(Reading List Theme 1.7)

“Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth. Unite my heart to fear your name.” – Psalm 86:11

I love this Psalm. It epitomizes “a pursuing heart” – for this psalmist is fully in pursuit of the Lord. I think the lesson of this psalm can be found in three lists: The action of the pursuer, the self-description of the pursuer, and the description of God.

THE ACTION OF PURSUIT

Looking at the verbs in the psalm, I see how to pursue God. Incline your ear, O Lord (v.1)… I cry all the day (v.3)…Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer (v.6)… In the day of my trouble I call on you (v.7).  A pursuing heart seeks the Lord, repeatedly, as often as we think of our own need.

Preserve…save (v.2)… be gracious (v.3, 16)… the Lord is the one who can help the most – seek him first!

Teach me your way… unite my heart (v.11)… Seek advice from God and his word more than from other people or sources. How do I unite my heart? Don’t just say, “I trust God” or “I want to learn from God” but follow through with actions. A united heart is unwavering in trust and devotion to God.

I thank you, I glorify you (v.12)…You have helped me and comforted me (v.17). I need to accentuate the positive! Find reasons to thank and praise God, and I will find help and comfort!

THE PURSUER

The psalmist describes him/herself as poor and needy, trusting in God, constantly seeking and identifying with God, giving thanks, and praising. Am I like this? I suppose any comparison of my heart to the ideal will be found wanting, but the point is, this psalmist had a definite need, and she took her need to God. When I really FEEL poor and needy, it is a little easier to seek God (if I can stop fretting), but that should be my heart all the time.

THE GOD WE PURSUE

Here is the description of God in this psalm: MY God (God is personal), “good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you”, incomparable, you are great and do wondrous things, “merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (just in case we – or she – forget, the psalmist repeats it),  one who helps and comforts. It is good to be reminded of who we are seeking!

Just as this psalmist did, we need to remind ourselves of who God is when we feel low. Maybe start a thankfulness journal, or maybe just read God’s word more often. Remember, though, that no matter how much we pursue God, it is comforting to know that he was pursuing us first. God made us for relationship, and has been working to restore that relationship ever since, right down to sending his son, Jesus, so that we might better understand our God who seeks us.

Thank you, Father, for your unending love and pursuit. Thank you, Jesus, for your example of often retreating for prayer, and for showing us how the Father really is, and how we ought to treat one another. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for giving us strength and guiding us as we seek life and truth today. “Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth. Unite my heart to fear your name.”

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