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Singing Psalm 86 no one compares to one who listens well

Is there anything as reassuring as when you know someone is really listening?

You especially want to feel heard when you are in turmoil, misunderstood, broken. Indeed no one compares to the care of one who listens well.

Dear friend, you have an enemy, and you are in a battle, but it’s not against those around you. No, it’s a spiritual battle that requires the kind of listening and fighting for you that only your maker will successfully engage. No one compares to the care of the one who made you.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” ~ Ephesians 6:10-12

Is it possible to be in the midst of a spiritual war and at the same time know peace, joy, and be secure that you are heard?

Singing Psalm 86 no one compares to one who listens well consistently

When you come to God sincerely, no one compares to the availability he makes for you. He is never put off, too busy, disinterested, or rejecting. No one compares to his attitude toward repentant sinners. If you’ve ever isolated yourself because you thought there was no one who would be there for you, you are free to come home to the one who listens well to your greatest unspoken need.

The enemy uses the same deception that worked for him with Adam and Eve. Without thinking it through, you compare God to humans, thinking his judgments are like yours – sometimes on point, sometimes off.

“To whom then will you liken God,    or what likeness compare with him?‘To whom then will you compare me,    that I should be like him?’ says the Holy One.” ~ Isaiah 40:18, 25

The triune God has your answer before you even know what questions to ask. No one compares to him.

“Before they call I will answer;    while they are yet speaking I will hear.” ~ Isaiah 65:24

No one compares to the one who gives you genuine faith and allegiance that takes you from seeking worldly things to being godly, who gives you earnestness that has you asking him and no other gods for help, who gives you a glimpse into his character of goodness, forgiveness, and steadfast love to all who call on him that has you trusting him to give you your answer if or when it would do you good. 

“Your way teach me, LORD; I will walk in Your truth;    Unite my heart Your name to fearMy Lord and my God, with my whole heart I’ll praise,    And ever Your name will revere.” ~ Psalm 86:11-12

No one compares to the Lord teaching you to wait on and rest in him in situations that tempt you to be antsy, anxious, and impatient, or dour, doubtful, and depressed. Anyone looking on might think your confidence makes no sense because their eyes are blinded to what you see by faith – Jesus and the Holy Spirit making intercession for you.

No one compares to him in listening skills. Likewise, no one compares to him in speaking skills. Jesus spoke with authority, and he spoke as your Good Shepherd. Unlike us, he always makes right distinctions. No one compares to him knowing precisely each sheep and each wolf. He listened and spoke differently to each.

Jesus listened to his sheep and spoke tenderly. No one compares to this merciful one. He listened to the wolves and spoke sharply, pointedly, so that they might see their error and turn and so that his sheep would be protected from and not be deceived by them.

In contrast, since we are not the King of kings, and Lord of lords, and since we do not know for certain even one person’s heart, we must speak even in our corrections with gentleness and respect. Just as you can’t say, “your sins are forgiven“ or “be clean”, you also cannot say “you whitewashed tombs”or “you brood of vipers.” No one compares to Jesus in his precision and depth of care. As the inerrant Word of God in the flesh, his words perfectly teach, rebuke, correct, and train in righteousness those to whom he speaks if they have ears to hear.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” ~ 2 Timothy 3:16-17

No one compares to him in teaching wisdom. As you read through and listen to all his word in context and over time, he trains you to obey him and imitate his servant heart. 

What an incredible blessing that he preserved his Word – God-breathed and inerrant – and gave us his Holy Spirit to illuminate the full counsel of God from it!

Jesus hears your heart and pleads to the Father for exactly what you need. He himself is the answer.

Therefore, shift focus from thinking of those around you to thinking of the incomparable Helper who has lent you his ear and strong arm. Come to the one that you were created to love with all your mind on their behalf much more than you think about them. He shows you what to think, say, and do. He teaches you how to love them best.

“He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” ~ Hebrews 7:25

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”  ~ Romans 8:26-27

“You truly, O Lord, are forgiving and good,    Abounding in kindness and loveTo all those who call to You. Lord, hear my prayer;    My pleading attend from above.” ~ Psalm 86:5-6

Singing Psalm 86 no one compares to one who listens well without favoritism

Singing Psalm 86, you learn that people from all nations acknowledge that no one compares to their King, the triune God, and they worship him. He is beyond comparison. There is no place too remote or too far off that would cause him not to be listening for those who are crying out to him.

