Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 40 – G

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

16 But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation say continually, “Great is the LORD!”
17 As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God!

The Lord is great, but I am poor and needy.

Let’s recount the historical reason for David writing this psalm. Many believe this psalm was written after the revolution of Absalom, and that David was back on the throne of Israel, nearing the end of his life.

He had experienced the greatest of betrayal in his life, and had been brought to the very edge of defeat and death by his son and a trusted friend. The depth of despair David experienced also brought with it a humility and gratefulness that is expressed in the final verses of this great psalm.

Also, it is instructive to note that the last two verses have two subjects, that is those who seek God and the author himself. The author looks to those who seek God, and desires joy and gladness for them in their chasing after God. He desires the best for them as they seek God.

For himself, he admits to his poverty and need. Please remember that the author is King David, and is near the end of his rule, where he rules over the most prosperous and militarily mighty nation in the area. His expansion of his rule saw few limits and the Lord gave him victory many, many times. He was the king of Israel, and is considered the greatest king that ruled over the nation.

Yet he saw himself as poor and needy. The word poor may be translated as afflicted. To be afflicted is to be in need, subject to oppression or abuse, and admitting to the need for deliverance.

How is it that David could honestly say these things, while sitting on the throne of Israel, and reigning over God’s people?

David was in the enviable position of understanding where he stood in relation to the great God we serve. Although he is considered one of histories greatest kings, he considered himself as poor and needy, a man before God, stripped of his earthly strength, and bowing before Him. David was great because he did not consider himself.

If this was the only one we might consider in the final verses, it would be enough, but I ask you to consider the greater David, the Lord Jesus Christ, for as we have seen though this psalm, the subject turns to the Messiah, and we can see glimpses of His life throughout the passage.

Consider Jesus, in relation to the claim of being poor and needy, One who voluntarily left all power and glory to be brought to a point of poverty and need, to being one who needed deliverance from God, who experienced affliction, poverty, humiliation and ultimately death.

David was rescued from the pit, but Jesus entered the grave, having prayed for deliverance. This exercise of trust in the Father is unexplainable, if He was not continually and always in the presence of the Father, communing with the Father, being One with Him.

His trust in the Father during His experience of poverty and affliction is amazing, and His willingness to enter death, while not deserving the condemnation is beyond any sense of logic or understanding.

The psalmist, at the end of this psalm, prayed for God not to delay. The Lord also prayed for deliverance. God delivered David. All appearance of deliverance for Jesus, in the eyes of the disciples was snuffed out at the point of death. It seemed the Father had delayed, had not delivered the greater David.

We must understand that the deliverance that was expected and the deliverance that was supplied was dependent on our understanding of the goal. Any one of us, being in the sandals of the disciples, would have seen this as the disciples did, as a great failure, a massive disappointment. If only God had not delayed in delivering Jesus from death.

But love is like that.

He truly is the leader of our salvation, the One who loved first, best and always.

We love because he first loved us. – 1 John 4:19


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 40 – F

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

13 Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me! O LORD, make haste to help me!
14 Let those be put to shame and disappointed altogether who seek to snatch away my life; let those be turned back and brought to dishonor who delight in my hurt!
15 Let those be appalled because of their shame who say to me, “Aha, Aha!”

In our last post, the passage emphasized the trials David experienced, a hopeless that was expressed by outward and inward enemies. Multiple iniquities, more than the hairs of his head, and evils surrounding him.

His heart was failing.

As we consider our passage, verse 13 reflects David’s heartfelt desire to see God active and working, delivering his child from all his enemies. David is not asking for mercy in this request, but that the motivating factor to drive God in delivering his child is God’s own pleasure in saving those who call out to Him. Not only is David appealing to God to take pleasure in delivering the saint, but that the Lord would make haste.

I love doing things that please me. I love writing in this blog, and will get up early in the morning in order to be involved with the text and to ask God for direction. I take pleasure in it! I usually (always?) put off things that I take no pleasure in (weeding the garden for example), in order to do that which pleases me. Of course this is a comparison of earth with heaven, yet that which we are pleased to do, we seek to find time to do.

How about God? Do you see God as a God who takes pleasure in delivering His saints? Is the God you worship a God that is reluctant in delivering the saint? Is He One who is distant and would rather not be bothered?

What is it that God takes no pleasure in? What actions does God prefer not to be involved in (I speak as a man)? A quick search of the Word brings a number of verses for my reader to consider.

For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord GOD; so turn, and live.” – Ezekiel 18:32 ESV

in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. – Hebrews 10:6 ESV

but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” – Hebrew 10:38 ESV

After David appeals to God for deliverance, he speaks of the natural outcome of this deliverance as he understood it. Deliverance for David would mean the doom of his enemies.

He speaks of “those” enemies that he was facing, that they be put to shame, disappointed, turned back, brought to dishonor and appalled.

Let’s remember that David is a man of war, that his perspective was that of victory or defeat against his foes. The entire kingdom of Israel existed through military conquest, and for the nation to continue, it’s physical enemies would need to be held back.

Is it so for us as the body of Christ in the church age? Are we dealing with physical enemies, and should we seek their downfall, that they be put to shame?

Consider the contrast of David’s desire for his enemies with the New Testament teaching provided to the saints.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. – Ephesians 6:12 ESV

Is it fair to deduce from this passage that since we do not wrestle against the physical, that we are also not to enter into adversarial attitudes with those who may appear to be “against” us?

But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, – Matthew 5:44 ESV

In my opinion, (which is worth less than two pennies) this is the most challenging single verse in the Bible to live out. I am a naturally pessimistic, argumentative and judgmental fella, and find that an attitude of grace and mercy towards those I meet with during my day to day life is impossible without the continual help from God in thinking and behaving properly, under His direction.

Our outlook on life is to be per the Messiah’s teaching and though we often feel as David felt in this passage, we have a higher calling, a calling that will prioritize love over revenge, of forgiveness over bitterness, of prayer over argumentation.

We have a high calling brothers. Let us remember the challenge, and seek to follow the One who loved us when we were enemies!

For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. – Romans 5:10


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 40 – E

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

11 As for you, O LORD, you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me!
12 For evils have encompassed me beyond number; my iniquities have overtaken me, and I cannot see; they are more than the hairs of my head; my heart fails me.

In our earlier passage, David declared his “nots”. Just as a reminder, let’s review them

I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation;
behold, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O LORD.

I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart;
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness

David is confident that the Lord will not restrain His mercy from him. I find it somewhat interesting that the prophet used the same negative terminology for both the Lord and his own actions, that is, that restraint was not carried out.

Restraint implies a restriction, an unwillingness, a loss of freedom, inhibition. Both David and the Lord are free to exercise their respective actions. David has freedom to share the goodness of God. The Father is free to exercise mercy in David’s experience.

But that brings up a question for my readers.

  • Is David linking his freedom to share with the congregation, with God finally able to exercise mercy to him?
  • In other words, is the Lord free to exercise mercy in every and all circumstances? Or is He restricted upon our actions?

Comment below with your thoughts.

Let’s continue. David proceeds into verse 12 with a litany of overwhelming perils. Let’s look them one at a time.

Wickedness surrounding me

David confessed he had enemies all about. Friends, acquaintances or sworn enemies, he realized wickedness was prevalent outside of his own person. We know of this trial in our own lives, as we realize that many in our lives may would seek to take advantage of us, harm us or at the least sideline us to make us of no effect.

Iniquities within me

David was realizing that external forces were not his only problem.

If he lived in a utopian kingdom, where all was love and kindness, no wickedness or evil intent possible, He would still have an enemy. As Pogo, a cartoon character of 50 years ago quipped, “We have met the enemy and he is us”

David realized his own inner wickedness, selfishness, self deceit and weakness. This I find to be the hardest truth for the average Christian to accept (it is for me!) and the most difficult to discuss. We tend to exaggerate either extreme. Some may state that sin is not resident in their lives, thereby experiencing spiritual perfection. I don’t meet many believers of this doctrinal stance, that is sinless perfection, yet I fear there are many that believe they may have attained to it without verbally expressing it!

The other extreme is complete and utter evil only lurking in the heart of man. This seems to have much Scriptural backing, and my calvinist brothers would claim it is the reason for their gospel message. (Without this key lynch pin holding their theology together, the logical system they have built crashes to the ground).

Although I spent decades in this thinking, I have come to understand that wickedness resides in me alongside a desire to know God, a desire to seek him and know him. As an experiential knowledge of my own heart, I understand that my own witness is not to be trusted. Therefore, I would appreciate my readers to comment on this topic – the heart of man and it’s condition.

It is instructive though, that David states “my iniquities have overtaken me.” He does not say that his entire being is only sinful, iniquitous, evil, hateful and dastardly. Of course I am being extreme here, but I hope you get my point. (I have always wanted to use the word dastardly in my blog – now I have!)

No vision to guide me out

David claims blindness. He cannot see. Of course we are not to take this literally. He is speaking of his trials, his situation. He is looking for a way out, but with external and internal enemies, there is no escape, no where to run for safety. His back is up against a wall, and he is realizing the wall is also a foe.

Nope, As my momma used to say “He is up the crik without a paddle stick!”

Sins uncountable

How many hair reside on your head? Innumerable, uncountable. Why count them when there are so many. This is the sense I get as David describes his sins to God. It is hopeless!

As we have mentioned in our blog earlier, the Hebrew poets would repeat a thought in the next stansa, using this devise to explain or amplify the previous thought. David is dwelling on his internal iniquities when speaking of the innumerable sins he is recounting.

No strength

His heart fails. No hope, no escape, no relief, no release, nothing that would give encouragement for the future. That is, if we did not have the foundation of God’s promise in the verse above.

As for you, O LORD, you will not restrain your mercy from me;
your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me!

The foundation of God’s mercy, steadfast love and faithfulness is what David finds hope in. He will venture into this great hope in our next blog, dealing with verses 13 – 15.

I hope you can join me as a hopeless situation finds light shone on it! And hopefully, we can see our own situations in like manner, where the Lord Jesus will bring light to our situation and provide deliverance and help in time of need.

Thanks for joining me in this venture through the Psalms. I rarely express my gratitude for your attention to my ruminations. Thanks again, and I look forward to your comments.

May God bless you and keep you in His love.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 40 – D

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

9 I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; behold, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O LORD.
10 I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation.

In our previous post we found it spoke directly of David’s prophetic ability to delve into the text beyond the surface reading of Old Testament commands. But more importantly, Psalm 40:6-8 speaks of the life purpose of the Messiah, that is the Messiah’s desire, ‘to do thy will”.

The passage also speaks of the desire of God in both the arenas of sacrifice and of obedience, of how the sacrifices were never the end goal, but the complete obedience of the Lord Jesus to the Father’s will as being the great story, the end goal, the purpose of it all.

Our passage before us speaks of the telling, preaching, sharing, and declaring of the message to the great congregation, to those who need to hear of the Messiah and of His heart for God.

David spoke freely to the congregation, to those who assembled together. He did not hide the message within his heart, but freely spoke the good news of the God of creation. David has spoken of hiding the word in his heart in another Psalm, in order to not sin against God, but in this Psalm he is not restrained in voicing the glad news.

Although the Psalm speaks of David proclaiming the God of all creation to the congregation, the passage should be recognized as describing the Lord Jesus (and His followers) as the preachers of the salvation provided.

If we consider the congregation David shared with as His own nation, or possibly to the faithful within his own nation (the remnant of faithful), we should not understand that as applicable to the times of the Lord. His congregation was those He came across, the adulterous Samaritan woman, the legalistic Pharisee, the blind beggar at the well, and a dead man in a cave. He was not restricted as David may have been in preaching or sharing of the great salvation He was to provide, in the good news of the kingdom of God arriving. His congregation was all of creation, and as a believer, I need to be reminded that He is the Lord of all, that all of creation is His congregation, His assembly.

To the Ones who know Him currently, He is to be declared. To the ones who have yet to understand, He is to be declared. To the ones who have never heard of Him, He is to be declared. To those who despitefully hate Him, He is to be declared.

Each declaration of the Lord Jesus is to be from the heart, as the psalmist describes that he had not concealed or hidden His deliverance within his heart. It is to be a life message, based on the Living Word having passed through our lives and into our neighbor. Each person we meet, we must have wisdom to know the best manner of sharing His deliverance, the love to open ourselves up to unwanted responses, and the courage and boldness to share the truth and react in love.

Earlier I spoke of the Living Word passing though our lives and into others. Without experiencing an ongoing active relationship with the God of our salvation through the Word of God and prayer, the message of God’s love may simply become cold, lifeless, factual, exact, documental, even story like.

This is a great challenge to myself as I need to be awakened to the great news of His deliverance, of my heart being opened to the Living truth, of a refreshing, a revival of glimpsing His great love, not only for myself, but for the entire congregation.

No matter how passionate you feel you are in preaching the good news to His congregation, there is currently no restriction for the believer to grow in this privilege. There is always a greater depth to plunge in the knowledge of God, and out of that experiential relationship, a greater desire to share will be the natural outcome. The desire will naturally pour out of our lives, our speech and to the ones we meet. Each of the verses we have looked at above speak of David telling good news, not restraining his lips, not hiding God’s deliverance, speaking of God’s faithfulness, and finally not concealing His steadfast love.

Wherever you may judge yourself in exercising this privilege, dig into the Living Word, (please do not simply look for facts!) look to the Father for boldness, passion and wisdom, and witness a change as you share with those who are in His congregation.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

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.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 40 – B

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

4 Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie!
5 You have multiplied, O LORD my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told.

Let’s continue with this incredible psalm, remembering that David earlier described the actions of the Lord in rescuing him from the miry pit and setting him on a firm foundation. The natural expected response to this show of grace to the sinner was that we would make the Lord our trust. Those who do make the Lord their trust, they are blessed.

But what does it look like to make the Lord their trust? David gives us some direction in this regard, by providing two descriptions of those who do not trust the Lord.

Trusting the Proud

David speaks of the one who makes the Lord his trust as one who does not turn to the proud.

First off, this implies a difference between the saint and the sinner, since a typical characteristic of those who do not know and trust the Lord in His mercies, these poor souls only have themselves to depend on (or at least another mere man) for their guidance and stability, which naturally breeds a pride and arrogance in their lives. This is an inevitable outcome of trusting our own thoughts and opinions. I cannot depend on my own thoughts and at the same time truly consider myself to be humble, for I have elevated my accumulated bank of wisdom over all others.

Consider a man that has attained a high level of education, excelled in his career, and is confident of his abilities. It is a rare that he will consider others opinions to be equal to his, although for the sake of social graces and professional appearance, this may seem to occur.

Trusting the Lord is a different matter, since many, if not all of the precepts of the Lord go against our natural inclination, and rub against our pride. A believer, trusting in the Lord, will exhibit a willingness to be subdued by the Word as he hears it, and will reject a dependence on those who are confident in their own status.

Trusting the Liar

Many times in the ancient writings, the Hebrews would use a type of poetry that is not familiar to us. Where we tend to look for words that rhyme, or for a certain cadence to the verse, for the Hebrew prophet, much poetry started with a statement, followed by a clarification of the statement.

A prophet using a synonymous poetry style, is seen in the following passages.

Deliver me, O LORD, from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue. – Psalm 120:2

Notice how lying lips are further defined as a deceitful tongue

My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, – Proverbs 3:11

Notice that discipline is further refined as reproof.

But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. – Isaiah 53:5

Multiple parallels in this short passage. Take a moment to identify at least two parallel descriptions in the verse above.

Lets return to our passage in Ps 40 where David speaks of the one who does not make the Lord his trust. Consider that to turn to the proud, is refined in this couplet as going after a lie! Pride and lies are common bedfellows in both the Old and New Testament.

The relation between humility and trust is again brought to my attention, and I ask those who may be reading, to consider the place of humility in trusting the Lord in their experience with the Lord.

Deeds and Thoughts Toward Us

David reverts to considering the One to whom he is praying, the One who has rescued him from the miry pit, and has set his feet on solid ground.

His thoughts and deeds are toward us, toward the hurting and helpless, toward those who suffer and are ignored, toward those who are weak and without guidance. The Lord’s deeds and thoughts are more than can be spoken. More than can be revealed. More than can be communicated.

His character of grace and mercy towards those who trust Him, (and those who don’t) cannot be fully expressed. Of course those who do not know Him, are still the recipients of multitudinous mercies on a daily basis, and yet they have no knowledge. We who claim to know Him, will naturally proclaim Him, even though it is impossible to fully communicate each and every one of His gracious thoughts and deeds toward us.

He is toward us, He is good and He is to be trusted.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 40 – A

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

1 To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry.
2 He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.
3 He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.

He inclined to me. He bent down to me.

The psalms speak of the Lords bending down to the saint in many passages. I will supply a few verses that use the very same Hebrew word David uses here, but as you read through the psalms, it will become evident the image of the King of Glory “bending down” is quite regular.

Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily! Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me! – Psalm 31:2

In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline your ear to me, and save me! – Psalm 71:2

A Prayer of David. Incline your ear, O LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. – Psalm 86:1

Let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry! – Psalm 88:2

Do not hide your face from me in the day of my distress! Incline your ear to me; answer me speedily in the day when I call! – Psalm 102:2

Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live. – Psalm 116:2

As I was gathering these verses, I was simply looking for the Hebrew word that is translated as “incline” in Psalm 40:1. I was hoping to simply display the fact that the Lord of Glory would incline towards the saint through this simple study, but something much more specific has been observed. Can you see it?

The Lord inclined His ear! He listened to the saint. He took time (I speak as a fool again) to consider the saints concerns and troubles. This was a wonder to the Old Testament saint, a blessing from the hand of God, and a privilege the saint experienced.

How so for us in the church? Do we have this privilege, of the Lord inclining His ear to us?

Oh my friends, we have much more than that. He inclined His life to us, taking on the form of a servant, and was born in our likeness.

He “inclined” totally!

who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. – Philippians 2:6-8 ESV

This is a mystery that is beyond me when I seek to understand it, and rightly so. The very fact that He took time to listen in days of old speaks volumes, for the Old Testament saint did not have a God who was indifferent or standoffish.

How much more for us, in that He not simply listened to the ones he heard, but rubbed shoulders with us, ate with us, walked with us and died for us.

Verse 2 speaks of His deliverance of our lives and a phrase caught my attention as I was a ruminating! He drew me up, “out of the miry bog”

When I first believed, I was so excited about escaping the fires of hell, but not so with the Psalmist. David has a different emphasis in this verse. He does not say He drew me up out of the fiery flames. No no no

The miry bog. A pit of clay. A hole without escape. Not to get too technical, but clay, when wet, has no bearing capacity, in not confined. It is a condition that the more you struggle and fight, the more the clay grabs you, holds you, even consumes you. No hope of escape on your own. A condition of distress, confusion and helplessness.

How often have you been in this condition? All is dark, with no seeming hope and nothing positive on the horizon? This is the condition David recounts as he begins this psalm and speaks of the unilateral help of the only true God in giving us deliverance.

He is the only One active in this set of verses, with the saint being the benefactor, the recipient of the goodness of God.

He is good. Think on these things and praise Him for His many mercies to us!


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 39 – D

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 39

12 “Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear to my cry; hold not your peace at my tears! For I am a sojourner with you, a guest, like all my fathers.
13 Look away from me, that I may smile again, before I depart and am no more!”

In our last post on this psalm, we saw that God had given David a stroke or blow that sent David reeling. He begged for this blow to be removed from his life. The reason for this blow upon his life? It appears to have something to do with his tongue, and had incurred the attention of the Lord.

Our passage today is short, but note how David’s prayers are full of gut wrenching emotion. He is pleading for an audience before the King, and is claiming no rights, as a guest, one who is invited and not necessarily earned his right to an audience.

He has confessed that the Lord has muted him, that he is not opening his mouth. This is necessary for discussion! I know this seems obvious but please let me explain my thinking.

I often spend time on conference calls at work and find that much of my time is spent asking to repeat what someone said. Why you ask? Because someone else (sometimes myself) was speaking over him. When two people speak at the same time, no-one gets a clear message out. Both speakers are showing a level of disrespect to the other, and revealing an attitude of superiority. Granted, time crunches and experience of the topic need to be considered in each conversation, but that doesn’t apply to our passage.

The two people interacting in this passage are the Lord of creation, the true King of Israel and His servant David. David has had his mouth closed by the King, and is currently willing to hear the “other side”. We do not hear of the Lord’s response in this Psalm, for this is not the intent of the Psalm.

David is in His proper place for healing at this time. He requests that the Lord look away from him, that is in relation to the blow that he is experiencing, that he may “smile again”. I love this translation, that he may “smile again”, to be cheerful!

It is good to be a believer, for the regular, common experience of the believer is to be cheerful. A thought that is primarily directed to myself, but as my momma used to say, “If the shoe fits, wear it!”

The Lord is good and His ways are perfect.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 39 – C

Psalm 39 is a psalm of confession, including an appeal to God’s eternality in considering our existence, our time on this earth as being nothing.

In our last post on Psalm 39, I sought to understand David’s poetical language describing his existence in relation to God’s existence.

When comparing any time unit, whether 10 seconds or 50,000,000 millennium, the result is the same. Time is insignificant since the comparison is somewhat ridiculous. Be that as it may, David compared and walked away beat up.

As I thought on it, trying to understand David’s thoughts, I also came away feeling a bit hopeless, somewhat out of sync. As you many remember, I brought a New Testament passage into the study to try to find some balance, and thankfully it was helpful.

But as I consider these portions of the Psalms, I need to read the psalm as a whole, for David’s reaction to his previous writing had produced in him the same hopelessness I expressed above, and yet he continues with the following.

7 “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.
8 Deliver me from all my transgressions. Do not make me the scorn of the fool!
9 I am mute; I do not open my mouth, for it is you who have done it.
10 Remove your stroke from me; I am spent by the hostility of your hand.
11 When you discipline a man with rebukes for sin, you consume like a moth what is dear to him; surely all mankind is a mere breath! Selah

For what do I wait? Waiting speaks of a time element, and David does not condemn this action of waiting. It is not wasted effort as we may assume from the previous passage, where he talks of the futility of our efforts and the fruit of our work passing to those we know not.

This waiting is for a specific action, and the waiting is required due to David’s hope being in God. His hope is not in his own efforts, that is in restraining his heart from expressing his thoughts, his tongue from wagging and flopping in front of his enemies!

Our first few verses in this psalm spoke of David’s effort to “shut up” in front of his enemies. God has accomplished this fruit in David’s life. It seems this “muteness” God accomplished in David’s life may be associated with a stroke from God, a hostility of God’s hand.

This stroke, or blow from God is sometimes associated in the Old Testament with leprosy, although in this instance, I believe David is using the term metaphorically. David is expressing God’s solution to his “yapping” problem as an affliction or a wound, what we may consider as a trial or testing.

This stroke is also described as a “hostility” of God’s hand. This term hostility is used only once in the Word and it also describes a “blow”, and includes a thought of contention or conflict.

David begs for this stroke to be removed, he is under a trial that is teaching, no accomplishing its intended effects, yet David is begging for it’s removal.

How often have we been under a trial and sought to be out of it? Of course as we request prayers for release from God’s stroke, we are often counselled to rejoice in the trial, and James does exhort us in this manner.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. – James 1:2-3

But note that the passage is training us to rejoice when we meet trials of various kinds, for the sake of the resulting patience that will be produced. To joy for the end result. Is this not similar to the outlook the One who took the ultimate stroke for us? He despised the shame, but since He considered the end result, He took joy.

looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:2

David summarizes the stroke of God on his life by speaking of how God disciplines a man with rebukes. It is good to know that we have a God who cares for us to the point of rebuking us, of disciplining us, of providing a “stroke” upon us to direct us, and to train us.

David again goes poetic, describing the sin that was so dear to him, as a moth consumed. A moth consumed? Some verses translate this phrase as the moth consuming, others as the moth being consumed. I have no idea which is the correct grammatical translation, but the picture of a moth consuming something is clear in my mind.

You see, growing up in our country home, my mother had a cedar closet. Dad built it so she could store her very best blankets and comforters. Remember, that as a Canadian, blankets and comforters were critical possessions in the depth of the January cold!

I remember only once that she opened it while I was with her, and the smell was awesome. All the walls of the closet had unstained, unvarnished cedar lining, and when it opened, the fragrance was almost overpowering.

I occasionally would return to the closet and take a secret woof of the cedar, but my mom wouldn’t have approved. You see, the cedar was installed to keep moths from attacking those precious blankets. If the cedar smell was exhausted, moths would inevitably eat the blankets, slowly destroying it, and given enough time, the blanket would be consumed.

In this passage, David equates God to the moth. God consumes (like a moth) that which is dear to the saint, that which is sin. Slowly, imperceptibly, God is at work, destroying the sin in your life, sometimes through a stroke or blow, as in this passage for David, and sometimes through other means.

Consider this poetic picture the next time you are under a disciplinary action from the Father, for He is seeking to direct our hearts to the only One we should hope in!


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 39 – B

Psalm 39

“O LORD, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!
Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah
Surely a man goes about as a shadow! Surely for nothing they are in turmoil; man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather!

David confessed to his failing effort to control his tongue in our last passage, and like David, I too am guilty of a “speaking” when I shouldn’t. Or better yet, of not trusting God for control of my heart, of my thoughts and therefore of my tongue, especially when in the presence of the wicked.

David immediately follows up his confession with a description of the futility of life, the sheer brevity of our existence.

David speaks of his days as a mere “handbreadth”. This is an uncommon word in my world, and I had to look it up, for my initial understanding was that of a measurement of physical distance, most commonly used in defining the height of a horse.

Low and behold, the modern definition justifies my thinking, in that a handbreadth is a linear measurement approximating the width of a hand, somewhere between 2.5 and 4 inches.

But that is so technical, so soulless. David is speaking of his existence, of my existence and your existence. Is he using handbreadth because he could think of nothing smaller, nothing less significant? His next definition of our lives is that of “nothing before Him, that is in relation to the everlasting nature of God, and our temporal existence actually as nothing, for it is measured in units of time, and time does not impact the Triune God, who inhabits eternity.

Although the Son did enter into His creation (of time!) at one point, in order to partake of flesh and blood. It is good to remember that the time units we swim in, the seconds, minutes, hours days, weeks, months, years, decades, centuries and millennium are, in relation to God’s existence “as nothing”.

But as fallen men and women, we dwell in this creation called time, just as we exist in the created atmosphere or on the surface of the created earth. Time, as a created “thing”, is of God, and one of the conditions upon which we exist.

David has established time as being immaterial to God and then speaks of three “surely’s”.

Surely #1 – All mankind stands as a mere breath.

David speaks of all mankind, the entirety of mankind, from the creation to the completion of all, as being a mere breath, a vapor that is transitory, empty and a vanity.

Mankind is a contradiction of terms, in that as David provides his description of it’s nothingness, each man in the sight of God has been sought, loved, served, guided and died for. What contradiction is this. How can we resolve this tension?

I do not have an answer to this – it is above me, and the only suggestion I may have is that David speaks of the duration of mankind’s existence, whereas the death of the Son speaks of the inherent worth of the creation. David is speaking of all of mankind’s existence, whereas Jesus, although having sought all men, is personal, and relates to each of those within mankind.

of his lifetime, let’s say his 70 years during a specific culture and time, with all the limitations and conditions of the time he exists in, is as nothing before God. Nothing, in relation to the conditions the man

Surely #2 – A man goes about as a shadow

At this point, I think David is leaving the group description, that is of all mankind, and focusing, or describing a single man, and in the relation to the previous description, this single man is only a shadow, a negation of light as a result of some body in the path of light.

Previously, all of mankind is described as nothing, or in my engineers mind, a zero, a non value. A single man as described in this verse, is a negation of light due to some blockage of light, the result of some barrier restricting light. This single man doesn’t even warrant being described as that which causes the shadow! A negative effect. Again, for those who understand my thinking as defaulting to numbers much of the time, this single man may be considered less than nothing. A negative value, in relation to comparing time with eternity.

Now, please don’t get me wrong and think of David giving some arithmetical formulation of men and all mankind. It is my non-balanced literal, numerical thinking that produces this discussion.

David is a poet and is expressing poetically the utter emptiness of his duration of existence without God. His heart is beating correctly, for he realizes his strength can only come from the One who is eternal, outside of the realms of time.

Surely #3 – A man experiences turmoil for nothing

This single man, this one who’s timely existence is equated with a negation, a less than zero value, suffers for nothing. Can you sense the futility David is seeking to express?

This single individual, like all others before and after, keeps themselves busy, works to produce the desires of their heart, spends this duration of time, which has been described as less than nothing in relation to eternity, this single individual spends this time pursuing wealth, wealth that will be taken by some other.

Consider – an individual using an insignificant allotment of time, struggling to acquire wealth that will end up as someone else’s possession, someone who is unknown.

David is speaking hard things to my heart now. Effort expended for nothing, a life spent chasing vapors, years of sweat and toil all to end up in a strangers wallet. How to understand this truth from the Psalmist? What is to be my understanding in order to respond properly? For I hear myself say that I need to be a good steward, to care and seek to provide for the ones I love, and for those God directs me too. And many passages come to mind that speak to caring for our loved ones, of seeking the protection and provision of others.

How can I reconcile this seeming problem in my thinking? Am I to consider all my efforts to be futile? All the time I have spent on this earth as “wasted” and that will be provided to me as a vapor?

Can we take a moment to consider a passage that I think gives some additional light on this psalm? Jesus spoke a hard parable in Luke 12. Let’s visit it for a moment.

Luke 12:13-21

Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”‘ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

At the risk of oversimplifying the passages we are considering, I understand the Lukan passage, the parable of the rich fool, to be a response to a question from a covetous man, one who wanted more of an inheritance. Old Testament law provided the first born double the amount of inheritance than any other sibling. As an example, if two sons in a family were to receive and inheritance, the first born would receive 66% of the inheritance while the younger son would receive 33%. I understand this one asking the question was looking to find a way around this law, and to get an equal share of the inheritance.

Jesus told a parable of a covetous rich fool to address this mans desire, and to expose him as the fool. Jesus was awesome at nailing a problem with a simple story!

Notice the reason I picked this parable when considering Psalm 39:6. In the 20th verse Jesus places these words in God’s mouth.

…the things you have prepared, whose will they be?

This is very similar to David’s message in the 6th verse of Psalm 39.

So, what of it Carl? Jesus is speaking of covetousness. David is speaking of the brevity of our time in relation to eternity. Both men are directing our attention to the importance of God’s perspective in everything we do and think.

Jesus’ parable seems to drive home the point for me. Covetousness. Accumulating things for the wrong purpose is the issue. A covetous man seeks to provide for himself (only?), to acquire and own things for the sake of his own comfort or ease, even his own pride.

And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”‘

David speaks of the turmoil of our acquiring, and the futility of losing it to others, even strangers.

In a perfect world, ownership would not provide the option of covetousness, but as fallen creatures, it is the condition we find ourselves in. It is a battle we must fight in order to maintain a purity of heart towards God. A battle to find a life of stewarding God’s good gifts and realizing we own nothing.

My friends, we are to steward things and love people in the wisp of time we have, for soon enough our opportunities will be gone.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.