It takes hands to build a house, but only hearts can build a home.

Author Unknown

Sunday, March 30, 2008

STUDY NOTES - PSALM 40

GRATITUDE AND PRAYER FOR HELP
For the leader. A psalm of David

I waited, waited for the Lord;
Who bent down and heard my cry,
Drew me out of the pit of descruction
Out of the muc of the swamp
Set my feet upon rock,
Steadied my steps,
And put a new song in my mouth
A hymn to our God
Many shall look on in awe
And they shall trust in the Lord

Happy those who trust is the Lord,
Who turn not to idolatry
Or to those who stray after falsehood
How numerous, O Lord, my God,
You have made your wondrous deeds
And in your plans for us
There is not equal to you
Shoud I wish to declare or tell them,
Too many are they to recount

….Though I am afflicted and poor,
The Lord keeps me in mind
You are my help and deliverer;
My God, do not delay

Psalm 40

The probability that Psalm 40 was once two independent psalms becomes evident as we prayerfully move through these words. In verses 2-12 the psalmist expresses deep gratitude for being personally rescued by Yahweh. The one praying the psalm rejoices in being given a new song to sing, a song that is not kept secret but prized and sung out so as to make others listen with amazement.

However in verses 13-18 that fresh new song turns to distress. The tone of the psalmist becomes a lament. The rescue team needs to be sent in again. God’s goodness has not been entirely forgotten though. There is a remembering of past kindnesses and a plea that God remember again and not hold back the Divine Presence.

I am aware of how much I identify with these inconsistent moods: gratitude and awe, distress and lament

I waited, waited for the Lord;
who bent down and heard my cry (v. 2)


The obedience of waiting is not something that is high on the list of our priorities, most likely, but it is healthy to learn to wait. Waiting for God is part of prayer. Whether we are asking for special needs, for protection, healing, or even if we are just yearning for holiness and wholeness, we simply must learn to wait—to just sit in our prayer and BE QUIET.

My heart is moved at the image of God stooping toward me in order to better hear my prayer
try to put on the mind of the psalmist. Have you ever been in a pit of destruction? Have you had to be drawn out of the swamp? Although these are rather harsh metaphors depicting places where we might, on occasion, hang out, I have to admit I know these places well. I have been rescued from these non-scenic abodes more than onc
e.

To put a face on these places,
—when I moan about my wounds rather than trying to discern their hidden blessing…
—when discouragement shows up at my door more often than hope…
—when I focus on the negative things surrounding me, totally missing the positive…
then I am in the pit of destruction and the muddy swamp. I need to be rescued.
Hopefully when we find ourselves in these unattractive places we will have enough vision to ask for assistance and to wait for God to lean down and hear our cry.

The psalmist proclaims that after a time of waiting, God hears the cry of the one in need and changes that cry of desperation into a song of praise and gratitude. Others hear the new song of the one who once lived in darkness. The song fills their hearts. They, too, begin to trust God more completely.

...ears open to obedience you gave me (v. 7).

What if we moved through our day with ears open to obedience? What then might happen to our despondent moods? What might change in our lives? To do your will is my delight;
my God, your law is within my heart!” (v. 9).
I would like to make this my daily prayer but I am so good at forgetting. Still, the desire is compelling. Let us practice remembering our good desires.


…my courage fails me (v. 13).

No matter how often we sing the joyful song of God’s presence and give praise for the divine assistance that has graciously fallen upon our woes, the day will probably return when we find ourselves saying, “…my courage fails me.”

Then we begin again.
"Lord, graciously rescue me! Come quickly to help me, Lord!" (v. 14).
That is a very good prayer and it can also serve as a pocket prayer, something small enough to carry around with you on the days of your greatest need.

The psalms are treasures offering you many such prayers. Prayers small enough to carry in your heart or our pocket!

I accidently found this study of Psalm 40 this past week while surfing
the net…It was in a newsletter from the Little Rock Bible Study. It touched my heart because it so defined my feelings. The ups and downs of life tend to do that to us. My theme for this month in my other journal is about God giving us hope. To me that is what this psalm is all about.

‘On Ya’ - ma

1 comment:

Salzwedel Family said...

I'm studying Psalm 40 right now. I feel I am at a point of waiting on the Lord. Thanks for sharing.