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Are You Needy?

Sometimes there is a person we describe as “needy,” because they always seem to need extra attention and love.

And we certainly don’t think of “needy” as a compliment. We would prefer that they could be more independent, and that they could get along without receiving so much help from others.

When David wrote Psalm 86 he was in serious trouble. He was surrounded by his enemies. And he won’t hide his helplessness. He actually puts it up front (v. 1):

Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy.

David is praying because he realizes that he can’t get along by himself, and he will never be able to turn back the enemy’s attack. He is vulnerable and desperate.

David’s confession of neediness is of course not about money. He was the king of Israel, with great wealth, vast resources, and mighty armies. But the Holy Spirit helps him see through it all. We might have many assets and formidable talent and even lots of earthly supporters, but at bottom, we are utterly incapable.

Without God’s help, our condition is hopeless. As sinners we are too weak to resist the devil and his temptations, we are too ignorant to discern God’s will, and we are altogether too frail to endure past tomorrow.

Someone who is physically poor and needy might well ask for a handout. Someone who realizes their spiritual vulnerability and incompetence can only plead for God’s charity. And that is not easy to pray. We tend to have a high regard for ourselves, a thinly-disguised pride that deceives us into thinking we’re doing just fine: “Other people need help, not me.”

Yet for any prayer to be true, it needs to be offered in a deep humility before the LORD. You and I are that needy person!

Whenever we offer a prayer, in whatever the circumstances—good or bad or just normal—we ought to remind ourselves of this truth from 1 Peter 5:5,

God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.

When we pray like that, God does indeed give grace. As David gladly confessed in Psalm 86, “You, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you” (v. 5).

And it is for the sake of the crucified Jesus that the LORD comes near the needy. Christ used to be rich, but for our sakes he became utterly poor, so that we might receive all the wealth of his salvation! (2 Cor 8:9)

Realize your true need, confess it, and then learn to be richly satisfied in Jesus Christ.


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