Psalm 40 – The Cycle

Psalm 40

A David Psalm

1-3 I waited and waited and waited for God. At last he looked; finally he listened.
He lifted me out of the ditch,
pulled me from deep mud.
He stood me up on a solid rock
to make sure I wouldn’t slip.
He taught me how to sing the latest God-song,
a praise-song to our God.
More and more people are seeing this:
they enter the mystery,
abandoning themselves to God.

4-5 Blessed are you who give yourselves over to God,
turn your backs on the world’s “sure thing,”
ignore what the world worships;
The world’s a huge stockpile
of God-wonders and God-thoughts.
Nothing and no one
comes close to you!
I start talking about you, telling what I know,
and quickly run out of words.
Neither numbers nor words
account for you.

6 Doing something for you, bringing something to you—
that’s not what you’re after.
Being religious, acting pious—
that’s not what you’re asking for.
You’ve opened my ears
so I can listen.

7-8 So I answered, “I’m coming.
I read in your letter what you wrote about me,
And I’m coming to the party
you’re throwing for me.”
That’s when God’s Word entered my life,
became part of my very being.

9-10 I’ve preached you to the whole congregation,
I’ve kept back nothing, God—you know that.
I didn’t keep the news of your ways
a secret, didn’t keep it to myself.
I told it all, how dependable you are, how thorough.
I didn’t hold back pieces of love and truth
For myself alone. I told it all,
let the congregation know the whole story.

11-12 Now God, don’t hold out on me,
don’t hold back your passion.
Your love and truth
are all that keeps me together.
When troubles ganged up on me,
a mob of sins past counting,
I was so swamped by guilt
I couldn’t see my way clear.
More guilt in my heart than hair on my head,
so heavy the guilt that my heart gave out.

13-15 Soften up, God, and intervene;
hurry and get me some help,
So those who are trying to kidnap my soul
will be embarrassed and lose face,
So anyone who gets a kick out of making me miserable
will be heckled and disgraced,
So those who pray for my ruin
will be booed and jeered without mercy.

16-17 But all who are hunting for you—
oh, let them sing and be happy.
Let those who know what you’re all about
tell the world you’re great and not quitting.
And me? I’m a mess. I’m nothing and have nothing:
make something of me.
You can do it; you’ve got what it takes—
but God, don’t put it off.

This Psalm is interesting. The psalms are a collection of prayers and worship songs. This one starts off with a cry for help . . . as Christians we have this idea that we need to have it all together and cannot let anyone see we are in need of help. The problem and sickness in this idea is that it is not what our God wants. Yes he calls us to be holy like him, but the truth of it is that our sin nature keeps us from that, we can strive for it and part of it is that we cry out “Lord, help me” from time to time. The cycle is we cry out, and God rescues, in His time, which if we are pursuing Christ-likeness is our time as well. Then after he saves us from the storm and we are drying off and the sun comes out, we stop paying attention to our path and we slip into a bog, not like a nice small one, but one like in The Lord of the Rings that is smelly and full of bugs that want to eat us alive, and water and mud and we slip into it and get stuck, the going is hard and we are dirty, we cry out again, and God comes and lifts us out when all hope is lost, and we cry out our thanks and praise, but before to long we reach a steep mountain and are walking along a path with a wall of rock to one side and a steep decline on the other and we miss-step . . . get the point. This Psalm is showing us this. But if we look close, very close we see two types of rescue, first the one from our immediate situation, the second is a larger rescue. The writer of this Psalms sees our Savior, our Messiah, and our Christ. The larger rescue from our condition as sinners. The cycle may still continue, but we know that rescue will always come. We just need to look deep and hard, just as in the Lion King, when Rafikee the Baboon is telling Simba that your father is there in the pool, the first time he looks and sees himself, Rafikee says “Look Harder” and there he sees his father. That is what we must do. Look harder in our situations and see Christ in them, look harder in this Psalm and see Christ.

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One thought on “Psalm 40 – The Cycle

  1. Daniel Vaccaro says:

    I love your blogs so much! It has been awesome going through so many psalms, I love the way you dissect them. And using The Message brings so much life to God’s Word.
    Check out a band called Sons of Korah; All their songs are Psalms set to music, and they are amazing. After finding your site here I became really amazed with the Psalms. They have more depth than I ever knew, and cover more broad things than I thought. Thanks.
    Loved this Psalm 40 so much!!

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