Who is Like our God?

June 21, 2019 Preacher: Nisin Mathew Series: Guest Speakers

Topic: Missions Scripture: Psalm 86:1–17

Home Group Study - Sermon Date: 21 June 2019

Text: Psalm 86:1-17


Opening Discussion: A man who worked as a messenger for a photo lab got a message on his beeper instructing him to pick up a package at an unfamiliar company with a long, difficult name. He looked skyward and exclaimed, “God, where am I supposed to go?” Just then, his pager came on, this time with the client’s exact address. Share your story when God has answered your prayers in a tangible clear way.


Do you ever wish that every prayer worked like that? You pray and instantly a voice gives you the answer you’re looking for! The reality for many of us is that prayer is a much more difficult process. We need all the help we can get on how to pray more effectively. Psalm 86 gives us a helpful lesson on prayer. It is written by David. In many ways, it is not a very original psalm. We don’t need originality in our prayers, but rather, reality with God. Psalm 86 is the earnest, heartfelt cry of a man of God in a desperate situation laying hold of the God whom he knew well.

The psalm is filled with 15 requests, some of them repetitive, directed at God with a strong sense of urgency. It falls into four sections: In 86:1-7, David cries out in great need for God to hear and act on his behalf. Then (86:8-10), in a deliberate statement of praise, David worships God as the only true God, the Lord of the nations. In 86:11-13, David asks God to teach him His way and to unite his heart to fear God’s name, so that he will glorify His name forever. Finally (86:14-17), in light of his fierce enemies, David again appeals to God’s mercy and grace to deliver him.

Although there are many lessons on prayer in this psalm, the main lesson is simple: Our great needs should drive us to pray to the great God, who alone can deliver us. David prophesies that all nations will worship before God and glorify His name (86:9). He also affirms that he will glorify God’s name forever (86:12). So in all of our troubles, we should be looking for ways to magnify the Lord, so that others will be drawn to Him. In the midst of life-threatening situations, such as David was in, we can still affirm (86:5), “For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.”

Investigation & Interpretation:

  • Read: Psalm 86:1-17
  1. How does the psalmist describe himself in verse 1-3?
  2. Define monotheism and its implication to verse 5 & 9.
  3. In verse 9, David prophesies that one day all nations will worship God. When will this happen?
  4. How did David know that God was “merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness?” v.15 (c.f. Exodus 34)
  5. Three names describing God are used in this Psalm. YHWH is used in v.1,3,6,11. Elohim is used in v.2, 10,12. Adonai is used in v.3,4,5,8,9,12,15. What do these names mean and represent?


How must I change?

  • Is there a Truth to be believed?

Knowing God’s attributes and His promises gives us hope and endurance in prayer. To approach God’s holy throne, we must know that He is good, ready to forgive, and abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon Him (86:5). Name one attribute of God that you think is neglected in modern man’s understanding of who God is. Why? 

  • Is there an Attitude to be fostered?

Verse 11 says, “Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name.” Most of us instinctively pray for quick deliverance, but David prays that he will learn God’s ways. US President, Abraham Lincoln came to know Christ personally through the burdens that he faced during the Civil War[1]. Why are trials necessary? Why is a teachable heart essential to go through these trials?

  • Is there a Behavior to be changed?

David knew that he could not save himself.  In verse 16, David asked God to grant him His strength. It sounds obvious to say that we have great needs that should drive us to prayer. But the truth is, our pride blinds us to how needy we really are, so that we rely on ourselves or on other people or on some godless method to get us out of our troubles. For what specific task or trial do you need God’s strength?


Seven times in this psalm, David uses the name, Adonai, or ‘Lord’ (v.3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 12, 15). It emphasizes God’s lordship and sovereignty. The Lord alone is God. He made the nations. He has ordained that they will all come and worship before Him. He is great and does wondrous deeds. John Piper summarizes: “God's greatness makes him stronger than all the gods of the universe and God's greatness makes him stronger than all the nations of the world. He rules the gods and he rules the nations, FOR (because) he is great and does wondrous things; he alone is God. God over all gods and God over all nations.”

This should give us great confidence to pray. Although the forces of darkness are powerful, none of them can compare to God. Because God has willed that all the nations whom He has made will worship Him, we can pray for the lost peoples of the world, knowing that God will bless our missionary efforts. There may be temporary setbacks, as there often have been in church history. But ultimately and finally, God will prevail. We can pray to Him as the only true God, great in power.


Prayer Points:  

  1. Pray that the Lord will pour out His Spirit on the churches and on this land.
  2. Pray that sinners will come and worship before Him, glorifying Him for His great mercy!
  3. Pray that we would acquire a biblical view of God that will give us confidence in our prayers.


[1] President Lincoln later said, “I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had absolutely no other place to go.” 


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