Today’s Scripture Lesson: Psalm 86
I want to encourage you to open your Bible or Bible App and read the entire Psalm on your own, allowing the Holy Spirit to minister to you directly through His Word.
In the last Bible Study To GO, we looked at God’s lovingkindness and we also looked at how the Bible deals with fear. If you missed the last one, I’d encourage you to read it after you’ve read this Bible Study to GO, as it will help solidify some of today’s teaching.
In the opening verses, David cries out to the LORD in his need and affliction. He states in verse 2, “Preserve my soul, for I am a godly man; O You my God, save Your servant who trusts in You.” I’ve been looking at this second verse and one phrase keeps jumping out at me, “for I am a godly man.” I’ve viewed this phrase, pondered this phrase, prayed over this phrase, and I’ve come to a conclusion: There are two kinds of people who say this: 1, fools, and 2, godly men and women. Allow me to clear up how they are distinguished.
The fool looks at himself/herself and his/her actions, and weighs these things against the world and when he/she feels comparatively good, he/she says, “I am godly.” The fool’s standard ignores the holiness and righteousness of God.
The godly man/woman, on the other hand, looks not at the world. Instead, he/she looks to his/her Creator and says, “I’m not worthy, but He’s my God, and because I am who He says I am, I am godly.”
Verses 8 and 10 help to solidify this truth. They read, “There is no one like You among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like Yours . . . For You are great and do wondrous deeds; You alone are God.”
David wrote this Psalm fully focused on his Creator. In understanding this, we can look at David’s primary focus and understand that he was a godly man. David points to the wondrous deeds and works of the Creator. He points out that in all the world we will not find “any works like Yours.” When Christian leaders tell us we cannot work our way into heaven, looking at a verse like this we can understand why. We cannot work our way into heaven because there are no works like God’s works. To put it simply, our works will always come up short in regard to securing a spot in heaven.
Who Is God’s Nation?
I’m shifting gears here so this next statement might be a bit out of left field – so consider yourself warned.
In the American church, it isn’t uncommon to see the Gospel diluted with American patriotism. I make this statement not to present a long thesis paper, but to help you view verse 9 with a little more clarity. In a number of American churches, it wouldn’t be a far stretch for a minister to superimpose the United States of America on verse 9 which states, “All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, and they shall glorify Your name.” I want to shake you out of that theological leaning by directing you to 1 Peter 2:6-10. It reads,
6 “For this is contained in Scripture:
“BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A CHOICE STONE, A PRECIOUS CORNER stone,
AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”
7 This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve,
“THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED,
THIS BECAME THE VERY CORNER stone,”
“A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE”;
for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom, they were also appointed.
9 But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
10 for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY.”
What is this nation about which David writes? Peter makes it plain and simple. It’s the body of Christ, that is, it is a nation of believers. And, these believers come from many nations.
As a side note, I stuck with the NASB translation for this quotation. In verse 9, a number of translations read “A CHOSEN PEOPLE” rather than “A CHOSEN RACE.” It needs to be understood that it is easy to superimpose meaning and thus misuse Scripture. The “race” spoken of here has nothing to do with being red, yellow, brown, black, or white. It has everything to do with being adopted into God’s family. So a simple caveat is this: Don’t superimpose your race or your country onto God’s Word; it’s only going to complicate and create division. Therefore, “What God has joined together, let no man separate.” (Mark 10:8) This applies to all covenants, not just the marriage covenant.
Teach Us, O Lord
The last verse I want us to zoom in on before getting to our “play call” is verse 11. This verse sums up why I enter Scripture with peace, eagerness, joy, and hope. This verse states, “Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name.”
David relied on his heavenly Father to teach him. How cool is that? Do you do that? Did you know you’re not only allowed to do that, but you’re encouraged to do that?
In the Old Testament, God filled select people with His Spirit. Then, Jesus came and taught not only hundreds but thousands. You see in the Gospel that many called Jesus, Rabbi. “Rabbi” means “teacher.” Finally, Jesus tells His disciples (this includes all followers of Christ) in John 14:26, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” [See also Luke 12:12]
We so often look for teachers among us rather than turning to the Teacher, the Holy Spirit, who dwells in us. When we open Scripture we are never alone. God is the author of life and He has breathed life into His Word. He uses His Holy Scripture to reveal Himself and His Holy Spirit is active and ready to teach when His Word is present. It is this teaching which allows us to “walk in Your [His] truth.” It is this teaching which “unite[s] my heart to fear Your [His] name.” (I’ll let the last Bible Study to GO speak to and define this fear.)
So, What’s the Play Call?
You only need to read verse 12.
“I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, and will glorify Your name forever.”
You’ve read it, now GO!