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Scripture Memory Meditation | Psalm 86:15

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But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love and truth
Psalm 86:15 (CSB)

At its heart, this psalm is a plea for God's grace and mercy. God’s grace and compassion does not come to those who appeal to their own goodness, but to those who recognize God’s character and see his goodness to them as undeserved. "For you, O Lord, are kind and ready to forgive, abounding in faithful love to all who call on you" (86:5). The rehearsal of God's goodness, mercy, patience, faithful love, and truth in this verse again prompts prayer in the verses that follow (86:16-17). David asks the Lord in 86:16 to turn to him and be gracious to him (cf. 86:3), to give him strength, and to cause salvation for him.

How often do you stop and think about your life? Do you ponder your weaknesses, your failures, your fickleness, your mistakes, your sins? David considered his state in verse 1: “I am poor and needy.” He knew and acknowledged his position before God. We live broken lives that are pervaded with sin. Do you feel your sinfulness? An incorrect response to experiencing sinfulness is seeking to influence God's view of us with our own rule-keeping or morality. And of course, we then fall short. We should remember that God does not desire sacrifice, but humility of heart (Ps. 51:16-17). When David felt his sinfulness and his need for God, he responded with a prayer of praise and pleading for God’s mercy and grace.

The message of the Bible is that God is a savior. God saves sinners. He saves those who recognize themselves to be sinners. When Jesus took on the form of man, we were able to see what was only shadowy in Psalm 86. Jesus was God's grace and mercy in the flesh. In Jesus God's goodness could be physically experienced: touched, seen, and heard. Jesus lived, died, and rose again for the forgiveness of sin, so that every penitent sinner could know the fullness of God’s love. And there is no sinner too sinful for God’s love and grace to reach. As you ponder your sinfulness, also ponder his grace, mercy and love that ever outstrips even your sin.[1]

The hymn “Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy” illustrates the truths presented in Psalm 86.

 

Come, ye sinners, poor and needy

Weak and wounded, sick and sore

Jesus ready, stands to save you

Full of pity, love and power

 

I will arise and go to Jesus

He will embrace me in His arms

In the arms of my dear Savior

Oh, there are ten thousand charms

 

Come, ye thirsty, come and welcome

God's free bounty glorify

True belief and true repentance

Every grace that brings you nigh

 

Come, ye weary, heavy-laden

Lost and ruined by the fall

If you tarry 'til you're better

You will never come at all

 

I will arise and go to Jesus

He will embrace me in His arms

In the arms of my dear Savior

Oh, there are ten thousand charms

 

Feel Him prostrate in the garden

On the ground your Maker lies

On the bloody tree, behold him

Sinner, will this not suffice?

 

Lo, the incarnate God ascended

Pleads the merit of his blood

Venture on him, venture wholly

Let no other trust intrude

 

I will arise and go to Jesus

He will embrace me in His arms

In the arms of my dear Savior

Oh, there are ten thousand charms

 

[1]ESV Devotional Psalter (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2017), Psalm 86.

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