June 24, 2014
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 24 June 2014
Psalm 40 begins with personal testimony to an experience of God’s deliverance. “I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to me and heard my cry.” The word translated “waited” means waiting with assurance that God will hear the cry for help, and therefore conveys patient confidence in God. Verses 1-3 report an evident progression of God’s action in response to waiting patiently: “inclined . . . heard . . . brought me up . . . set . . . put.” As a result of God’s providence, “many will see and fear and will trust in the LORD.” The praise of God’s deliverance is not complete until many “see and fear” the providence of the Lord, and are drawn by the same grace of God to “trust in the LORD.”
Deliverance through Trust
(40:4-5) All who trust in the Lord are blessed, which is an indication of happiness and joy. God will intervene in favor of the one who trusts in Him, as opposed to those who are proud and deceptive (or who lapse into idolatry). Trust in God is the antithesis of the proud who are reliant upon self and live without trust. Divine grace belongs to the one who is confident in God, whose “wonders” are “too numerous to count.” The wonders that David referred are not the actions of self, but refer to the providential interventions of God (cf. Rom 8:28). The Lord’s providence has a wonderful effect upon the one who experiences the omnipotent intervention of God.
Deliverance Is a Resolve
(40:6-8) Saul was made king before the Lord in Gilgal (1 Sam 11:15). King Saul, however, did not lose the kingdom because he failed to offer burnt offerings and sacrifices. He lost the kingdom because he was not obedient to the Lord’s commands (15:10-11, 22-23). David’s words in verses 6-8 were not opposing the sacrificial system, but the mere formalism of those who are not eager to delight in God’s commands. Sacrifice is not entirely unimportant, but it is less important than obedience. David confessed that God opened his ears to the Law for the purpose of commitment to the Lord. His eagerness to obey is expressed by his preparedness, “Behold, I come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me. I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart.” Obedience to God was the resolve of David’s heart, which was also true with regard to Christ’s obedience unto death (Heb 10:5-7).
Deliverance Is through God’s Perfections
(40:9-11) The psalmist’s gratitude for so great a salvation caused him to proclaim God’s perfections to the congregation gathered for worship. David spoke eagerly with regard to God’s salvation for others. “Behold, I will not restrain my lips.” The psalmist could not be silent having received so great a salvation. He was compelled to testify with regard to God’s righteousness and faithfulness. David’s proclamation of God’s perfections was to “the great congregation.”
Deliverance Necessitates Prayer
(40:12-16) The celebration and proclamation of God’s perfections are the basis for David’s prayer. Although he experienced God’s deliverance, David was aware that life’s challenges are always near. Therefore, he prayed, “You, O LORD, will not withhold Your compassion from me,” requesting that God’s compassion and lovingkindness preserve him. David found himself surrounded again by difficult situations; however, on this occasion, the trouble was the result of his own sin. David’s knowledge of the Word of God (Ps 40:7) resulted in a true understanding of God’s righteousness and his sinfulness. Obedience to God coexists with acknowledgement of sin.
The psalmist understood that God alone was his salvation (40:13-15). David waited patiently for the Lord (40:1), but also prayed for Him to “make haste” according to His will (“be pleased”). Knowing the justice of God, the psalmist prayed for shame and humiliation for those who sought to bring him harm. The request was not failure to love one’s enemies; rather, the enemies who shouted, “Aha, aha!,” were contemptuous toward God, and therefore, judgment was appropriate. However, for those who seek God there is rejoicing and gladness (40:16). The enemies of God are silenced and God’s people shout with joy.
Deliverance Is Joy in the Lord
(40:17) The psalmist concludes with a confession of his personal need for salvation: “I am afflicted and needy.” David understood his helplessness in the presence of his enemies. He did not presume upon the grace and power of God, but simply confessed, “Let the Lord be mindful of me.” He knew God as his “help” and “deliverer.” The psalmist’s needs, however, were urgent (“do not delay”). Nevertheless, he would wait patiently for the Lord’s deliverance. Regardless of life’s challenges, God’s people may be confident that there is an eternal purpose in the difficulty and the Lord will not withhold his compassion. God’s lovingkindness and truth will preserve His servants, according to his perfect will. Those who seek God will not be disappointed, but may rejoice and be glad in His salvation. “The LORD be magnified!” (40:16).
REMINDER: next Tuesday (1st of July) isthe monthly (interim) Capitol Commission Bible StudyRoom 123 CAP, Georgia Capitol, @ 12 Noon