What We Can Know

Psalm 86 | Luke 15:11-32


There are many things in life that are uncertain. But David points out 5 things we can know about God that are always certain. As was true for King David, we need to anchor our lives in these 5 absolutes and allow them to shape our world-view, mold our faith, and guide our lives.




  1. He is always there for me (Psalm 86:1-4).


  • Psalm 86:1-4 “Hear me, Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. Guard my life, for I am faithful to you; save your servant who trusts in you. You are my God; have mercy on me, Lord, for I call to you all day long. Bring joy to your servant, Lord, for I put my trust in you.”
    • David experienced many challenges in life – death of sons, ruthless attacks by enemies, and his own personal struggles – but through it all he knew God was always there for him. David called out to God with great confidence because he knew God was there.
  • Ps 86 reminds me of the story Jesus told in Luke 15. The son asks for his inheritance early so he can leave his father and pursue a life on his own. Notice something significant here: The son left, not the father. When we begin to feel a gap between us and God, guess who moved? He never moves…we do.
  • Life can be challenging but we must stay close to God. We need to remind ourselves that He is always there for us and will never leave us. That’s great news. If you have drifted from the Lord, come back to Him. He loves you and cares for you.
  • Here’s a great Scripture to memorize: “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” – Deuteronomy 31:8


  1. He cares about every detail in my life (Psalm 86:5-7).


  • Psalm 86:5-7 “You, Lord, are forgiving and good abounding in love to all who call to you. Hear my prayer, Lord; listen to my cry for mercy. When I am in distress, I call to you, because you answer me.”
    • Here we see that David knew that God was deeply interested and personally invested in every area of his life. Sometimes, let’s be honest, we think nobody cares about us or is even aware of what we’re going through. But that’s not true and it never ever will be. God always cares and is always aware. You are His child. What loving Father doesn’t care? Like God was interested and invested with David, He is with you too.
  • In the Luke 15 story, we see how that even though the son forgot about his dad and selfishly went and did his own thing, the father never forgot his son. He was watching for him, waiting for the day when he would finally come home. You get that direct sense as you ponder this parable.
  • As a father, I am very interested in the life of my boys. I want to know everything about them and every detail of their life. Even more than they want to share (ha). The thing is, our Heavenly Father cares a whole lot more than any earthly dad ever could. That’s comforting, that’s encouraging, and that’s good news!
  • God always cares and is always aware about every detail in your life. He loves you deeply.
  • Here is a great Scripture to memorize: Psalm 139:1-4 “O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord.”


  1. He is unlimited in both power and wisdom (Psalm 86:8-10).


  • Psalm 86:8-10 “Among the gods there is none like you, Lord; no deeds can compare with yours. 9All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, Lord; they will bring glory to your name. 10 For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God.
  • David knew that God alone was all powerful and all knowing. God is omnipotent and omniscient – He knows everything and can do anything.
  • In Luke 15, the son was foolish. He left the only certain thing for uncertainty. He left the best for less. He left the truth for a lie. He left what was right for what was wrong. He literally traded power for weakness and wisdom for foolishness. I wonder if we ever do this?
  • Life is busy and there is a lot going on. There’s a lot we don’t know and a lot we can’t control. We need God. He knows all, can do all, and He has our best interest at heart. We need His wisdom and strength in our life. And we need to live “connected” to His knowledge and power. How? Through faith and trust.
  • Here’s a great Scripture to memorize: Daniel 2:20-21 ““…praise be the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.” (Daniel was praying this as he was facing execution).


  1. He desires that I grow through both the good and the challenging times in life (Psalm 86: 11-13).


  • Psalm 86:11-13 “11 Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. 12 I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart;  I will glorify your name forever. 13 For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths, from the realm of the dead.”
  • Life is about growth. David knew that there were to be no wasted experiences in life. God uses all circumstances in our lives as raw materials to build us into stronger and more mature individuals.
  • In Luke 15, the son was foolish but he eventually came to his senses. He learned and grew from his mistakes. He realized it was time to rise up and pursue wisdom. He decided to come back home.
  • Making mistakes is a part of life but learning through them is key. Learning to persevere and overcome when facing adversity is also key. When we begin to feel defeated and buried by our problems we need to remember God is for us.
  • Here’s a great Scripture to memorize: Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”


  1. He is always loving and forgiving (Psalm 86:14-17).


  • Psalm 86:14-17 “14 Arrogant foes are attacking me, O God; ruthless people are trying to kill me—they have no regard for you. 15 But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. 16 Turn to me and have mercy on me; show your strength in behalf of your servant; save me, because I serve you just as my mother did. 17 Give me a sign of your goodness, that my enemies may see it and be put to shame, for you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.
  • David knew that God was not bi-polar or capricious or legalistic…but always gracious, compassionate, loving, faithful, forgiving, good, and kind.
  • In Luke 15, we see the father run to his son and wrap his arms of love around him (Jesus makes this part of the story very clear—because this parable is less about the prodigal son and more about the heart of the father). The father says bring the royal robe, ring, and let us throw a big party. My son was lost and is now come home. It is time to celebrate his return.
  • He loved his son. And God the Father loves you and me. More than we will ever know.
  • God loves us more, is more understanding, and more forgiving than any earthly parent. His love for us, His children, is amazing and great.
  • Here’s a great Scripture to memorize: Romans 8:37-39 “37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.



It is important for us to anchor in absolutes…because the shifting sands of culture and societal values are unreliable. God is always reliable. Remember these 5 things that we know to be true about God. I encourage you to pray this prayer each day.


“Heavenly Father…

  • Thank you for always being there for me.
  • Thank you for caring about every detail in life.
  • Thank for being all-powerful and all wise.
  • Thank you helping me grow through all circumstances.
  • Thank you for your unending love and forgiveness.