Being Poor and Needy


This morning as I was doing my devotions through the book of Psalms, I came across Psalm 86. The opening verse struck me.

“Hear me, Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy.” Psalm 86:1

How often do we admit that we’re poor and needy? I’m not talking about financially poor. Nor am I talking about someone being so needy that drama follows them wherever they go. Poor and needy is a spiritual state here. A state that is created when one is completely sapped dry spiritually and has no more left to give. A state that where one is spiritually dry and in need to be filled with the Living Water. That kind of poor and needy.

And this is where David’s at.

He says later: 

“Hear my prayer, Lord; listen to my cry for mercy.” Psalm 86:6

Now there’s something about Hebrew poetry in the Bible that’s interesting. It’s called parallelism. That’s where two sections parallel one another with different ways of saying the same thing. What I’m getting at here is that prayer and cry for mercy are parallel here.

I don’t think we always get that. I don’t think we always associate prayer with a cry for mercy. Many times we associate prayer with a time of bringing a laundry list before God telling him what we want. That’s not prayer. Prayer is giving your full heart out to God and begging him to listen to you and then waiting to hear from him. Prayer here is a a cry for mercy. A crying out to God for him to listen and hear what is being said.

David says: 

“Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart that I may fear your name.” Psalm 86:11

How many times do we have a divided heart? How many times does our heart get pulled in different directions? When we let God teach us his ways we learn to rely on His faithfulness. When we allow God to teach us His ways, we begin to have an undivided heart and have a deep respect for who He is.

But who is He? Who is this God that David’s crying out to, to whom David pleads for mercy and prays? He is God almighty.

David confesses who God is when he says: 

“You, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” Psalm 86:14

This is a confession, a refrain, found throughout the Old Testament. From the book of Exodus where Moses gets all up in God’s face and tells Him these exact words, to the prophets getting all up in the faces of the kings telling them of these words. These are words describing who God is. The God to whom we cry out to mercy for. A God who gives mercy, compassion, and is faithful to those who are poor and needy in spirit.

Jesus says in what is called The Sermon on the Mount: 

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God.” Matthew 5:3


Too often we get blessed mixed up with being happy. I’ve heard sermons and Bible studies that talk about how blessed means to be happy. That’s not how it goes at all. It isn’t happy are the poor in spirit. It’s not that at all.

Blessed here has the idea of being envied. That you are given so much of something that others envy you for having it. Envied are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

When you know that you are poor and needy in spirit, you know that there’s only one way you can be filled—Jesus. When you’re poor and needy in spirit, there’s only one place you can go to be filled—in the presence of God through Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Are you poor and needy in spirit? Are you so dry right now that you don’t know which way to go? Cry out to God in mercy, He is slow to anger, abounding in love, compassionate and faithful. He hears your cries when you are poor and needy and He answers them.

Cry out to Jesus, cry out in your poorness and neediness and you will be filled.

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