I love insightful and concise formulations of theological truth. Psalm 86:2 is such a formulation. The psalmist prays: “Preserve my soul, for I am a godly man; O you my God, save your servant who trusts in you.” Two observations:
First, the most startling element in this verse is the self-designation of the author as a godly man. I think very few people that I know would call themselves by that appellation, especially in a prayer to God. That the psalmist does this requires some exploration. As we read the passage more closely, the context of the psalm becomes clearer. The psalmist is one who has wholeheartedly given his life over to God even in the face of great difficulty and persecution. (Ps. 86:1; 14; 17) For him, only God matters. God is his salvation, hope, joy, forgiveness, and life. He is a godly man in the sense that he is a man who has given his life over to God.
Second, further reflection on Psalm 86:2 also offers two essential characteristics of godliness: service and trust. In essence, the psalmist says: “I am a godly man, because I serve and trust you.” According to this psalm, godliness is distilled to some degree in serving and trusting God. By this definition, godliness can be measured in very concrete ways – servanthood and trust.
Consider the following questions: Do you serve God even in your poverty and hardships? Or do you only serve him when you feel like it? Do you trust in his provisions and grace on a daily basis? Do you put yourself in situations where you have to trust in him, or are you so risk averse that you hesitate to take steps of faith?
Godly people take risks and serve God no matter what.
By God’s grace, may we all be godly.Tags: godliness, Psalm 86