To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul…

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Psalm 86: 1 Incline your ear, O LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. 2 Preserve my life, for I am devoted to you; save your servant who trusts in you. You are my God; 3 be gracious to me, O Lord, for to you do I cry all day long. 4 Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. 

Here the psalmist, King David, describes himself as “poor and needy”. Of course, as a king we know he’s not referring to an economic need, but a spiritual one. I’m struck by the following verse:

“Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.”

David is a king with many servants at his beck and call. He gives commands, people act accordingly. But David doesn’t describe himself as king before the Lord, but rather “your servant”. In his relationship with God he doesn’t give commands, but receives them and acts on them. He depends on God as David’s servants depend on him. And so, as a servant of God, David turns to God in his our of need. “…for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul”. This is what a servant does – appeals to his master.

David’s petition of humility is an action borne of identity.

Lord, this very day there are many with troubled souls. Desperate souls. In some ways I can be counted among them. I too am poor and needy. Like David, we are your servants. Lift our spirits, dear God, as we lift our souls to you. Amen.

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