Psalm 86:11
Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(11) A reminiscence of older psalms. In addition to the marginal references, see Psalm 26:3.

Unite my hearti.e., unite all my powers and concentrate them on Thy service. No doubt with recollection of Deuteronomy 6:5; Deuteronomy 10:12. Comp. also Jeremiah 32:39, on which apparently the expression is directly based. An undivided will is in morals and religion equally essential.

Psalm 86:11. Teach me thy way — Wherein thou wouldst have me to walk. As thou hast taught me by thy word, so also teach me by thy Spirit, that I may clearly discern thy will and my duty, in all conditions and circumstances. I will walk in thy truth — In the way of thy testimonies and precepts, which are true and right in all things; and the only true rule of thy worship and service, and the only true way to happiness. Unite my heart to fear thy name — Engage and knit my whole heart to thyself and service, and deliver me from inconstancy and wavering, that I may not, at any time, or in the least degree, be withdrawn from thee, either to any corrupt worship, or to the love and pursuit of the lusts and vanities of this present evil world. Observe, reader, it is the continual subject of the Mediator’s intercession above, and should be the subject of our prayers below, “that we may be taught the way of Jehovah, the way to life eternal, prepared for us, through faith and love, which is in Christ Jesus,” and that we may walk therein “without error in doctrine, or deviation in practice, believing all things which God hath revealed, and doing whatsoever he hath commanded us; that the affections of our hearts may be withdrawn from other objects, and, being no longer divided between God and the world, may become united in the filial fear of his name: as the grand principle of action.”

86:8-17 Our God alone possesses almighty power and infinite love. Christ is the way and the truth. And the believing soul will be more desirous to be taught the way and the truth. And the believing soul will be more desirous to be taught the way and the truth of God, in order to walk therein, than to be delivered out of earthly distress. Those who set not the Lord before them, seek after believers' souls; but the compassion, mercy, and truth of God, will be their refuge and consolation. And those whose parents were the servants of the Lord, may urge this as a plea why he should hear and help them. In considering David's experience, and that of the believer, we must not lose sight of Him, who though he was rich, for our sakes became poor, that we through his poverty might be rich.Teach me thy way, O Lord - That is, in the present emergency. Show me what thou wouldst have me to do that I may obtain thy favor, and thy gracious help.

I will walk in thy truth - I will live and act in accordance with what thou dost declare to be true. Whatever that may be, I will pursue it, having no will of my own.

Unite my heart to fear thy name - That is, to worship, obey, and honor thee.

(a) The end which he desired to secure was that he might truly fear God, or properly reverence and honor him;

(b) the means which he saw to be necessary for this was that his "heart" might be "united" in this one great object; that is, that his heart might be single in its views and purposes; that there might be no distracting purposes; that one great aim might be always before him.

The word rendered "unite" - יחד yāchad - occurs as a verb only in three places. In Genesis 49:6, it is rendered united: "Unto their assembly, mine honor, be not thou united." In Isaiah 14:20, it is translated joined: "Thou shalt not be joined with them." The adverb - יחד yachad, occurs often, and is rendered together, Genesis 13:6; Genesis 22:6, Genesis 22:8,Genesis 22:19; Genesis 36:7; et saepe. The idea is that of union, or conjunction; of being together; of constituting one; and this is accomplished in the heart when there is one great ruling object before the mind which nothing is allowed to interfere with. It may be added, that there is no more appropriate prayer which a man can offer than that his heart may have such a unity of purpose, and that nothing may be allowed to interfere with that one supreme purpose.

11. Teach—Show, point out.

the way—of Providence.

walk in thy truth—according to its declarations.

unite my heart—fix all my affections (Ps 12:2; Jas 4:8).

to fear thy name—(compare Ps 86:12) to honor Thy perfections.

Thy way; wherein thou wouldst have me to walk. As thou hast taught me by thy word, so also by thy Spirit enlighten my mind, that I may clearly discern thy will and my duty in all conditions and circumstances.

In thy truth; in the way of thy precepts, which are true and right in all things, as he saith, Psalm 119:128, and the only true rule of thy worship, and the only true way to man’s happiness.

Unite my heart, engage and knit my whole heart to thyself and service, and deliver me from inconstancy and wavering, that I may not at any time, nor in the least degree, be withdrawn from thee, either to any corrupt worship, or to the love and pursuit of the lusts or vanities of this present evil world.

Teach me thy way, O Lord,.... The methods of thy grace, which thou hast taken, and dost take, in the salvation of men, in the contrivance, impetration, and application of it; or the way which thou hast marked out for thy people to walk in, the way of thy commandments: each of these the psalmist had knowledge of before; but he desires to be more and more instructed therein, as every good man does; see Psalm 25:4.

