Written by Paul J. Bucknell on December, 07, 2021
Psalm 138:8 Prayers Born in Faith
“The LORD will accomplish what concerns me; Your lovingkindness, O LORD, is everlasting; do not forsake the works of Your hands” (Psalm 138:8, NASB).
An Introduction to Psalm 138:8
The last line of Psalm 138:8 shows us how David entrusted himself to the Lord, His Shepherd (Psalm 23). He begins the Psalm with joy,
“I will give You thanks with all my heart” (verse 1),
but continuing on he finds himself navigating through troubled times,
“Though I walk in the midst of trouble” (verse 7).
This tension of trust escalates to the top of his concerns, leading us to ask, “How do I practice trusting God with the difficulties that I face?”
This dilemma makes verse 8 so helpful by revealing his closing thoughts—not the struggle itself but having found resolve and inner peace—he discovers how to rest in the Lord.
It’s important to note that verse 8 starts with a faith statement and becomes a prayer. This is the path we will take to learn how to entrust our most difficult circumstances to the Lord. He begins with thanks in this Psalm, and though he does not quite end there in verse 8, he gets very close, resting in the Lord. Perhaps, “I thank you” to “I trust you.”
1. God’s Sovereign Care
“The LORD will accomplish what concerns me” (Ps 138:8a).
Faith statements are the words we use to express to the Lord what we believe. They stretch deep down into our hearts, to our true confidence. Many people say they believe in God’s love and care but do not genuinely believe. When tested, their ‘faith’ shatters into many pieces of doubt.
Many past experiences inspire David’s words of confidence. They blend into a testimony of his confidence here. As we explore the truths emanating from this line, consider what you believe, for the Word of God helps each of us grow in our faith.
Although the Lord looks like a title, Yahweh, the personal name of God, is the proper Hebrew word David uses here. He refuses to use the generic term god or God to describe His Helper—He who has pursued David over his life, saving him from so many difficulties.
David, the shepherd, the general, and king knew how to make and accomplish plans. He was well acquainted with how Yahweh, His God, could step in at the last moment and change everything. Consider his various battles. Was not each one a test of survival? At times, the enemy outnumbered his forces. But again and again, he saw God’s intervention in His mighty yet sometimes unusual ways of deliverance. David did not know how God would help him, but he didn’t doubt God’s ability and power to do so.
“what concerns me”
While “accomplish” refers to strength and might, “concerns me” indicates God’s care and choice to oversee David’s life. These are not insignificant words but are packed full of meaning. Beyond this evident favor stands God’s choice. God chose to be involved in David’s life. Even though God is all-powerful, it doesn’t do David nor any of us any good unless Yahweh determines within Himself to constantly keep guard over his and our lives. David expresses his astonishment God’s remarkable commitment to him.
“Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it” (Psalm 139:6).
God leaps far beyond the knowledge of our lives into a lifelong commitment to be there for us no matter what troublesome situations we face.
This trio of phrases, forming this one line, unveils David’s great confidence in God. David bases his ability to predict the future upon how Yahweh has faithfully cared for Him and promised to bless him in the future. Our knowledge of God’s sovereignty must become our genuine deep belief oozing out in faith statements like this, leading us into powerful prayers like David’s.
2. God’s Ongoing Care
“Your lovingkindness, O LORD, is everlasting” (Ps 138:8b).
David follows up his faith statement with two endearing prayerful lines.
Let’s return to the prayer, a personal conversation between you and God. In line one, it’s “The LORD.” But here, it becomes, “O LORD”—You. Whether Jew, Catholic, Muslim or Protestant, religious people are good at talking about God, but not many have found that personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. And again, David is not speaking of any generic God but Yahweh Himself, seen in the original Hebrew tetragram (יהוה), transliterated as Yahweh, God’s personal name.
David commonly mentions the word, lovingkindness. The English translation tries to pick up, from the one Hebrew word (hesed, חסדך), the two senses. Both kindness and mercy are bound together in this one word. God’s lovingkindness is just what David needed; this is what we need too. The word is used over 100 times in the Psalms.
David was not the only one who made compromises in his life. He killed his faithful general Uriah to gain his wife and protect his name. God records these incidences in the Scriptures to announce God’s mercy and our great need for it. Jacob also experienced the same grace despite his fumbling; we all do if indeed we discover Yahweh’s lovingkindness.
Note how the Apostle Paul uses David’s own words to prove God saves my mercy, not by works.
“6 Just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: 7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, and whose sins have been covered. 8 “Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account” (Rom 4:6-8).
God’s endless love and kindness go on and on; it will never stop. We all are familiar with the Shepherd’s Psalm.
“Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23:6).
It’s this permanence that brings outright peace to us—even when we face devastating circumstances. Good theology reflects the truth. In this case, what is true about God, His eternal lovingkindness expressed toward His redeemed people, establishes these words, “is everlasting.”
David is content to commit His life to the Lord in light of God’s ongoing lovingkindness. God has pledged to care for him.
3. God’s Merciful Care
“Do not forsake the works of Your hands” (Ps 138:8c).
David continues his simple prayer; these words, “Do not forsake the works of your hands” might seem contrary to what I just stated, but it isn’t. He genuinely believes in God’s eternal commitment to express His lovingkindness towards him.
These words, however, become his last words of this prayer offered to Yahweh. He is hurting; he realizes how frail he is. This is not just being prey to his enemies or that his son sought to steal his crown. As we grow older, we have plenty of circumstances and people who expose our weaknesses. Our past mistakes, like daggers, lunge against our hearts.
David is again acknowledging his inability to live up to God’s standards. Despite all his awards and acclaims, he admitted his spiritual poverty,
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mat 5:3).
David knew God made him, but he did not always make the right decisions. If God treated him on that basis, God would indeed forsake him—even as God opposes His enemies. But Yahweh’s lovingkindness is everlasting. There must have been times David thought God’s grace had left him, like his predecessor King Saul, but rediscovered God’s favor still with him despite his failure.
David cleverly closed his humble prayer acknowledging his weaknesses and his need for Yahweh’s mercy in light of the present difficulties. He reminds the Lord that His lovingkindness, His covenant love, endures forever. And so, David follows his bold statement of trust by closing with a simple prayer, resting in the peace that comes from knowing God.
Bible Discussion Questions on Psalm 138:8
“The LORD will accomplish what concerns me; Your lovingkindness, O LORD, is everlasting; Do not forsake the works of Your hands” (Psalm 138:8, NASB).
- Why does the word “LORD” have all capitalized letters in the NASB translation? What is the significance of this?
- Why do you think David speaks more about God’s plan for him than about his plans?
- Does David believe God is involved in the details of the lives of His people? Answer from the first line of Psalm 138:8.
- Does David believe God is involved in the details of the lives of His people? Why or why not?
- What two senses does the one word ‘lovingkindness’ hold? How do they complement each other?
- What difference does it make that God’s mercy is everlasting?
- Why do you think David added this last line of Psalm 138?
- David started with a faith statement and then proceeded to a simple prayer. Do you ever do this? If not, do it now. You can start with the one David used (Ps 138:8a).
- What is one worry you have about your life and work? Bring it now to the Lord and entrust Him with it.
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