Question 2: "What Is God?" - Psalm 86

  • What is God?

  • God is the creator and sustainer of everyone and everything. He is eternal, infinite, and unchangeable in his power and perfection, goodness and glory, wisdom, justice, and truth. Nothing happens except through him and by his will.


  • In any long-term relationship, you can get stuck in a rut. What are the factors at play when a relationship feels stale? How do you relate to someone afresh?


  • To revitalize your relationship with God, pay careful attention to who and what he is.
  • If you are in a relational rut with God, it’s likely because of an un-remedied distortion of what God is actually like.

Psalm 86

Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me,
    for I am poor and needy.
Preserve my life, for I am godly;
    save your servant, who trusts in you—you are my God.
Be gracious to me, O Lord,
    for to you do I cry all the day.
Gladden the soul of your servant,
    for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
    abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer;
    listen to my plea for grace.
In the day of my trouble I call upon you,
    for you answer me.

 There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
    nor are there any works like yours.
All the nations you have made shall come
    and worship before you, O Lord,
    and shall glorify your name.
For you are great and do wondrous things;
    you alone are God.
Teach me your way, O Lord,
    that I may walk in your truth;
    unite my heart to fear your name.
I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
    and I will glorify your name forever.
For great is your steadfast love toward me;
    you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

 O God, insolent men have risen up against me;
    a band of ruthless men seeks my life,
    and they do not set you before them.
But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
Turn to me and be gracious to me;
    give your strength to your servant,
    and save the son of your maidservant.
Show me a sign of your favor,
    that those who hate me may see and be put to shame
    because you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.

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Old Self

  • In Psalm 86, David was in a tight spot. He was poor and needy. Yet, in the midst of his difficulty, he looked to God and paid attention afresh to what God was truly like. What prevents you from truly paying attention to God and his character?
  • When we experience relational dysfunction, whether with God or with anyone else, the cause of that dysfunction can likely be traced back to a distorted understanding of what God is like. What are ways a misunderstanding of what God is like can negatively impact your life?

New Self

  • When we pay attention to the bigness of God, there is always some aspect of his character or nature that draws us into worship. What are ways that “hallowing” the complexities of God’s nature compels us into awe and loving devotion to God?


  • This week, spend 15 minutes a day contemplating some aspect of God’s character that you haven’t really meditated on before. For example, perhaps you already appreciate God’s transcendence (he can’t be contained by anything), but haven’t really thought about his immanence (nothing is too small for him or his concern); then spend 15 minutes a day meditating on the fact that God is concerned about the “small” things in your life.


Our Creator and Sustainer, everything holds together in you. The smallest creature is known to you, and the mightiest army is at your command. You rule with justice. Help us to trust your goodness in all that you will. Amen.