I will walk in thy truth; in Christ, the truth of types, and by whom grace and truth came, and who is truth itself, and the true way to eternal life; and to walk in him is to walk by faith in him, in hope of eternal happiness through him, John 1:17 or in the truth of the Gospel, of Gospel doctrine, Gospel worship, and Gospel conversation; to walk in it is to walk becoming it, and abide by it, its truths and ordinances; see 2 John 1:4.

unite my heart to fear thy name; there must be an heart given to man to fear the Lord; for the fear of the Lord is not naturally in their hearts, or before their eyes; and they should have, not a divided and distracted heart, an heart divided between God and the world, between the fear of God and the fear of man; but a heart united to the Lord, that cleaves to him, and him only; a single and a sincere heart; a heart that has a single view to his glory, and a sincere affection for him; and such a heart the Lord has promised to give to his people, in order to fear him, Jeremiah 32:39.

{h} Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.

(h) He confesses himself ignorant till God has taught him, and his heart variable and separate from God, till God join it to him, and confirm it in his obedience.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
11. Teach me thy way, O Lord] Word for word from Psalm 27:11.

I will walk in thy truth] When Thou dost teach me Thy way. From Psalm 26:3.

unite my heart to fear thy name] Let it be no longer divided between Thee and other attractions; let all its powers and affections be concentrated in reverence to Thee as Thou hast revealed Thyself in the works of creation and in acts of redemption. The unity and uniqueness of God demand unity of heart in His worshippers (Deuteronomy 6:4-5; Deuteronomy 10:12). Such singleheartedness is frequently expressed by the phrases ‘a whole heart,’ ‘a perfect heart,’ but the verb unite is found here only in this sense. Doubtless it is an allusion to the promise in Jeremiah 32:39, “I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me for ever.” Cp. too Deuteronomy 28:58.

The LXX and Syr. read the consonants with different vowels (yichad for yachçd), let my heart rejoice to fear thy name.

Verses 11-17. - The third strophe is almost equally divided between prayer and praise, vers. 11, 16, and 17 being devoted to the one; and vers. 12, 13, and 15 to the other. Ver. 14 is of the nature of a complaint. Verse 11. - Teach me thy way, O Lord; I will walk in thy truth (comp. Psalm 25:4; Psalm 27:11; Psalm 119:33). Man cannot know "the way of the Lord," unless he is taught of God. The inward anointing of the Spirit is needful to teach us what God would really have us do (1 John 2:27). It is only when we are thus taught that we can "walk in his truth." Unite my heart to fear thy Name. So Symmachus, who has ἕνωσον; Canon Cook, Dr. Kay, Hupfeld, Professor Alexander, and the Revised Version. Hengstenberg prefers "incline my heart;" and Professor Cheyne would alter the text into accordance with the LXX., Αὐφρανθήτω ἡ καρδία μου, "Make my heart to rejoice." But the textual reading has the weight of authority in its favour, and gives an excellent sense, "Bring all my heart into unison, that it may be wholly fixed on thee." Compare the following verse. Psalm 86:11Here, too, almost everything is an echo of earlier language of the Psalms and of the Law; viz., Psalm 86:7 follows Psalm 17:6 and other passages; Psalm 86:8 is taken from Exodus 15:11, cf. Psalm 89:9, where, however, אלהים, gods, is avoided; Psalm 86:8 follows Deuteronomy 3:24; Psalm 86:9 follows Psalm 22:28; Psalm 86:11 is taken from Psalm 27:11; Psalm 86:11 from Psalm 26:3; Psalm 86:13, שׁאול תּחתּיּה from Deuteronomy 32:22, where instead of this it is תּחתּית, just as in Psalm 130:2 תּחנוּני (supplicatory prayer) instead of תּחנוּנותי (importunate supplications); and also Psalm 86:10 (cf. Psalm 72:18) is a doxological formula that was already in existence. The construction הקשׁיב בּ is the same as in Psalm 66:19. But although for the most part flowing on only in the language of prayer borrowed from earlier periods, this Psalm is, moreover, not without remarkable significance and beauty. With the confession of the incomparableness of the Lord is combined the prospect of the recognition of the incomparable One throughout the nations of the earth. This clear unallegorical prediction of the conversion of the heathen is the principal parallel to Revelation 15:4. "All nations, which Thou hast made" - they have their being from Thee; and although they have forgotten it (vid., Psalm 9:18), they will nevertheless at last come to recognise it. כּל־גּוים, since the article is wanting, are nations of all tribes (countries and nationalities); cf. Jeremiah 16:16 with Psalm 22:18; Tobit 13:11, ἔθνη πολλά, with ibid. Psalm 14:6, πάντα τὰ ἔθνη. And how weightily brief and charming is the petition in Psalm 86:11 : uni cor meum, ut timeat nomen tuum! Luther has rightly departed from the renderings of the lxx, Syriac, and Vulgate: laetetur (יחדּ from חדה). The meaning, however, is not so much "keep my heart near to the only thing," as "direct all its powers and concentrate them on the one thing." The following group shows us what is the meaning of the deliverance out of the hell beneath (שׁאול תּחתּיּה, like ארץ תּחתּית, the earth beneath, the inner parts of the earth, Ezekiel 31:14.), for which the poet promises beforehand to manifest his thankfulness (כּי, Psalm 86:13, as in Psalm 56:14).
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