Thursday, March 22, 2012

Ever Ready to Deliver

[To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David]

1 I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.

2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.

3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.

4 Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.

5 Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.

6 Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.

7 Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me,

8 I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.

9 I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O LORD, thou knowest.

10 I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation.

11 Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O LORD: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me.

12 For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me.

13 Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me: O LORD, make haste to help me.

14 Let them be ashamed and confounded together that seek after my soul to destroy it; let them be driven backward and put to shame that wish me evil.

15 Let them be desolate for a reward of their shame that say unto me, Aha, aha.

16 Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: let such as love thy salvation say continually, The LORD be magnified.

17 But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God.

—Psalm 40 KJV Bible

This is a psalm of David; a psalm of praise and a request for deliverance. David praises God for past deliverance and offers himself in dedication. David then brings a new problem before the Lord and asks again for deliverance.

In verses 1 through 4, David praises God for past deliverance. In verse 2, David compares his situation to that of a prisoner confined in a “pit” and a hiker sinking in a treacherous bog of “clay.”

In verses 5 through 10, David offers himself in dedication. In verse 6, David's expression (“mine ears hast thou opened”) signifies obedience. One possible basis for this expression was the custom of piercing the ear as a sign of voluntary perpetual service, as outlined by Moses (Exodus 21:1-6). Another possible basis is the idea of opening one's ears to hear what God says, as later used by the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 50:4-5). Regardless of the reference, David realizes that he should not just perform duties as required in the law, but to do them from his heart. In verse 7, David references “the book,” meaning the Mosaic Law; the first five books of the Old Testament, written by Moses. A more contemporary expression might be to say that if one looked up “obedience” in Mosaic Law, one would find a picture of David.

In verses 6 through 8, David's words of dedication Messianic, going beyond him to the Messiah--the Lord Jesus--who came to be the obedient Sacrifice to end all sacrifices. The writer of the Letter to the Hebrews quoted these verses in reference to Jesus (Hebrews 10:5-7).

In verses 11 through 17, David brings a new problem before the Lord and then asks God for deliverance. The thoughts expressed in verses 13 through 17 must have been close to David's heart. They are essentially identical to the entire Psalm 70. It is not certain whether David appended Psalm 70 to this song, or later restated verses 13 through 17 separately as Psalm 70. In fact, these thoughts are expressed again in Psalm 35:4, 21, 26 and 27. This is not the only occurrence of repetition in the psalms. Psalms 14 and 53 are very similar, as are Psalms 57, 60 and 108. By repeating these thoughts, God may be telling us that they are important and we should listen.

Father, I thank You for the many times you have saved me in the past. I also thank You and praise You that You always stand ready to rescue me again.


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