- The following article is from the Psalter Hymnal Handbook.
A prayer for God's forgiving mercy and for deliverance from the threat of ruthless enemies–to the praise of God’s greatness and goodness.
st. 1 = vv. 1-3
st. 2 = vv. 4-5
st. 3 = vv. 6-8
st. 4 = vv. 9-10
st. 5 = vv. 11-12
st. 6 = vv. 13-16
st. 7 = vv. 16-17
This psalm is fitting for any of God's people threatened by those who would rob them of their security as children of God. The psalmist's hope and plea is that God will graciously forgive his children and deliver them as well. "Poor and needy" in a time of great peril, the psalmist pleads for God's help as a servant who trusts confidently in the LORD (st. 1). With the psalmist, we pray for God's mercy on us and for the comfort of forgiveness in a time of need (st. 1-2). 0 LORD, you far outshine all other gods, says the psalmist (st. 3); you command the praise of all people (st. 4). The psalmist asks for guidance in the way of truth and vows to praise and glorify the LORD forever (st. 5; v. 12). Then he praises God for abundant love and grace and returns to a plea for help (st. 6), mercy, renewed strength, deliverance, and comfort–so that enemies may be put to shame in the knowledge that the LORD is our friend (st. 7). Bert Polman versified this psalm in 1983 for the Psalter Hymnal, retaining several lines from the 1912 Psalter.
When the church suffers threats to its security and well-being, and many other occasions. Stanzas 4 and 5 make a fine doxology for the conclusion of worship.
MASON, by William F. Sherwin, was published as a setting for the first three stanzas of Psalm 86 in the 1912 Psalter and in all previous editions of the Psalter Hymnal. Since he studied with Lowell Mason, Sherwin could well have named the tune after him. Dale Grotenhuis harmonized MASON in 1985. The seven phrases of this tune should be sung with the sense of two very long lines. Antiphony is useful in singing the entire psalm.
- Visit hymnary.org for more information on this song and additional resources.