, busyness, family, security, prosperity, control, or fill in the blank… It’s easy to say, “You alone are God” but how have those words changed the way that I live my life? Let our prayer today recognize what we already know: He alone is God… But may that truly change how we live, study, and serve.

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