The Lord heard Israel’s cries from Pharaoh’s oppression and did many signs through Moses so that he “may know that there is no one like the Lord our God…Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?” ~ Exodus 8:10, 15:11

No one compares to him in giving a caring, listening ear at all times.

No one compares to God listening to one who would fight for those who are in a covenant relationship with him as Joshua did, even though the covenant was obtained through deception as with the Gibeonites. 

“The sun stopped in the midst of heaven and did not hurry to set for about a whole day. There has been no day like it before or since, when the Lord heeded the voice of a man, for the Lord fought for Israel.” ~ Joshua 10:14 

And Israel fought for Gibeon as was the Lord’s purposeful plan to prosper them listening to their need as he stopped the sun from setting.

No one compares to him in his slowness to anger and the strength he imparts to his people.

Many years later, the Lord got David’s attention on behalf of the Gibeonites with a three-year famine since King Saul had disregarded the covenant Israel made with the Gibeonites and put many of them to death. Again, God remembered the covenant that united the Gibeonites to him. He honored their fear of him, heard their plight, and answered at just the right time.

How can you determine that he answers at just the right time? Note the time that he answered. When he did it is exactly the right time since he, who cannot do wrong, did it then. No one compares to his ability to know and perfectly time things.

Knowing this comes in handy if ever you wonder when anything is going to happen. You know that it is not time if the thing hasn’t yet happened. The moment it happens, you know that is the exact right time for it. No one compares to the Lord, sovereign and in control of everything at all times.

Sometimes we bemoan that we don’t get to call the shots. We dislike waiting. We judge our maker as if he is in our kingdom and messing it up at that. Satan set up his system in the world with all points designed to make you forget that you get to be a part of the wonderful diverse kingdom that God created and to mistrust that God would be the only one to know how it works best.

When Jesus began his earthly ministry to undo the devil’s work, he came first to the Israelites but would also have compassion on Samaritans and even Gentiles: a Gadarene, a Canaanite/Syrophoenician, a Roman centurion, and many Greeks. He later came to Saul, renamed him Paul, and prepared him to be a minister to the Gentiles.

“Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.” ~ Romans 3:29-30

No one compares to him as he seeks and finds his straying sheep throughout all nations.

God is the forgiving father looking out and listening for the return of his wayward son. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.” ~ Luke 15:20

If you think it is unfair to lesser gods that you serve the Lord your God only, to acknowledge that no one compares to him, think again.

“To this day they do according to the former manner. They do not fear the LORD, and they do not follow the statutes or the rules or the law or the commandment that the LORD commanded the children of Jacob, whom he named Israel. The LORD made a covenant with them and commanded them, “You shall not fear other gods or bow yourselves to them or serve them or sacrifice to them, but you shall fear the LORD, who brought you out of the land of Egypt with great power and with an outstretched arm. You shall bow yourselves to him, and to him you shall sacrifice. And the statutes and the rules and the law and the commandment that he wrote for you, you shall always be careful to do. You shall not fear other gods, and you shall not forget the covenant that I have made with you. You shall not fear other gods, but you shall fear the LORD your God, and he will deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies. However, they would not listen, but they did according to their former manner.

“So these nations feared the LORD and also served their carved images. Their children did likewise, and their children’s children—as their fathers did, so they do to this day.” ~ 2 Kings 17:34-41

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” ~ Acts 1:8

No one compares to Jesus whose graciousness, goodness, forgiveness, and steadfast love spread to all nations, from sea to sea, to the end of the earth.

“All nations created by You, Lord, will come,And bowing, Your name they will laud.Because You are great and great wonders have done;    For You, and You only, are God.” ~ Psalm 86:9-10

Singing Psalm 86 no one compares to one who listens well with mercy

“To whom will you liken me and make me equal,    and compare me, that we may be alike?” ~ Isaiah 46:5

The Bible is so clear that all but one fall short of the glory of God. David was godly by faith in God, but only Jesus was, is, and always will be godly on his own merit as God the Son, sinless and holy.

Jesus is the only one who was heard by the Father and pleased him without needing an advocate, mediator, or intercessor.

