Got Problems? Become A Missionary - by Pete Norris

Psalm 86

1 Incline your ear, O , and answer me,Lord

for I ampoor and needy. 

Preserve my life, for I amgodly; 

save your servant, whotrusts in you—you are my God. 

Be gracious to me, O Lord,

for to you do I cry all the day...

9 All the nations you have made shall come

and worship before you, O Lord,

and shall glorify your name...

11 Teach me your way, O ,Lord

that I maywalk in your truth; 

unite my heart to fear your name.

12 I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,

and I will glorify your name forever.

Sometimes you read passages in the Bible and something stands out as being particularly odd. Psalm 86 is one of those passages. Allow me to point out some of the strangeness of this psalm, and then how it can actually help us.

What do the nations have to do with my problems?

Psalm 86, written by King David, is a lament psalm i.e. a psalm where the writer is in a situation of trouble, distress or anguish. We know this from the first few verses: “answer me”, “save your servant”, “to you do I cry all the day”. It’s quite obvious that David is having a tough time.

You must have done the same thing when you’ve faced a difficult situation in your life. You cry out to God for deliverance.

But then, in the middle of this crying to God, David starts talking about the nations: “All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name” (verse 9).

Now just pause there for a second.

When you’ve been praying in distress – perhaps a problem at work, a financial difficulty, or family troubles – have you ever begun to recollect God’s plan for the nations in your prayer? I know I never have! When we’re in trouble, we tend to get more narrowly focussed on ourselves and on our problem. We can’t think or pray about anything else. But where we look inwards, David looks outwards. He takes his eyes off his situation and casts them over God’s work in the world. He does this because he has realised something.

Praise is more permanent than distress

By recalling God’s plan to draw the nations to Himself, David realises that praise is more permanent than distress. The worship of the nations that he talks about in verse 9 is more permanent than his personal problems. Revelation 7 gives us a stunning picture of people from every people and language group worshipping Jesus at the end of time (Revelation 7:9-10).

By remembering this, David begins to taste the permanence of praise and is drawn closer to the Lord. So close, in fact, that his request changes. Instead of asking for deliverance, he asks: “Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name” (verse 11). Not only does his request change, but he is also able to give thanks in the midst of his trouble: “I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever” (verse 12).

Want a faith like David’s?

Do you want to have such a strong faith so that, like David, you’re able to lift your eyes up from your troubles and give thanks to God? Then get yourself acquainted with God’s plan for the nations and what He is doing among the nations. Your faith will be enriched. Here are a few simple ways you can do that:

·         Watch this short but very moving video about a small tribe receiving the Bible in their own language for the first time

·         Buy a copy of Operation World, which tells you about the progress of the Gospel in every country in the world

·         Go on a short term mission trip (perhaps with Oak Hall) – or even become a long term missionary