Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 40 – C

Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart. This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Psalm 40

6 In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted, but you have given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required.
7 Then I said, “Behold, I have come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me:
8 I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.”

As believers, we have come to live in the sacrifice our Lord has provided, and understand the concept (at least intellectually) of self sacrificing love. Try to remember a time when, as a Christian, you did not consider love greater than law, self sacrifice stronger than sanctified image.

Our psalm above starts off with a statement of God not desiring sacrifice and offering. How can David say this, when entire books of the Old Testament, such as Leviticus, spend a majority of time detailing the requirements of sacrifices to and for God?

How is it David is speaking of God not wanting sacrifice?

David, in my opinion, is speaking on two levels.

Level One

The first level, as a prophet, “scratches the surface” of understanding the nature and character of our God, of the core element of the goodness and mercy of God. He is not speaking of a relationship based on animal sacrifices and burnt offering, but reflecting on the nature of God.

I was taught once that the nature of a person (and God is a person), that a persons nature will exude from their inner person to their actions and appearance. Given this, David reflected (I suppose), on the nature of sacrifice described by the God of all creation, and understood that the very nature of the God of the universe was of sacrifice, of giving to others, of supplying needs, of loving those who are unlovely, and of being “otherwise”, when compared with us mere mortals.

To say God has not required burnt offerings and sin offerings, – well that seems to fly in the face of many of the commands of Scripture. And yet, David continues with a seeming “alternative” message.

But let us consider a thought. It may be important to consider that David isn’t providing an “alternative” message, but a deeper message, a fuller message, a message that is as a blooming flower compared to the seedling it once was. Same plant, far different appearance. The standard Old Testament saint, the “ordinary, average” believer in the ancient days may have understood that the physical sacrifices of bulls and goats were what God wanted, and with that understanding, he would be in obedient and in good standing. But David dove deeper!

How about us? Do we understand the shoulders we are standing on? The insight of David, as a prophet of God is light-years ahead of my thoughts and musings. He saw the sacrifices and considered the nature of God. This is instructive to me, as when I read a command or declaration of God in the word, I automatically think of me, how I can do something, how a Scripture statement reflects on me me me.

David was beyond this. As I have been taught previously, David is sometimes described as a New Testament believer in this psalm, one who had grasped the difficult concept of moving from a life depending on the sacrifice of a bull or goat, to a life that understood God’s true nature, and finally to the life of self-sacrifice.

Level Two

The second level is as the Lord Jesus Himself, the Messiah, and of His full understanding of the nature of God, and of a true relationship with His Father.

This second level is clear when we consider the book of Hebrews, and the apostle’s interpretation of the Old Testament passage David provided us. Let’s notice the commentary the apostle has inserted into our text, fleshing out the psalm to provide a full understanding of it – that is the full revelation of David’s text, about the Lord Jesus Christ.

Psalm 40:6-8

In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted, but you have given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required.

Then I said, “Behold, I have come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me: I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.”

Hebrews 10:5-10

Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure.

Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.'”

Notice Hebrews 10, where the apostle adds “a body have you prepared for me”, speaking of the humanity of the God-man Jesus Christ, and check out the “minor edit” the apostle provides in the next verse. He not simply delights to do God’s will, as David expressed in the psalm, but that our Lord Jesus Christ did the will of God!

When we slow down enough to consider who our Great High Priest is, He truly is beyond our wildest imagination. When we speak of Him, although He is still mocked and spit on to this present day, let us remember that He is the Risen King.

Let us keep our eyes on Him for God is good, all the time.


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