The Father listens to the rest of us in Christ with great goodness and mercy, the same mercy that Jesus showed sinners when he walked with them here.

“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous…whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” ~ 1 John 2:1, 6

No one compares to this one whose works satisfy, providing hope and gladness of soul.

When you see the honest portrayal of the failings of those who have faith in Jesus, let that not turn you away from God. Rather, let it instill hope that God listens to you in mercy as he listened to sinners like David who composed Psalm 86. 

No one compares to the Lord who will give you a heart after his own heart. He causes you to desire to make it your aim to have such a heart. You will never begrudge his mercy toward anyone because your heart will be filled with mercy like his.

No one compares to this one who gives favor, help, and comfort.

“Since all the day long I am crying to You,    Toward me, Lord, Your mercy renew.Bring joy to the soul of Your servant, O Lord;    I lift up my soul unto You.” ~ Psalm 86:3-4

In order to be merciful, you have to subject yourself to the possibility of being hurt, to endure pain, to experience real suffering. You are the butterfly in the pupa stage. The devil and those lesser gods who follow him promise you a quick transformation, would help you out of the chrysalis before you are formed enough to fly, then stand by shaking their heads as they watch you die.

No one compares to the Lord, perfectly patient, who gives you just the right amount of struggle that enables you to live and thrive. You might be hated by those who take the wide road looking for ease outside of Christ. Yet, when those who hate you feel shame for it, they are one step closer to seeking a heart of repentance and receiving help, strength, and mercy from the Lord.

    “And those who go astray in spirit will come to understanding,        and those who murmur will accept instruction.”

“Ah, stubborn children,” declares the LORD,    who carry out a plan, but not mine,    and who make an alliance, but not of my Spirit,        that they may add sin to sin;    who set out to go down to Egypt,        without asking for my direction,    to take refuge in the protection of Pharaoh        and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt!” ~ Isaiah 29:24-30:2

Who are the butterflies, those who always have things go their way or those who suffer the struggle through to maturity? Yet Jesus says,

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” ~ Matthew 11:28-39

Ah, rest through the struggle is possible when you come to Jesus.

Isaiah foresaw “the day when the Lord binds up the brokenness of his people, and heals the wounds inflicted by his blow.” 

    “And the effect of righteousness will be peace,        and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.    My people will abide in a peaceful habitation,        in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.” ~ Isaiah 30:26, 32:17-18

Come to anyone else for help, and unless they point you to Jesus or you turn from them and go to Jesus for help on your own, you will profoundly regret it. The end result will be as if they said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” ~ Matthew 27:4

“In days of my trouble upon You I’ll call;    An answer for me You’ll prepare.Among all the gods, LORD, there’s no one like You,    And no works with Yours can compare. ~ Psalm 86:7-8

No one compares to this one who never rejects rejectors or deceives deceivers who come to him.

No one compares to the Lord who is present, who preserves, who is merciful, and who saves.

“For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.” ~ 2 Corinthians 7:10

What are some of the possible lesser gods that lure you in to seek refuge from them? They are usually, and surprisingly so, good gifts from God that are improperly used to take his place in your heart. Do you enjoy your work that supplies money to live so you can be generous and give? Or do you work for purpose, honor, reputation, standing or position?

Then there are lesser gods aimed to satisfy mind and body: school, food, drink, exercise, things medical, love of beauty and beautiful things, hobbies, sports, music, theater and the arts, relationships with friends and family, your own thoughts, or add your specific substitute source of refuge here.

When you take the enemy’s bait to trust in lesser gods rather than just thankfully receiving them as gifts from God, it is a great mercy when the hook is revealed that they cannot deliver.

“Therefore shall the protection of Pharaoh turn to your shame,        and the shelter in the shadow of Egypt to your humiliation.    For though his officials are at Zoan        and his envoys reach Hanes,    everyone comes to shame        through a people that cannot profit them,    that brings neither help nor profit,        but shame and disgrace.” ~ Isaiah 30:3-5

It is then that the Lord snatches you out of Satan’s grasp but no one can snatch you from Jesus. He won’t lose even one of those who are his.

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” ~ John 10:27-28

O what the bridegroom does to extend his greatest love to his bride, the church, brothers and sisters united in covenant love whose sins he paid for with his death!

