Thursday, August 18, 2011

Psalm 40 - Song of Trust in the Lord

LINK: Psalm 40

BACKGROUND 

In this next set of Psalms (40, 69, 86, 87, 131) David speaks of his fear, but he also speaks of his trust in God who would fulfill His promises and sustain David. In between the promise and the fulfillment, there were many trials for David, but he waited patiently for God. 

I spoke at a women's retreat around the theme of "waiting" once.  This was one of my main Psalms. I have mentioned this before in the Bible Book Club, but I love the Hebrew word for "wait" which is qāwāh and means:
To wait or look for with eager expectation . . . waiting with steadfast endurance is a great expression of faith. It means enduring patiently in confident hope that God will decisively act . . . Waiting involves the very essence of a person's being (Psalm 130:5). . . those who wait in true faith are renewed in strength so that they can continue to serve the Lord while looking for his saving work (Isaiah 40:31). There will come a time when all that God has promised will be realized and fulfilled (Isaiah 49:23; Psalm 37:9). In the meantime the believer survives by means of his integrity and uprightness as he trusts in God's grace and power (Psalm 25:21). His faith is strengthened through his testings, and his character is further developed (Psalm 27:14). 
Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. 1999 (R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer, Jr. & B. K. Waltke, Ed.) (electronic ed.). Chicago: Moody Press, p. 791
"The root meaning is that of twisting or winding a strand of cord or rope" 
Baker, W., & Carpenter, E. E. (2003). The complete word study dictionary: Old Testament (986). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers. 

Ever since I learned this meaning in the early 80's, my picture of waiting has always been one of my heart twisting around the Lord's heart! It puts such a positive spin on a concept many people do not like!

David had to keep his eyes in trust on God when all around him seemed contrary to God's promise.  He could give thanksgiving to God and he could make proclamation of God's righteousness, faithfulness, salvation, love, and truth to others (40:9-10). All the while, he could also continue to lament his present predicament and pray for deliverance (40:11-17)! His present predicament was probably a combination of being pursued by Saul and being a man of sin (25:17-18; 38:2-14). 

The Scarlet Thread of Redemption

By the way,  Psalm 40 is considered a "Messianic" psalm because Hebrews 10:5-9 quotes Psalm 40:6-8 and attributes the verses to Christ. 

REFLECTION 

I just wrote on my Facebook status update: "I love soaking in the Psalms. Just sayin'." I was afraid to tackle them during the first round of the Bible Book Club because I am not a poetry expert, but Psalms have comforted me through my whole spiritual walk. I am not approaching them from a poetry perspective but a personal one.

Psalm 40 is one of my "Top Five" Psalms because it sums up God's awesomeness and ability to deliver us from any "pit" in which we may find ourselves! (I even wrote a song to this once. and I might even put a video of me singing it on here by the end of this post.)

Often, we are in "the pit of destruction and miry clay" (40:2 NASB) because we made sinful choices that put us there. I am reminded of my own personal "pit" whenever I read the opening verses of this Psalm, and it always turns me to praise God for His wonderful deliverance. 

My sophomore year of college (1979), I was in a big mess of my own making by becoming involved with a person of very low integrity whom I allowed to bring me right down too. Consequently, I was in the lowest point of my life.  While that person slept in the back seat of the car, I was driving along Interstate 5 during a torrential downpour in the "darkness before the dawn" around Roseburg, Oregon. In this stretch of I-5, the freeway goes up and down through many hills and valleys and can be quite treacherous in heavy rains and snow. As I drove, I was miserable and scared! At a low point of a valley, a huge wave of water washed over the car, and I could not see a thing. I was scared out of my wits, and I cried out to God to deliver me (not only from the physical danger but the mess I was in spiritually and emotionally). His presence met me RIGHT THERE and a perfect wave of calm, bigger than the wave of rain, rushed over me. I knew that He was right there with me, and He would deliver me from the "pit of destruction" I had made for myself.  I climbed up out of that valley on I-5 to the top of a hill and the dawn of a new day!

That was, literally and figuratively, one of the biggest watershed moments of my life (for international readers who do not understand this phrase, I have linked this phrase to a definition)! I began to make better choices that would honor God, and I gave my life totally over to Him (it would take several years to totally disengage because of that person's evil manipulations, and my naivete).  So, I sing this Psalm because it so depicts what God has done for me! My feet are on the ROCK of God's unfailing love and faithfulness. I cannot help but sing praise to Him!

APPLICATION 

God's thoughts toward you are too numerous to count (40:5) - From your reading of the Bible so far, what do you think God's thoughts are toward you?

God has done countless wonders (40:5). Think through your life and jot down some of them!

PRAYER

Pray through Psalm 40 today!

Here is the short song I wrote long ago (TEE HEE): 


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