The psalmist pleads his earnestness, and the mercy of God, as reasons why his prayer should be heard. (1-7) He renews his requests for help and comfort. (8-17)
Verses 1-7 Our poverty and wretchedness, when felt, powerfully plead in our behalf at the throne of grace. The best self-preservation is to commit ourselves to God's keeping. I am one whom thou favourest, hast set apart for thyself, and made partaker of sanctifying grace. It is a great encouragement to prayer, to feel that we have received the converting grace of God, have learned to trust in him, and to be his servants. We may expect comfort from God, when we keep up our communion with God. God's goodness appears in two things, in giving and forgiving. Whatever others do, let us call upon God, and commit our case to him; we shall not seek in vain.
Verses 8-17 Our God alone possesses almighty power and infinite love. Christ is the way and the truth. And the believing soul will be more desirous to be taught the way and the truth. And the believing soul will be more desirous to be taught the way and the truth of God, in order to walk therein, than to be delivered out of earthly distress. Those who set not the Lord before them, seek after believers' souls; but the compassion, mercy, and truth of God, will be their refuge and consolation. And those whose parents were the servants of the Lord, may urge this as a plea why he should hear and help them. In considering David's experience, and that of the believer, we must not lose sight of Him, who though he was rich, for our sakes became poor, that we through his poverty might be rich.
Psalms 86:1-17 . This is a prayer in which the writer, with deep emotion, mingles petitions and praises, now urgent for help, and now elated with hope, in view of former mercies. The occurrence of many terms and phrases peculiar to David's Psalms clearly intimates its authorship.
1, 2. poor and needy--a suffering child of God, as in Psalms 10:12 Psalms 10:17 , 18:27 .
I am holy--or, "godly," as in Psalms 4:3 , 85:8 .
4. lift up my soul--with strong desire ( Psalms 25:1 ).
5-7. unto all . . . that call upon thee--or, "worship Thee" ( Psalms 50:15 , 91:15 ) however undeserving ( Exodus 34:6 , Leviticus 11:9-13 ).
8. neither . . . works--literally, "nothing like thy works," the "gods" have none at all.
9, 10. The pious Jews believed that God's common relation to all would be ultimately acknowledged by all men ( Psalms 45:12-16 , 47:9 ).
11. Teach--Show, point out.
the way--of Providence.
walk in thy truth--according to its declarations.
unite my heart--fix all my affections ( Psalms 12:2 , 4:8 ).
to fear thy name--(compare Psalms 86:12 ) to honor Thy perfections.
13, 14. The reason: God had delivered him from death and the power of insolent, violent, and godless persecutors ( Psalms 54:3 , Ezekiel 8:12 ).
15. Contrasts God with his enemies (compare Psalms 86:5 ).
16. son . . . handmaid--homeborn servant (compare Luke 15:17 ).
17. Show me--literally, "Make with me a token," by Thy providential care. Thus in and by his prosperity his enemies would be confounded.