How David Sees God in Psalm 86

After reading two different articles written by David Kitz on Psalm 86, I felt compelled to do some additional study.


What was it about His messages that compelled me to want to learn more?



Let’s Take a Look

A Position of Humility

He shared that David came with a heart of humility (“Hear me LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and needy”). This is the same attitude of humility that Jesus would like us to approach Him with (Matthew 5:3 – “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”). (The titles contain a direct link – to his posts)


Are You Wholehearted?

Why was David able to receive such a profound revelation – that Jesus would be born of his family line and be Savior of the World? — Because he asked God, “Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.” He asked to be wholehearted with a single-minded focus on God.



I know that I want to  approach the LORD with a single focused wholeheartedness and the right kind of humility.  In order to ensure that I do this, I need to know who God is and how He wants to be known.



Psalm 86 With God Highlighted

Divided Into 3 Sections (Strophes)

Verses 1-5

A Prayer of David. Incline your ear, O YAHWEH, and answer me, for I am poor and needy.
2 Preserve my life, for I am godly; save your servant, who trusts in you— you are my ELOAH.
3 Be gracious to me, O ADONAI, for to you do I cry all the day.
4 Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O ADONAI, do I lift up my soul.
5 For you, O ADONAI, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.


Verses 6-10

6 Give ear, O YAHWEH, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace.
7 In the day of my trouble I call upon you, for you answer me.
8 There is none like you among the gods, O ADONAI, nor are there any works like yours.
9 All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O ADONAI, and shall glorify your name.
10 For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are ELOHIM.


Verses 11-17
11 Teach me your way, O YAHWEH, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.
12 I give thanks to you, O ADONAI my ELOAH, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.
13 For great is your steadfast love toward me; you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.
14 O ELOHIM, insolent men have risen up against me; a band of ruthless men seeks my life, and they do not set you before them.
15 But you, O ADONAI, are EL merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
16 Turn to me and be gracious to me; give your strength to your servant, and save the son of your maidservant.
17 Show me a sign of your favor, that those who hate me may see and be put to shame because you, YAHWEH, have helped me and comforted me.



What Can We Learn Today From Psalm 86

  1. It is one of 5 Psalms known as a Tephillah or prayers. This type of prayer was to be a “service of the heart,” a song of praise.
  2. This is the prayer of an afflicted and humble soul in a time of persecution (Psalms 86:14), intermixed with outbursts of praise (Psalms 86:5, 8-10, 15) and thankfulness (Psalm 86:12, 13).
  3. Metrically, it seems to divide itself into three strophes. Verses 1-5; 6-10; and 11-17.
  4.  Five different names are used for God in this Psalm.



Meaning of Each Name


It means, “my Master.” It conveys the idea of rulership or dominion. – Used 7 times in this Psalm



means, “I AM” – He had no beginning and will never end. Everything relies on Him. God is constant. – Strictly speaking this is the only proper name for God. Translated in our English Bibles as “LORD” (all capitals) to distinguish it from Adonai, “Lord.”  It is used 4 times in this Psalm. Yahweh is present, accessible, near to those who call on Him.



Singular form of Elohim – Mighty Powerful One. (God) – Used 2 times in this Psalm.



Strong Controller or Sovereign – Used once in this Psalm.



God “Creator, Mighty and Strong” – it is a plural term – Used once in this Psalm. From the Bible’s first sentence, the superlative nature of God’s power is evident as God (Elohim) speaks the world into existence.


Something To Think About

David did not know God as “Our Father.” Yet take a look at how he addresses Adonai (Master) – “ADONAI you are merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” Isn’t that how we think of our Loving Heavenly Father?



Next week we will take a closer look at Adonai – until then remember – God loves it when we pray and seek His help in all areas. He also loves it when we let Him do His part. Our part is to pray with humility and wholeheartedness to a loving Father who is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and full of faithfulness.



I would really like to know how Psalm 86 has impacted you.

Please leave a comment below.



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