Psalms: God's Nurture Of The Inner Man In The Life Of Faith

XL. Finding God's Help In The Ups And Downs Of The ACTUAL Life Of Faith

(Psalm 40:1-17)


I.              Introduction

A.    Though 1 John 2:1 calls us Christians not to sin, the fact is that we all have sinned as believers, 1 John 1:10.

B.    Psalm 40:1-17 provides us with a record of David's "up" time of spiritual victory in Psalm 40:1-10 coupled with a "down" time of spiritual defeat and need in Psalm 40:11-17, and we view it for our insight today:

II.           Finding God's Help In The Ups And Downs Of The ACTUAL Life Of Faith, Psalm 40:1-17.

A.    The introductory remarks in the English Bible comprise verse one of the Hebrew text, (Kittel, Bib. Heb., p. 1009), but we stay with the numbering system of the English Bible for clarification with this lesson.

B.    We thus translate Psalm 40:1-17 as follows:

1.     "I waited patiently for Jahweh, and he turned to me and hearkened to my cry," Psalm 40:1.

2.     "He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand," Psalm 40:2.

3.     "He placed a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our Elohim.  Many will see and fear and put their trust in Jahweh," Psalm 40:3.

4.     "Blessed is the adult male [warrior] (geber, Ibid.; H. A. W., T. W. O. T., 1980, v. I, p. 148-149) who puts his trust in Jahweh; who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to a lie," Psalm 40:4.

5.     "Many are Your extraordinary works which You (emph. pron.) have performed, O Jahweh, my Elohim; and the things You have planned for us, no one can recount to You; were I to speak and tell of them they would be too vast to declare," Psalm 40:5.

6.     "Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but my ears you have pierced [a reference to the practice of the forming of a bond-slave for lasting, willing obedience to his Master, Exodus 21:5-6; J. A. Alexander, The Psalms, 1975, p. 180].  Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require," Psalm 40:6.

7.     "Then I said, 'Behold!  I have come!  In the scroll of the book it is written about me:" (Psalm 40:7)

8.     "I desire to perform Your will, O my Elohim; Your law is written in my inward parts," Psalm 40:8.

9.     "I proclaim righteousness in the great assembly; behold, I do not seal my lips, O Jahweh, as You know!" (Psalm 40:9)

10.  "I do not conceal Your righteousness in my heart; I speak of Your faithfulness and salvation.  I do not conceal Your loyal love and Your truth from the great assembly," Psalm 40:10.

11.  "You, O Jahweh -- do not withhold Your mercy from me; may Your loyal love and Your truth always protect me," Psalm 40:11.

12.  "Because troubles without number surround me; my iniquities have overtaken me and I am not able to see; they are more than the hairs of my head, and my courage leaves me!" (Psalm 40:12)

13.  "Be pleased, O Jahweh, to snatch me away; O Jahweh, come quickly to save me!" (Psalm 40:13)

14.  "May all who seek my life to take [it] away be put to shame and confused; may all who desire my ruin be turned back in disgrace," Psalm 40:14.

15.  "May those who say to me, 'Aha!  Aha!' be appalled at their own shame!" (Psalm 40:15)

16.  "But may all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; may those who love Your salvation always say, 'Jahweh be exalted!'" (Psalm 40:16)

17.  "But I am afflicted and needy; may Adonai ["my Master"] think of me.  You (emph. pron.) are my Help and my Place of Escape; O Elohim, do not delay!" (Psalm 40:17)

C.    We note significant observations of this psalm (as follows):

1.     Though David praised God for past deliverance in Psalm 40:1-10, Psalm 40:11-17 shares his lament and current petition for God's deliverance from his foes caused by his own sin, cf. v. 11-12.  Thus, this psalm instructs us on living the actual life of faith with its spotty times of failure intermingled with victory.

2.     David's reference to the adult male (geber, v. 4) reveals the psalm's immediate application is to male heads of households, revealing again the need for male leaders to lean on God for success in the life of faith.


Lesson: David praised God for past victories of faith while cleaving to the Lord for His help in his present failures.


Application: May we like David praise God for past victories while also cleaving to Him for aid in present failures.