March 1: Psalm 86

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March 1: Psalm 86

Cry to the God of Covenant Love

Long meter double                                     Before the Throne of God Above
In Christ Alone
Guidance (He Leadeth Me), p. 110
Sweet Hour of Prayer, p. 119
(use a repeat of verses 1-2 or 3-4 to end the psalm)

Incline Thy ear, O Lord, and hear, for I am poor and great in need;

Preserve my soul, for Thee I fear; O God, Thy trusting servant heed.

O Lord, be merciful to me, for all the day to Thee I cry;

Restore my joy for unto Thee I lift my soul, O Lord Most High.

For Thou, O Lord, art good and kind, and ready to forgive Thou art;

Abundant mercy they shall find who call on Thee with all their heart.

O Lord, incline Thy ear to me, my voice of supplication heed;

In trouble I will cry to Thee, for Thou wilt answer when I plead.

There is no God but Thee alone, nor works like Thine, O Lord Most High;

All nations, Lord, shall round Thy throne their great Creator glorify.

In all Thy deeds how great Thou art! Thou one true God, Thy way make clear;

Teach me, O Lord, unite my heart to trust Thy truth, Thy Name to fear.

O Lord, my God, with all my heart I give Thee praise for evermore,

For rich in cov’nant love Thou art, my soul from death Thou didst restore.

O God, the proud against me rise, the wicked who delight in strife;

They set not Thee before their eyes, they seek to take away my life.

But, Lord, in Thee all grace is found, Thou God Who dost compassion show.

Thy truth and goodness still abound, to wrath and anger Thou art slow.

In mercy turn and look on me, thy servant true, Thy chosen one;

Let me Thy great salvation see, and strengthen me my course to run.

Some token of Thy love bestow, which they who hate me now may see;

Let them, O Lord, be shamed and know that Thou dost help and comfort me.

O Lord, be merciful to me, for all the day to Thee I cry;

Restore my joy for unto Thee, I lift my soul, O Lord Most High. (verses 3-4)

In Psalm 86, we hear the voice of the Lord’s suffering and death. Among the important themes in these lines, one will observe our Lord’s deliberate identification with the poor and needy. Our Lord makes Himself one with all those myriad human beings who suffer persecution, even death, by those willing and powerful enough to inflict it. This poverty of Christ is more than a mere social and economic condition. Rather, it is integral to His being God’s servant (“the servant of the Lord” spoken of repeatedly in Isaiah), and is also the metaphor for His assumption of our fallen flesh, when He “emptied Himself and assumed the form of a servant” (Phil. 2). Even as He prays in this psalm for deliverance from His adversaries, Jesus also speaks with the assurance of faith: “I will give thanks to Thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart, and will glorify Thy name forever. For Thy lovingkindness toward me is great, and Thou hast delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.” (Reardon, p.169-170)

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