Intro: Psalm 40 is an explosion of praise for the way the Lord saves those who trust in him. It dwells deeply on the goodness and mercy of the Lord. It is a psalm that shows how the Lord delivers his people from their sin and enemies.
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.
1 I waited patiently for the Lord;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
2 He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the Lord.
4 Blessed is the man who makes
the Lord his trust,
who does not turn to the proud,
to those who go astray after a lie!
5 You have multiplied, O Lord my God,
your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
none can compare with you!
I will proclaim and tell of them,
yet they are more than can be told.
6 In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted,
but you have given me an open ear.
Burnt offering and sin offering
you have not required.
7 Then I said, “Behold, I have come;
in the scroll of the book it is written of me:
8 I delight to do your will, O my God;
your law is within my heart.”
9 I have told the glad news of deliverance
in the great congregation;
behold, I have not restrained my lips,
as you know, O Lord.
10 I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart;
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
from the great congregation.
11 As for you, O Lord, you will not restrain
your mercy from me;
your steadfast love and your faithfulness will
ever preserve me!
12 For evils have encompassed me
my iniquities have overtaken me,
and I cannot see;
they are more than the hairs of my head;
my heart fails me.
13 Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me!
O Lord, make haste to help me!
14 Let those be put to shame and disappointed altogether
who seek to snatch away my life;
let those be turned back and brought to dishonor
who delight in my hurt!
15 Let those be appalled because of their shame
who say to me, “Aha, Aha!”
16 But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation
say continually, “Great is the Lord!”
17 As for me, I am poor and needy,
but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
do not delay, O my God!
Main Point: As I wrote above, this psalm truly is all about the Lord’s deliverance of His saints. There is not a readily perceivable structure, and for most of the psalm David is speaking of the Lord’s deliverance, kindness, and goodness or how he will tell everyone of it. Only the last two stanzas really stray from that main thought. Even then, those stanzas are asking for the Lord’s deliverance. Psalm 40 is true to its theme of the Lord’s deliverance through and through.
Interesting Points: In the first stanza notice who is taking action. It is not David. He simply cries out and waits. It is the Lord who takes David out of the pit and places his feet on solid ground. It is just another reminder that the adage “God helps those who help themselves” just isn’t true. We can do nothing and offer nothing. He is the one who saves and rescues. Notice even the song that David sings of his deliverance comes from the Lord. One of David’s greatest gifts was writing of psalms, and yet even this was from the Lord. Salvation, first to last, is from the Lord.
Notice also that David didn’t do anything that caused the Lord to act other than cry out to him. Verse 17 teaches us that he had nothing to offer God for his deliverance, and verse 12 makes it clear that David was a horrible sinner. But God saved him because he loved him.
Verses 7-10 are a perfect picture of Jesus. He was the long awaited King who came to deliver the Lord’s people. He was written about in the scrolls. He constantly spoke of the kindness, goodness, and deliverance of the Lord. He brought comfort to the afflicted and peace to the poor. He ultimately was our deliverance. He made us, horrible sinners, into saints.
Both verse 5 and verse 17 make mention of the Lord’s thoughts. In verse 5, David tells us that the Lord has multiplied not just his acts of deliverance, but also his thoughts towards us. Have you ever paused to consider that the Creator of the universe thinks of you? Ponder that for a moment. For me that can be a little shocking because I spend so little time thinking of Him, but He has multiplied His thoughts about you. It is almost like He is obsessed with you – like He would do something crazy like die for you.
In 17 David writes, “I am poor and needy.” David has nothing to offer God for His help. He is like a beggar. But the Lord takes thought of him, and this makes all the difference.
Emotional Reaction: This psalm brought me a lot of comfort in a difficult time in my life. It allowed me to see my ultimate deliverance from my sin and enemies. It allowed me to rejoice even in the middle of the darkness and allowed me to tell others to rejoice and praise the Lord too.
Now, it humbles me to think that Lord loves me and thinks of me even though I have nothing to offer.
Great is the Lord! For none can compare with Him!