Teach me your way

Psalm 86 is identified as a “prayer of David.” He began by asking YHVH, the God of Israel, to listen and answer him, because “I am faithful” (Psalm 86:2). God is always “abounding in faithful love to all who call on you” (Psalm 86:5). God is always faithful to his people and God wants his people to be faithful. On this basis, we can “call on you in the day of my distress, for you will answer me” (Psalm 86:7). This is one of the great privileges of being a child of God.

Notice how David described God: “For you, Lord, are kind and ready to forgive” (Psalm 86:5). So often our view of God is that he is just waiting to pounce on us when we do wrong. This is not the view we find of God in the scriptures. God is loving and kind – he not only wants what is best for us but gives us those things that we need.

When we do wrong God wants to forgive. Perhaps the problem is in our feelings of guilt or desire to justify our sin. We know we have done wrong but sometimes we delight in sin. God wants to forgive but we realize that we have to make the decision to turn our back on sin and come to him for forgiveness. “I call on you in the day of my distress, for you will answer me” (Psalm 86:7).

What is it that we need? “Teach me your way, Lord, and I will live by your truth. Give me an undivided mind to fear your name” (Psalm 86:11).

So often our thoughts are divided. We desire sin yet know God wants us to follow him. We need to better tune our minds to God’s ways. We need to continually learn God’s ways so we can live by his truth.

Although we realize that there is no one like God, that he alone is God (Psalm 86:8-10), how often are we pulled towards the “gods” that we prefer? It isn’t that most of us bow down to images, but anything we place before God becomes the god we are worshipping. What did Jesus say? “No one can serve two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24). We need an “undivided mind to fear your name.”

The God we serve is “compassionate and gracious…slow to anger and abounding in faithful love and truth” (Psalm 86:15). The picture we have here of God is that he is the ultimate in patience. Isn’t this a characteristic of love? God loves us, he “abounds” in love – a love that is faithful – and truth.

God has always been the loving Father who wants to help and comfort his children (Psalm 86:17). We can rely on God to always be there for us.

Sometimes it may seem that God is not around, especially when there are those who are constantly attacking us. David seems to have experienced this frequently, as this is one of the themes that runs through his psalms and we see it in this psalm as well (Psalm 86:14, 17). David reminds us that God is always there. He is all-powerful. He can – and will – defeat all our enemies.

May we, as David did, center our lives on God and the truth of God’s word.

“Teach me your way, Lord, and I will live by your truth. Give me an undivided mind to fear your name. I will praise you with all my heart, Lord my God, and will honor your name forever. For your faithful love for me is great, and you rescue my life from the depths of Sheol” (Psalm 86:11-13).

Readings for next week:
19 November – Psalm 68
20 November – Psalm 69
21 November – Psalm 71,86
22 November – Psalm 91-93
23 November – Psalm 94-95

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Jon Galloway

After graduating from Freed-Hardeman College and teaching school for three years, as well as preaching for small congregations in West Tennessee, Jon & Arlene moved back to her home of Glasgow, Scotland. Since 1985 Jon has been involved in evangelistic work in the Glasgow area, currently serving the congregation in East Kilbride. They have three grown children. Besides writing 'Bible Bytes', Jon is also one of the editors of the "Christian Worker," a news magazine for congregations in the UK, and is a teacher and governor for the British Bible School.

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