Rejoice the soul of Your servant, for to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul. For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You. (Psalm 86:4–5—NKJV)

We have all experienced it. You are on the playground in grade school and one of your buddies says, “Oh, you don’t want Mr. Rigby, he is a hard teacher.” Along comes the next marking period and you find out, to your dread, that you have Mr. Rigby. As time passes you find that Mr. Rigby is actually a good teacher and, in fact, he just may be the best teacher you ever had.

I had to learn to make up my own mind about whether any given teacher was a good teacher. While it was acceptable to listen to the opinions of other students, it was important to allow a teacher to have a fair chance at earning a favorable opinion from me. I learned it was unfair to allow my decision to be clouded by the experience of others.

Similarly, it is unfair for the thinking man to allow his judgment of his Creator to be skewed by the poisoning bitterness of others. Unregenerate man often operates in the playground mindset. He wanders among his peers and is swayed by their opinions born out of an elevation of self-centered significance and purpose. Speaking evil of God is as old as Satan and the Garden of Eden, for reasons both real and imagined (unsaved man is at war with God and therefore experiences the consequences).

God reveals about Himself by general revelation through the created realm, but He reveals Himself in His special revelation of the inspired Word, the Bible. When a man submits himself to the authority of God’s Word, and trusts Christ as his Savior from sin and to righteousness, he submits to the preeminence and priority of his Creator. Self-centered evaluation is abandoned and he embarks on the quest of doing all to the glory of God.

David’s psalm is a prayer of a devoted heart. Regardless of the opinions of men, David speaks forth what he has known first hand. He knows by experience and precept the flawless character of the covenant-keeping God. His words give voice to his practical knowledge.

The first thing to notice is that he is solely dependent upon God for answers to his prayer requests, for you see no hint of any other allegiance. This thought is amplified by the fact that he recognizes the lordship of the Almighty by alluding to himself as the servant and to God as the Master. His lifting up of his soul means that he longs for, and sets his hope upon, God. These are the words of a regenerated soul richly steeped in the unchanging character of the One who is love—God the Father.

Also take note of the three reasons he gives for his expectation of God’s answers to his requests. 1) God is good, a term with various shades of meaning from agreeable and pleasant to fair and virtuous. He is good through and through, good unmixed, right and true. 2) God is ready to forgive and ready to pardon. His act of pardoning is distinct from covering in atonement or bearing away guilt. God is the only One who can release a person from sin’s penalty and declare him positive in righteousness. 3) God is abundant in mercy, extraordinary in His gracious kindness and beneficence. He bears Himself towards His believing servants only in a manner that is faithful and kind in all His acts toward His beloved.

This is the experience of the saved child of God in every interaction with his heavenly Father. God is the model for the best father among men. He abounds in love (Psalm 90:14–16). Do not trust the jaded opinions of the narrow-minded, schoolyard rabble. Let the Lord make known His loving-faithfulness to your trusting, believing heart.

Are you born again so that you can claim that you are a child of God and entitled to His goodness? Have you resisted evaluating God solely through the parameters of self-centered significance? Have you remained fresh in your expectation of divine lovingkindness? Sometimes it helps to push the reset button of our thinking. Trust and obey.