Friday, November 18, 2005

Getting Heard By God

Bow down Your ear, O LORD, hear me;
For I am poor and needy.
Preserve my life, for I am holy;
You are my God;
Save Your servant who trusts in You!
Be merciful to me, O LORD,
For I cry to You all day long.
Rejoice the soul of Your servant,
For to You, O LORD, I life up my soul.
For You, LORD, are good, and ready to forgive,
And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.
Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer;
And attend to the voice of my supplication.
(Psalm 86:1-6)
Notice the basis, and all the elements thereof, by which David makes his appeal before Yahweh (the name signified by the word “LORD,” in all caps).

Need. “Hear me, for I am poor and needy.” In Psalm 23, David identified Yahweh as his shepherd, and that he would he would not be in want, but that his cup would overflow.

Holiness. “Preserve my life, for I am holy.” It is very important to understand that holiness is not about our behavior, but about God’s purpose. For to be holy means to be set apart for divine purpose. God is not willing for His purposes to go unfulfilled, therefore we can look to Him to preserve us.

Covenant. “You are my God.” Yahweh is the name by which God reveals Himself in covenant to His people. David lays out the relationship before the LORD and stands firmly upon it: You are my God, I am Your servant — we are committed to each other. Though we might often falter in our commitment, God never falters in His.

Trust. “Save Your servant who trusts in You.” The Hebrew word for “trust,” batach, indicates a bold confidence. We come to God believing, expecting to receive, for He has promised.

Single-minded Faith. “Be merciful to me, O LORD, for I cry to You all day long.” The word behind “merciful,” hanan, means to bend down and show favor. David expects the favor of God because he is focused upon God alone for his help. He is not a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways (see James 1:7). He is confident God will hear because he calls only on the name of the LORD.

Humbleness. “For to You, O LORD, I lift up my soul.” David is not lifted up in pride, but yielded before God. The Bible says, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the LORD, and He will lift you up” (James 4:10). It is letting God have His way in our lives — and His way is always good.

The Goodness of God. “For You, LORD, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.” David has experienced intimate relationship with Yahweh and discovered His heart. Three things he has learned about Him:
  • He is good. He is totally good, in and of Himself. There is no evil or lack of any kind in Him. He is good and He loves goodness.
  • He is ready to forgive. He is not implacable or inaccessible, but ready to be found and eager to forgive.
  • He is merciful. Here the word for “mercy” is hesed, the deep love by which Yahweh has committed Himself to His people.
The key to experiencing the goodness, forgiveness and deep, abiding love of God is to call upon Him. The Bible says, “Whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).

Notice that David never made his appeal to God based upon his own goodness, his own behavior, his own worthiness. It is all about God and God alone — His goodness, His love, His mercy, His purpose, His desire. We simply yield, call on His name and believe Him to do what He promised.

It is not hard to get heard by God. We must come by faith, believing that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:3). And when we know that He hears us, we know that we have whatever we have asked of Him (1 John 5:14-15).