Psalm 86:4–5 – Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. 5 For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
Psalm 86 is written by King David. It seems to be written in a period when David was feeling down. He in fact describes himself in the first verse as “poor and needy”. We don’t know the exact circumstances David is going through. We may get a clue when in the 14th verse of the Psalm David laments the fact that the proud have risen against him and the assembles of violent men are seeking after his soul. Surely this would cause him to be discouraged. These verses ring especially true for those who like David are down for whatever reason.
Please note that the Psalmist sees himself as a servant. The servant calls himself such and also uses the term “Adonai” which means Master. Because David is a servant he is submissive to His Master. He is also dependent on the Master for much of his livelihood.
These two verses have one request by the Psalmist. David asks the Lord to “Gladden the soul of your servant”. The Hebrews word for “gladden” is “samach” which simply means “to rejoice in an intense way”. In this case he is asking for his soul to be made to rejoice exceedingly. Of course, if his soul is made glad it will come through his whole person. It won’t be something he can hide.
David gives two reasons for this prayer. Reason one is that to His Master, His Lord, he has lifted up his soul. The King went to the right person to get joy. He didn’t seek to get it from his job as king or from his family or from his riches or from his ministry. He went to the source. He lifted up his soul to the Lord. He had a perspective of the Lord as his Master. The Hebrew word for lift up is “nasa”. It is picture of moving to a higher elevation. So, the Psalmist picked up his soul and presented it to the Lord for help and healing.
The second reason for this prayer to be made glad by the Lord is because of who God is. The Lord (Adonai – Master) is good. The goodness of our Lord is limitless. It knows no end to its depth. Its height is unmeasurable. Tied directly to His goodness is the fact that He is forgiving. He is ready to pardon (Hebrew “salah”) our sin.
Besides being good and forgiving our Lord is also abounding in steadfast love. He is a God who is overflowing with royal, loyal love to all who call upon Him. His loving kindness/steadfast love/mercy is ours for the asking.
David, the King and our Psalmist, strongly asks the Lord to make Him rejoice in an intense manner. He asks this because he is lifting his soul to the Lord. He also is keeping in mind God’s goodness. Meditating on that goodness should gladden our soul. Our Lord is also forgiving. Do you hear that. He forgives sinners like you and me their sins. That truth alone should gladden our heart. The truth that He abounds in steadfast love to the one’s calling on Him should make us break out in song with a gladden soul.
Here is a simple exercise to bring these truths from Psalm 86:4-5 home. Draw or use a chart like the one below. Begin with a prayer lifting your soul to the Lord asking Him to gladden your soul. Fill in the chart the best you can.
|Here are examples of God’s goodness toward me||Here are the sins God has forgiven me of||Here are some examples of God’s steadfast love to me (undeserved blessings)|
Brother or sister are you down today? Have the circumstances of life wiped the smile off your face? Ask, in a strong way, the right person (the Lord, the Master) with the right perspective (as a servant) being in the right place (in prayer to Him) and focusing on the right properties (The Master’s goodness, forgiveness and steadfast love). You’ll be surprised how quickly your soul will be gladdened.
Psalm 92:4 – For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy.
Blessings, Pastor Dave Watson