Psalm 86:11-17 (NRSV)
11Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart to revere your name.
12I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.
13For great is your steadfast love toward me; you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.
14O God, the insolent rise up against me; a band of ruffians seeks my life, and they do not set you before them.
15But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
16Turn to me and be gracious to me; give your strength to your servant; save the child of your serving girl.
17Show me a sign of your favor, so that those who hate me may see it and be put to shame, because you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.
A band of ruffians seeks to kill the author of our psalm. Now, today I don’t imagine that anyone wants to kill me, but I have had days of distress—haven’t you? During distress our psalmist turns to God. What a role model for us. Note that the psalmist doesn’t start with “Save me, God.” Rather, the first step is to take time to ask for God’s teaching, to thank God, and to promise glory to God in the future. Then in verse 15 we get a wonderful description of our God as the psalmist witnesses: “But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.”
May we too turn to our God who is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, not just in times of trouble but in all times. May we also be witnesses to others concerning this loving God.
O God, we thank you for being with us every day. We too ask you to teach us your ways. Help us share with others that you are a merciful and gracious God, who is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. Amen.