How do you respond during tough times of life? David shows us in Psalm 40. He begins by giving praise and testimony of how the Lord had helped him in times past. David was still facing more problems than he could count (v. 12a): the consequences of his own sin (v. 12b) and enemies out to destroy him (vv. 14-15). Verses 1-5 reveal God’s help in previous encounters and how David hoped in God’s character to do it once again. David explained in previous tough times how he waited on the Lord, cried out to Him, and the Lord “lifted him out of the slimy pit” (v. 2). “He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand” doesn’t necessarily mean God instantly took care of David’s problem but helped David focus on Him instead of his circumstances. He is the solid rock on which we stand! This caused a song in David’s mouth (v. 3a) that stemmed from the fear of the Lord and trust in his heart (vv. 3b-4). The Lord had been faithful time after time (v. 5) and would be faithful once again.
In verses 6-8, which are quoted in Hebrews 10:5-9 about Jesus the Messiah, show us God desires our hearts, not just our outward actions. David said God didn’t want the sacrificial system (v. 6). Although not wrong to do, David knew God wanted his heart. In fact, He does not want it today as Hebrews 10:10 reminds us, “We have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” David honored God with praise on his lips (vv. 9-10) that originated from the sincerity of his heart (v. 8). God doesn’t want us to honor him with our lips if our hearts are far from Him (Isaiah 29:13). He didn’t want animal sacrifices and burnt offerings (v. 6) on the outside apart from a heart that loved Him on the inside. He doesn’t want our outward signs of worship either without authentic hearts that truly worship Him. In other words, He doesn’t want motion without devotion.
From a worshipful heart, David asks for the Lord to deliver him once again (vv. 11-15). After all, if He did it before, He could do it again! He not only needed God’s help for the enemy that surrounded him but also for the enemy within him. Sometimes we only want God to deal with others instead of allowing God to deal with us. David knew as a sinful man he could not properly handle the sinful men who were after him. David’s “I am/You are” statement at the end of the psalm sums it up well. He knew who he was, poor and needy (v. 17a). He also knew God was his help and deliverance (v. 17b). He needed the Lord his great God, and so do we!
- Have you forgotten how the Lord has helped you in the past?
- Are you going through the motions of worship externally without letting the Lord deal with you internally?
- Are you more focused on the enemy around you or the enemy within you?
Lord, You’ve been faithful many times before and You will be again and again. Thank You for pulling me out of the unstable ground of the mud and placing me on You the firm foundation. I will not just go through the motions of worship for everyone else to see. You see the sincerity of worship from a thankful heart. I am weak, You are strong. I am helpless, but You are my Helper. I am sinful, but You are Holy! Thank You! In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen!