In Psalm 86, Israel’s king David writes: “a band of ruthless men seeks my life.”
The psalm could have come from a number of times in David’s life, but the interesting thing about the psalm is that he focuses not on his plight, but on God.
Though he addresses God as “you” throughout the prayer, there are six times he does so in a special way (only five of them appear in your English Bible). Go read the psalm this way, putting the emphasis in these passages:
Verse 2 – YOU are my God . . .
Verse 5 – YOU are forgiving and good . . .
Verse 10 – YOU alone are God.
Verse 15 – YOU, O Lord are a compassionate and gracious God . . .
Verse 17 – YOU, O Lord, have helped me . . .
David wants God to hear that God is the focus of his life and prayer.
David has three motivations to appeal to God: First, God’s nature. He is forgiving and good, abounding in love and faithfulness, compassionate, gracious, and slow to anger. He is unique: there is none like Him and He alone is God.
Second, he knows God can help him because He has helped him before.
Third, he appeals to God because he is the Lord’s servant. John Goldingay writes: “By definition servants are people who are weak and needy; they have no power and no resources of their own and have to trust their master. They are people who have only one master and serve that master wholeheartedly. But the master is someone with power and resources, and a servant can call on the master and expect to find support and help. The relationship is not merely a contractual one . . . It makes demands on the servant and takes away from the servant’s freedom, but it also makes demands on the master and takes away from the master’s freedom. It gives the servant something to appeal to. In earthly servant-master relationships, doubtless that often failed to work, and a servant might feel inhibited in appealing to it. Servants of the Lord need no such hesitation.”
Never forget. You are the Lord’s servant, and He is the ever faithful master. On Him we can depend — when He is our only master.