My heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue: "O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!"

08 April 2005

Deliverance - Psalm 40

This is my most recent Psalm meditation, on Psalm 40:1-9 (which is 40E if you have access to a Psalter from Crown and Covenant -

Psalm 40:1-9 (40E)

Theme Christ’s deliverance is both eternal and daily, and it brings us to rejoicing and testifying.

Notes What a wonderful Savior! Entirely realistic, this Psalm recognizes the “miry bogs” (v. 1) we may know in our life and brings us ultimately to our God, who has planned and perfected our deliverance from all eternity. Verse one describes the man waiting for God and verse two shows the mighty deliverance of God that we could never accomplish. What happens next? Verse three tells us that God uses deliverance to give us a new song (Rev. 14:3) and makes the objects of salvation visible reasons for others to trust in Him.

Verses four and five continue the idea of trust. Because of God’s mighty hand pulling us out of the bog, we can run to Him, forsaking all other gods. God’s deliverance also gives the clarity we need to rejoice in His “wondrous deeds” and thoughts.

Faith continues to bring clarity (v. 6); once you’ve cast all upon Christ in faith, you will realize that God never desired mere forms of worship or faithless outward obedience. God wants us to love Him in faith, not resign ourselves to obey Him in fear! Because He has delivered us and given us faith, we can respond with verses 7-9, proclaiming to God our great desire to obey Him and to unlock our lips that we may pour forth continual praise and testimony.

To really understand this Psalm, however, the singer must see, not just himself, but our Lord Jesus in this song. Hebrews 10 helps us here. That chapter begins by showing the impossibility of being saved by animal sacrifices. Then it reminds us that those sacrifices, though not meant to save, were an ongoing reminder of sin and deliverance. To prove this, the writer to the Hebrews quotes Psalm 40:6-8 and attributes that quote to Jesus Himself. These words of sacrifice and faith and promises to do the Father’s will are not our words first; they originally belong to our Savior. It is Jesus alone who is truly able to say, “I desire to do your will” or “I have come to do your will.” Certainly we could never say those words on our own! But, hallelujah, we can sing them because we are united to the only One able to fulfill the Father’s will.

What was the result of Christ doing the Father’s will? Our deliverance: “by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Heb. 10:10) Thus, Psalm 40 comes full circle – a song that begins about deliverance finds its Biblical end in the redemption purchased by the perfect obedience of Christ. For eternal salvation and daily deliverance, look only to Christ!

Application Call on Christ for everyday deliverance, placing all your trust in Him. Respond to His deliverance with loud confession and praise.

On Singing Psalm 40E The style of this arrangement is different from most of the tunes we are used to singing. It is an anthem; think of the Star Spangled Banner, our national anthem, for a good example of this type of music. It is characterized by a bold and confident tone with a strong melody line. This Psalm is best sung to a medium tempo with strength and gusto. The dynamics (volume) should follow the movement of the melody, which match the words of this Psalm quite well. Overall sing this Psalm as a confident personal proclamation of faith in the saving power of our God.

1 comment:

ellyn olivetti said...

I now know what a blog is ... and I like yours! This commentary on Psalm 40 reflects your recent sermon on this Psalm, which I listened to AGAIN yesterday. You help me get sanctified while I am driving.

I have meditated on the thought of God's deliverance every day - something I had not thought too much about before. Thank you for growing from my child to my teacher. you are a blessing to me.