Psalm 40: A New Song
February 18, 2022
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
For U2 fans, this psalm is made more latterly renowned by a song they sang named “40”—whose lyrics are modeled on that of this song. But whatever the entrance way that leads you to this psalm, you are blessed if you linger here and learn its lessons!
Note how David said he “waited patiently” for the Lord (40:1). What a hard lesson this is for us! Is there some hurt, disappointment, or troubling question that plagues you? Perhaps you do not have the answer because you are not yet ready to understand it. A child cannot grasp the full answers to his questions and must do with either a half-answer or no answer at all from time to time. Similarly, with us, even children of God, our questions sometimes require answers that are beyond the capacity of our brains to comprehend, our experience to apprehend, or our nature to grasp. So we must, at times, “wait patiently.”
If you are in such a time of waiting, take comfort from David’s testimony that the wait was worth it! God drew him out of the pit, out of the “miry bog,” and set his feet on a “rock” (40:2). What was this “pit” in which David had fallen? Later, he describes the iniquities that made it impossible for him to see (40:12). Perhaps the pit is of his own making, his own moral failure, that led to a sense of distance from God and reprimand from people.
But he also talks of people who are seeking to “snatch away his life” (40:14). Perhaps then the pit is a pit of accusation from other people, unfair attack, physical or relational danger from other people. Whichever it is (or both), David’s testimony is that God rescued him. Be encouraged then to ask God to rescue you from your “pit”! And wait patiently until he answers the prayer.
Because of this rescue, David finds that God has “put a new song” in his mouth (40:3). He has something new to sing about, a new sense of rescue, a new insight into God’s mercy, a new understanding of God’s love. And because of that new song (perhaps this very Psalm 40 that we are reading), he knows that many will see and fear and put their trust in God.
When God does something amazing to rescue us, it is inevitable that a godly Christian will wish to speak (and if capable, sing) about it. They have a “new song.” And such testimony, by God’s grace, will cause other people to learn from their experience and put their trust in God too. May it be so with us even today!
So David now turns, having recorded his experience, to commend to us the same trust which meant he had experienced God’s mercy: “Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust” (40:4). Would you make God your trust today? Not trust in people with their proud, self-sufficient answers. But do the simple, crazy, wondrous thing: ask God to help you, cry out to God to rescue you, trust in him. The person who does is “blessed”! They are truly happy, truly joyful. This is not about special sacrifice or religious deeds, but that God has given David an “open ear”; he can hear God’s Word and so trust God’s Word.
Still, as David concludes, in this life there is always more that needs to be prayed for. When one trouble is solved, another trouble meanders over the horizon. “As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and deliverer; do not delay, O my God!” (Psalm 40:17).
Would you this morning “trust” in the Lord? Would you ask him, poor and needy though you may be, to help and deliver you? David’s experience was that when he “waited patiently” for the Lord, God heard him, God rescued him, God put a new song in his mouth. And because of that experience many others put their trust in the Lord. Perhaps even you again today.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
To receive God Centered Life devotionals directly in your inbox, as well as other resources, enter your email address in the form at the bottom of this page and click "subscribe."