1215.) Psalm 40

As we approach New Year’s, we will be looking at some of the Old Testament passages which speak of Christ.

There are a number of psalms which speak of the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. They are called Messianic psalms since they speak of the Messiah. The question may be asked: “How can we recognize a Messianic psalm?” The answer would be:  where there is a reference to the Messiah in a psalm, and it is applied to Christ and expounded in the New Testament.

–The Messianic Psalms, by T. Ernest Wilson

Psalm 40 (NIV)

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.

_________________________

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.”

Hebrews 10:1-10   (NLT)

The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship. If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared.

But instead, those sacrifices actually reminded them of their sins year after year. For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. That is why, when Christ came into the world, he said to God,

“You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings.
    But you have given me a body to offer.
You were not pleased with burnt offerings
    or other offerings for sin.
Then I said, ‘Look, I have come to do your will, O God—
    as is written about me in the Scriptures.’”

First, Christ said, “You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings or burnt offerings or other offerings for sin, nor were you pleased with them” (though they are required by the law of Moses). Then he said, “Look, I have come to do your will.” He cancels the first covenant in order to put the second into effect. For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.

_________________________

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:

HERE  is Cloverton and their “Hallelujah (Christmas Version).”  It tells the whole story of Christ’s obedience to the Father.

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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.eastidahonews.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Rescue.gif
books on shelves.    http://www.bpc.edu/academics/library/images/MVC-166S.JPG
soup bowl.    http://info.xfactorllc.com/Portals/69322/images/Hand%20holding%20ladle%20dipping%20soup%20-resized-600.jpg
Help!    http://strictlygospel.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/help.jpg
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