Psalm 40: The God Who Rescues

Imagine being trapped in quicksand with no friend to help. The situation seems hopeless but you do not give up hope. Then, out of the forest, a rescuer frees you from the trap and brings you to safety. You feel relief and gratitude and thank your rescuer for saving you. This is the message of Psalm 40 except the quicksand is a miry bog of destruction and God is the rescuer.

Trust in God

Although God is in control of all things, he allowed David to fall into peril. God is our rescuer but He allow us to fall into trials to test and strengthen us. Occasionally we need difficulties and trials to test our faith in God and develop trust in Him. While in the pit he faced a crisis: put his trust in God (v.1) or man (v.4)? David knew that men would fail him so he waited on the Lord for deliverance. He trusted that God would not abandon him. That trust was well placed because God drew him out of the pit, placed him on solid ground, and put a new song in his mouth. This new song is likely a new song of praise about this recent deliverance. One more thing for which he could thank God.

Obedience to God
His trust in God was not based on the ritual of his worship but obedience from the heart. He did not have a superstitious view of God where the person who performed the right rituals would please God regardless of his lack of faith or insincerity. Today some people have a superstitious faith believing they can live immoral lives but go to church (at least on special days of the year) or give a regular contribution and God will accept them. Malachi 1:6-14 records God’s displeasure with those who think they please Him by going through empty rituals. God’s desire was that they shut the doors and quit pretending.

David’s focus was obedience from the heart. Such obedience, that included worship, was his delight. God’s law was written on his heart. It was an integral part of who he was, not just something he did.

Proclaim God’s Goodness
Having been delivered by God, he shared the good news of his deliverance with others. Of course, sharing the good news of deliverance from the mire of destruction is what the Christian does when he proclaims the gospel to others. Consider how David proclaimed the glory of mercy and salvation and how we should follow his example with the gospel:

  • He proclaimed the news with unrestrained lips (v.9). The greatest hindrance to the spread of the gospel is not oppression of enemies who want to silence us under threat of death but of Christians who restrain the gospel from leaving their lips for fear of embarrassment or ridicule.
  • He did not hide the news of his deliverance within (v.10). He did not keep the good news to himself. When we discover a great song, movie, phone app, or book we are eager to share it with others, post it on Facebook, and enthusiastically recommend it. The greatest news of all, that should be enriching every part of our life, can sadly become the best kept secret in a Christian’s life. Do not put your light under a bushel but on a stand that it may light the way for others! (Matthew 5:15)
  • He did not conceal God’s love and faithfulness in his life from the congregation (v.10) and proclaimed His great deeds (v.5). We must remind fellow Christians of God’s goodness and faithfulness during our difficult times. Other Christians may be going through difficult times and need to be reminded that God will deliver them even though they may have to suffer for a little while longer.
Although he praised God for deliverance, he knew that other evils would encompass him again (v.12). However, since he trusted in God and obeyed Him, he trusted that God would deliver him from future trials as well. The result of deliverance is not freedom from trials but more trials, more deliverance, and more reasons to praise God.
The trials provide opportunities for God to demonstrate his mercy, love, and faithfulness (vv.11-15). Our illusions of self-sufficiency fade and we realize that we need God all of the time. David closed with a hope that others would trust God just as he did and share his joy in a relationship with a loving and caring God.
As for me, I am poor and needy,
but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
do not delay, O my God!
(Psalm 40:17 ESV)
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Categories: Knowing God

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