301.) Psalms 40 and 41

Psalm 40 (New International Version)

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
and put their trust in the LORD.

from The Message of the Psalms,
by Walter Brueggemann

The beginning of the psalm is a familiar phrase:  “I waited patiently.”  This is a weak rendering.  The text has an infinitive absolute which might better be translated, “I hope intensely for Yahweh.”  Indeed all other hopes were exhausted.  Verses 1-10 tell that this passionate hope was fulfilled and not disappointed.  The hope was against all the evidence in the conviction that Yahweh could work a genuine newness.  The hope was not disappointed.

The rescue that was hoped for was granted:  he inclined, he heard, he drew me up, he set my feet, he put a new song in my mouth.  And the psalmist is eager to assert that this is not a private matter.  The personal rescue is a matter of public interest and benefit, for Yahweh’s trustworthiness in this instance leads others to trust.

The verbs of thanksgiving are of interest.  No doubt they refer to a personal experience, but the words have imaginative power because they also touch and allude to the primal memories of Egypt and the exodus.  That God inclines and hears, brings up, and sets feet in new places is the experience of all of Israel (see Exodus 2:23-25; 3:7-15).  The new song is enacted there in the Songs of Moses (Exodus 15:1-18) and Miriam (Exodus 15:21).  When one uses this psalm, one stands in solidarity with, participates in, and relives the whole saving memory of Israel.

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4 Blessed is the man
who makes the LORD his trust,
who does not look to the proud,
to those who turn aside to false gods.

5 Many, O LORD my God,
are the wonders you have done.
The things you planned for us
no one can recount to you;
were I to speak and tell of them,
they would be too many to declare.

John 21:25 (New Living Translation)

Jesus also did many other things. If they were all written down, I suppose the whole world could not contain the books that would be written.

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6 Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but my ears you have pierced;
burnt offerings and sin offerings
you did not require.

7 Then I said, “Here I am, I have come—
it is written about me in the scroll.

8 I desire to do your will, O my God;
your law is within my heart.”

John 4:34 (English Standard Version)

Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.”

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9 I proclaim righteousness in the great assembly;
I do not seal my lips,
as you know, O LORD.

10 I do not hide your righteousness in my heart;
I speak of your faithfulness and salvation.
I do not conceal your love and your truth
from the great assembly.

11 Do not withhold your mercy from me, O LORD;
may your love and your truth 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, O LORD, to save me;
O LORD, come quickly to help me.

my all-purpose prayer

14 May all who seek 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 love your salvation always say,
“The LORD be exalted!”

17 Yet I am poor and needy;
may the Lord think of me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
O my God, do not delay.

_________________________

Music:

From Psalm 18:

He reached down from heaven and rescued me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
He rescued me from my powerful enemies,
from those who hated me and were too strong for me.

Hillsong United and “Come to My Rescue.”

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Psalm 41

1 Blessed is he who has regard for the weak;
the LORD delivers him in times of trouble.

Proverbs 14:21 (New American Standard Bible)

He who despises his neighbor sins,
But happy is he who is gracious to the poor.

_________________________

2 The LORD will protect him and preserve his life;
he will bless him in the land
and not surrender him to the desire of his foes.

3 The LORD will sustain him on his sickbed
and restore him from his bed of illness.

4 I said, “O LORD, have mercy on me;
heal me, for I have sinned against you.”

5 My enemies say of me in malice,
“When will he die and his name perish?”

6 Whenever one comes to see me,
he speaks falsely, while his heart gathers slander;
then he goes out and spreads it abroad.

7 All my enemies whisper together against me;
they imagine the worst for me, saying,

8 “A vile disease has beset him;
he will never get up from the place where he lies.”

9 Even my close friend, whom I trusted,
he who shared my bread,
has lifted up his heel against me.

Mark 14:17-21 (New Living Translation)

In the evening Jesus arrived with the twelve disciples. As they were at the table eating, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, one of you eating with me here will betray me.”

Greatly distressed, each one asked in turn, “Am I the one?”

He replied, “It is one of you twelve who is eating from this bowl with me. For the Son of Man must die, as the Scriptures declared long ago. But how terrible it will be for the one who betrays him. It would be far better for that man if he had never been born!”

_________________________

10 But you, O LORD, have mercy on me;
raise me up, that I may repay them.

11 I know that you are pleased with me,
for my enemy does not triumph over me.

12 In my integrity you uphold me
and set me in your presence forever.

Psalm 23:6 (English Standard Version)

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
forever.

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13 Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting.
Amen and Amen.

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New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
verse 16 and mountains.    http://wonders.wallpaperdave.com/ps40-16v.jpg
rescued.    http://www.shcog.org/Pics/rescued.gif
books on shelves.    http://www.bpc.edu/academics/library/images/MVC-166S.JPG
soup bowl.    http://gangajal.org.in/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/hungry.jpg
Help!    http://strictlygospel.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/help.jpg
Mother Teresa and child.    http://www.markdroberts.com/images/Mother-Teresa-3.jpg
DaVinci’s “Last Supper.”    http://media.photobucket.com/image/last%20supper/thecathoderaychoob/Blog%2520Pics/last_supper_davinci.jpg
sky with light.    https://dwellingintheword.wordpress.com/2010/02/18/209-psalms-23-and-24/
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3 Responses to 301.) Psalms 40 and 41

  1. Roger says:

    Funny how things just pop out that you never noticed before. In Psalm 40:6, it says “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but my ears you have pierced; burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require.” I never caught the significance of the ear piercing before, the symbol that a Jewish slave so loved the family he worked for that he voluntarily Let his master pierce his ear with an awl so he would be bound to the family forever. Wow!

  2. JamesM says:

    Rebecca, Here’s another expression of Psalm 40, this time from U2:

  3. Rebecca says:

    James, Thank you, thank you! I was not familiar with this song and it is wonderful! I love any music suggestions so keep them coming!

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