I loved Psalm 40 since the tender age of 15 when I heard U2’s version of the first 3 verses on the album “Under a Blood Red Sky.” Here’s a more recent live version…
I’d never dug past v3 until today and what depths there are. It’s really split in two, with the second half repeated as Psalm 70. The second half shows us 3 troubles we have with ourselves, while the first half shows us some 5 ways we can trust God.
1) My sin v12-13
In these verses David is very aware of his own propensity for sin. They are beyond number, they have overtaken him, and they number more than the hairs of his head.
Elsewhere in Jeremiah 17, the prophet tells us the heart is deceitful above all things. There are times we are very aware of how sinful we can be. Thank God for Jesus!
2) My Slanderers v14-15
Not everyone is for you! David was well aware of his detractors -who wanted to snatch away his life, dishhonour him and delight in his hurt. As Jim Erwin wrote “You can take it personally or you can take it prayerfully.” He prays God would make them aware and appalled at what they are doing.
3) My self v16-17
Alongside rejoicing at those with him who love the Lord, David is aware of his need and poverty before God crying out for help and deliverance.
5 ways to trust God
Now we jump back to v1 and see 5 ways we can trust God the way David did.
1) Prayer v1-3
David was stuck in the mud and mire – similar to Jeremiah’s experience in Jeremiah 38:6 of being thrown into a well – you can imagine him stuck in the sludge at the bottom or in the bog – sticky with mud and each time he lifted his foot the other gets stuck more. You cannot get out of quicksand/marsh on your own – you need help. So he waits patiently for the Lord. God lifts him up and puts his feet on the rock. God makes his steps firm.
And that makes him want to sing a song of praise.
“Christianity is a religion of song. Agnosticism has no carols. Confucianism and Brahmanism have no anthems or alleluias. Dreary, weird dirges reveal no hope for the present or for the future. Christianity, however, is filled with music. Only the message of Christ puts a song in a person’s heart. When you have Christ in your heart something changes inside of you, and a melody starts to form that you can’t really control. It is unlike any other belief system.” (David Jeremiah in Sanctuary: Finding Moments of Refuge in the Presence of God)
2) With our inabilities v4-5
Blessed is the man who trusts God – one police department in Florida ordered new mats with their logo which included the words “In God we trust” – the manufacturer made a mistake and the rugs turned up and were used for months with the words “In dog we trust” – it’s pretty easy to make mistakes, like the rug manufacturer. We turn to the proud, the manipulative often without realising until we are in a mess. So like David it’s best to put our trust in God.
3) With our obedience v6-8
These verses are quoted in Hebrews 10. God is less interested in adherence to rituals that only pont to Jesus than us delighting in Jesus and His Word and then doing it!
4) With our testimony
Trusting God means having the bravery to tell of our story with Him.
5) Reliance on Him
David declares that God will not restrain his mercy, steadfast love or faithfulness. That declaration is faith, it is reliance on God who will keep us and preservce us in times of difficulty.
Marinate on that.