No one compares to Jesus “who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and father, to whom be the glory, forever and ever. Amen.” ~ Galatians 1:3-5

This one act of mercy raises those from being dead in vanity to being alive in worship of Jesus. You live to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength.

No one compares to the triune God who delivers whose who were his enemies deserving nothing but eternal damnation and gives them eternal life instead.

Yet, do you only hope to avail yourself to Jesus for a get out of hell free ticket? Then, once you get that out of the way, you move on to people to see, things to do, and places to go? You know, the important stuff for now?

Though he is the only way to salvation for all who come to him, Jesus is profoundly more to you. There is no other way to heaven except through Jesus. But do you realize that you would not want to be in heaven if the one true God, Father, Son, and Spirit, was not there?

He is so much more than all you can desire. No one compares. Not even close.

When you talk with friends, you hope that all is well with them and with their families. If they reveal that it is otherwise, and yet they are not just grinning and bearing it but have peace with joy shining through their sadness as a rose bud on a stem loaded with thorns, you know they have more than a gift. They have the Giver of all gifts. What could be greater?

Thomas Watson once said something to the effect that God sends away the wicked with riches and honor but gives himself to his people. No one compares to the King of kings who suffers for his people’s good and turns the world’s value system on its head.

    You turn things upside down!    Shall the potter be regarded as the clay,    that the thing made should say of its maker,        “He did not make me”;    or the thing formed say of him who formed it,        “He has no understanding”? ~ Isaiah 29:16

He is to be treasured and adored above all things. No one compares to God alone, most worthy of worship.

    “If favor is shown to the wicked,        he does not learn righteousness;    in the land of uprightness he deals corruptly        and does not see the majesty of the LORD.    O LORD, your hand is lifted up,        but they do not see it.    Let them see your zeal for your people, and be ashamed.        Let the fire for your adversaries consume them.    O LORD, you will ordain peace for us,        for you have indeed done for us all our works.” ~ Isaiah 26:10-12

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” ~ Isaiah 26:3

“…in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” ~ Isaiah 30:15

Whatever good things you’ve attained, nothing and no one compares to the God who hears you.

As much as you love your family and friends, no one compares to your Lord. It’s like sifting through the clouds, lovely as they are, until you get a glimpse of the brilliant sun that they were previously blocking.

All of it combined is like a drop of rain in the ocean. All is a feather on one side of a balance to mountains of granite on the other. You’d sell all you have if you could get this pearl of great price by doing so.

“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ…” ~ Philippians 3:8

In typical sheep fashion, without an intervention from the Holy Spirit, you can ponder all of this, sigh meh, and go on your way unchanged.

No one compares to the Good Shepherd of his sheep and the Holy Spirit who intercede and break through to you. Suddenly, your eyes see green pastures, still waters, and the new journey that awaits you.

Jesus is the sweetest and the entirety of life itself. He is not just better, but best. He is not just best, but only. He is not just only, but he is a supernatural person to whom no one compares.

To live is Christ, and to die is gain only because then you get to live in an even closer, more intimate way with him forever. He doesn’t need your worship but is deserving of it. He doesn’t need your life to glorify him, but you were made to glorify him. He is not only worthy of your complete devotion, but also he completely satisfies you when you give him your complete devotion. It is best for you when you have it right in your mind that no one compares to him and then do what you were created to do — worship him and live for him only — until you die and then live with him forever! Infinite exclamation points won’t suffice here.

Singing Psalm 86, you cry out now for that intimacy with the Lord Jesus who is of surpassing worth — and with whom no one compares.

    “Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you,        and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.    For the LORD is a God of justice;        blessed are all those who wait for him.”

“For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you. And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. Then you will defile your carved idols overlaid with silver and your gold-plated metal images. You will scatter them as unclean things. You will say to them, ‘Be gone!’ ~ Isaiah 30:18-22

So is it possible to be in the midst of a spiritual war and at the same time know peace, joy, and be secure that you are heard? No one compares to the only one who makes it possible – the one, holy, triune God who always listens well.

    “A sign of Your goodness renew,That all those who hate me may see and be shamed.    My help, LORD, and strength are in You.” ~ Psalm 86:17

August 25 – September 1, 2023


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