Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Daily reading assignment: Psalms 39-41

While the scripture reading for today is Psalms 39-41, my focus for today’s devotional commentary is Psalm 40.  Hebrews 10:5-9 identifies Christ as the subject of Psalm 40 making it one of the Messianic psalms.  For king David, Psalm 40 is a psalm of praise to the LORD.  The date and setting of the psalm is uncertain; however, I believe it was during one of David’s exiles. Perhaps when he fled from Saul who sought to kill him or when his son Absalom led a rebellion forcing him to flee the throne and Jerusalem.

For the purpose of our study, I suggest the following outline:

1. The Prayer of a Broken Man (40:1-3)

1) David’s cry for help (40:1a);  2) The LORD’s compassion in response to David’s cry (40:1b-2);  3) The transformation in David’s life as a result of the LORD’s compassion (40:3) – David writes of his transformation:

Psalm 40:3  And He hath put [give; deliver; set] a new [fresh] song [music; singing] in my mouth, even praise [i.e. a hymn of praise; glory] unto our God [Elohim; mighty God, Judge; Ruler]: many shall see [look; behold; consider’ examine] it, and fear [worship; reverence; i.e. be afraid; revere], and shall trust [confident; secure; hope; i.e. be bold] in the LORD.

A “new song” (40:3a) replaced David’s cry for help.  Public praise (40:3b) followed David’s private prayers and the effect of his testimony was “many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD” (40:3b).

2. The Praise of a Blessed Man (40:4-6)

We find three qualities of a “blessed” (happy) saint in verses 4-6.  First, the blessed man is committed to the LORD (40:4) – 1) His confidence is in the LORD (40:4a);  2) He is not a companion of rebels (i.e. “the proud” – 40:4b);  3) He is not easily convinced to turn aside from God’s Word or way (40:4c).

The second quality of a “blessed” saint is he commends the LORD; he is an audacious witness (40:5).  The third quality of a “blessed” man is he is cognizant the LORD requires, not sacrifices, but the heart (40:6).

Rather than commentary, I offer the following amplification for Psalm 40:7-17 and invite you to consider that, according to the writer of Hebrews, the following is a portrait of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God.

Psalm 40:7 Then said I, Lo, I come [enter]: in the volume [roll; scroll] of the book it is written [engraved; inscribed; decreed] of me,

[Something that could not be said of David; however, John writes of Christ, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” – John 1:1]

Psalm 40:8-9 8  I delight [take pleasure; favor] to do [make; wrought; create; fashion] thy will [favor; accept], O my God: yea, thy law [i.e. the Decalogue; precepts or statutes] is within [midst; i.e. in the middle] my heart [bowels; belly; i.e. sympathy].
9  I have preached [published; announced; i.e. bear good news] righteousness [justice] in the great congregation [assembly; company]: lo, I have not refrained [i.e. shut up; restrained; kept back] my lips [language; speech], O LORD, thou knowest [perceive; understand].

[David was not a preacher of righteousness; however, Christ declared the Word and Law of God to Israel – John 17:8, 26]


Psalm 40:10-12 10  I have not hid [hide; conceal; cover] thy righteousness [rightness; justice] within [midst; i.e. in the middle] my heart [mind; understanding; i.e. will and intellect]; I have declared [speak; answer; command] thy faithfulness [fidelity; truth] and thy salvation [help; deliverance]: I have not concealed [hide, by act or word] thy lovingkindness [mercy; goodness; steadfast love] and thy truth [trustworthiness; faithfulness] from the great congregation [assembly; company].
11  Withhold [shut up; stay; restrain; restrict] not thou thy tender mercies [mercy; compassion; i.e. bowels of compassion] from me, O LORD: let thy lovingkindness [mercy; goodness; steadfast love] and thy truth [trustworthiness; faithfulness] continually [daily; perpetually] preserve [guard; keep watch; guard] me.
12  For innumerable evils [wicked; mischief; sin; distress] have compassed [surround] me about: mine iniquities [sin; punishment; blame; guilt] have taken hold [overtaken; reached] upon me, so that I am not able [i.e. cannot] to look up [perceive; behold]; they are more [increased] than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart [mind; understanding; i.e. will and intellect] faileth [forsakes; leaves; abandons] me.

[I believe the “innumerable evils” in verse 12 describe Christ’s sorrows and sufferings on the cross. The “iniquities” that took hold on Christ were not His sins, but the burden of our sins and the sins of the world.  With the weight of our sins upon Him, the heart of our Savior was overcome.]

Psalm 40:13  Be pleased [accept; delight; approve], O LORD, to deliver [rid; rescue; save; defend] me: O LORD, make haste [hurry; be eager; be ready] to help [assist; support; satisfy] me.

[Reminding us of the LORD’s prayer in the Garden when He prayed, “let this cup pass from me” – Matthew 26:39]

Psalm 40:14-15 14  Let them be ashamed [disappointed; i.e. put to shame] and confounded [ashamed; put to confusion; reproached; disgraced] together [i.e. altogether; alike] that seek [require; request; desire; i.e. aim for] after my soul [life; person] to destroy [consume; ruin] it; let them be driven [turned; retreat] backward and put to shame [ashamed; confused] that wish [desire; have pleasure] me evil [sin; wickedness; mischief].
15  Let them be desolate [astonished; waste; i.e. appalled] for a reward [end; i.e. account; consequence] of their shame [confusion; humiliation] that say unto me, Aha, aha [i.e. taking satisfaction over the misfortune of another].

[Remember those who crucified Jesus stood near the cross mocking Him – Matthew 27:42-44]

Psalm 40:16-17 16  Let all those that seek [request; enquire] thee rejoice and be glad [cheered; make mirth] in thee: let such as love thy salvation [help; deliverance] say continually [perpetually], The LORD be magnified [great; honored].
17  But I am poor [humbled; afflicted; lowly ] and needy [destitute; beggar; i.e. in want]; yet the Lord thinketh [regard; count] upon me: thou art my help [aid] and my deliverer; make no tarrying [i.e. do not procrastinate; defer; loiter; delay], O my God.

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

%d bloggers like this: