PRAISE, PRAY, PROCLAIM…
Lord, help me to properly focus on Your past deliverances on my behalf.
Read PSALM 40
For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.
1 I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
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.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
and put their trust in him.
4 Blessed is the one
who trusts in the Lord,
who does not look to the proud,
to those who turn aside to false gods.[b]
5 Many, Lord my God,
are the wonders you have done,
the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
they would be too many to declare.
6 Sacrifice and offering you did not desire—
but my ears you have opened[c]—
burnt offerings and sin offerings[d] you did not require.
7 Then I said, “Here I am, I have come—
it is written about me in the scroll.[e]
8 I desire to do your will, my God;
your law is within my heart.”
9 I proclaim your saving acts in the great assembly;
I do not seal my lips, Lord,
as you know.
10 I do not hide your righteousness in my heart;
I speak of your faithfulness and your saving help.
I do not conceal your love and your faithfulness
from the great assembly.
11 Do not withhold your mercy from me, Lord;
may your love and faithfulness always protect me.
12 For troubles without number surround me;
my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see.
They are more than the hairs of my head,
and my heart fails within me.
13 Be pleased to save me, Lord;
come quickly, Lord, to help me.
14 May all who want to take my life
be put to shame and confusion;
may all who desire my ruin
be turned back in disgrace.
15 May those who say to me, “Aha! Aha!”
be appalled at their own shame.
16 But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who long for your saving help always say,
“The Lord is great!”
17 But as for me, I am poor and needy;
may the Lord think of me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
you are my God, do not delay.
a Psalm 40:1 In Hebrew texts 40:1-17 is numbered 40:2-18.
b Psalm 40:4 Or to lies
c Psalm 40:6 Hebrew; some Septuagint manuscripts but a body you have prepared for me
d Psalm 40:6 Or purification offerings
e Psalm 40:7 Or come / with the scroll written for me
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Fill thou my life, O Lord my God, / in every part with praise, / that my whole being may proclaim / thy being and thy ways” (Horatius Bonar, 1808–1889).
David is troubled by enemies (14,15), but his own troubles no longer dominate his thoughts. Instead, he recounts his past experience of salvation (1–3), which prompts him to praise the Lord for this and innumerable other blessings (4,5). He has learned that praise is appropriate in the midst of trouble. His worship is transformed by a keen awareness that the Lord requires inner righteousness rather than mere outward religiosity (6–8). In the New Testament these verses are identiﬁed as the words of Christ and related to his substitutionary work on the cross (Heb. 10:5–9 uses the Greek translation of Psa. 40). The emphasis is on his voluntary giving of himself to be the perfect, effective, once-for-all sacriﬁce for sin. In prayer, David has been granted a glimpse into the Lord’s eternal plan of salvation. He testiﬁes to the Lord’s goodness in a public, unrestrained witness (9,10). He focuses on the Lord’s character rather than simply on his own experiences—a good example for us. How readily do you count your blessings, turn them into praise, and testify to the Lord’s goodness?
Only after praise and thanksgiving does David begin his urgent prayer for deliverance (11–17). His prayer focuses on both his spiritual need in the light of his own sin and on his physical need in the light of his enemies’ activities (12–15). He knows that only the “mercies” (11) of steadfast love, truth and divine help can deal with the evils which threaten him. Those evils are real, but he is not totally self-absorbed. His prayer is for “all who seek you”—globally as well as personally (16). Apparently, David has had cause to pray this prayer more than once in his life (cf. Psa. 70:3). Like most of us, it seems that he needs to learn life’s lessons by repetition.
Spend some time counting your blessings and praising the Lord for them. Resolve to take any opportunity to testify to his goodness today. Pray for any who doubt that goodness.
Lord, thank You for setting my feet upon a rock, establishing my steps, and putting a new song in my mouth.
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