Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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November 5 – The Life And Prayer Of The Godly

“A Prayer of David. Incline your ear, O LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. Preserve my life, for I am godly; save Your servant, who trusts in You – You are my God.  Be gracious to me, O Lord, for to You do I cry all the day.”  Psalm 86:1-3

Devotional Thought For The Day

We begin a new psalm this morning, and what a delightful and faith-filled psalm it is!  It is identified as a psalm of David, no doubt composed and prayed during one of his many times of crisis.  It is a deeply humble prayer, acknowledging his inability to extract himself from the opponents and dangers he is facing and his utter need for God’s deliverance and protection. It is a thoroughly repentant prayer, praising God for His gracious mercy and forgiveness and asserting full trust and confidence in God’s gracious love.  With all of these components, it is a prayer that we can also take up to calm our hearts in all times of difficulty and trial, as we also rely on God for everything.

The psalmist begins with a description of himself and his circumstances.  This hardly accords with what we assume a king’s life would be like.  He describes himself as “poor and needy,” and as a “servant.”  This is reality, even for a king, if one properly understands Who God is – for the power of life and death, the power to make wealthy or poor, all rests in God’s hands.  Without His blessing and protection we have absolutely nothing, regardless of how rich and powerful we might think we are. Riches and wealth, power and prestige, can all evaporate rapidly if God turns His hand against us.  The psalmist understood this and prayed piously with proper humility and faith, and we do well to follow his example every day.

Strangely, at least to our ears, the psalmist also describes himself as “godly.” This first strikes us as rather proud and arrogant, and the opposite of being “poor and needy,” and inconsonant with a prayer for God to be gracious.  However, the psalmist understood that the only way that a person can be “righteous, godly, and holy” was by God’s gracious mercy and forgiveness, through faith alone.  That the psalmist was not claiming to be sinless, morally good, perfect, and righteous by his own actions, is made clear in his many references to God’s grace, mercy, forgiveness, and compassion.  It is clear that the psalmist is identifying being “godly” with one who has humble, repentant faith and trust in God’s gracious forgiveness and mercy.  The Hebrew word in the text is “chasad,” from the root word meaning “merciful, kind, good.”  One can only have these characteristics who knows and believes the love that God has for us, and who has been conformed to His image through faith.  So he identifies himself as one not trusting in himself, but rather trusting in God.

Again, we do well to acknowledge and live in the truth and reality conveyed by the psalmist, and to emulate his faith and trust in God’s grace, mercy, love, and goodness. We do well to pray this way to God “all the day” – for then we are living in constant recognition of His goodness and love toward us, His mercy and kindness.  This is what changes our own hearts and minds, so that we truly reflect His image in our thinking, caring, being, and behaving.  This alone is what makes a sinful human being into a humble, repentant, and “godly” person.  God grant it to us all in rich abundance!

Prayer For The Day

Dear Lord Jesus Christ, we see Your kind, gentle, humble, love and goodness reflected in the faith of the psalmist.  We need Your grace, mercy, love, and protection just as he did.  Strengthen our faith and trust in You, and encourage us in such prayer all the day, that we too put full trust and confidence in You.  Enable us to reflect Your goodness and kindness in our living.  Amen.