"I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry." Psalm 40:1
Main Idea: Know that God hears us. What happens when we wait on God? We gain patience because we know He will hear us. When we are in trouble, He will hear us; we can trust Him and His timing. He will reach down and pull us up when we are down and out. He is our strong foundation and support for all aspects of life. You and I can have confidence of faith and even receive songs of great joy in our hearts because of all that He is doing even when we do not see it. You and I can—and should--be grateful and praise Him, as our faith is centered by our trust and respect of His Holiness, even in adversity. God will bless us for our trust in Him as long as we are not arrogant, lose out to our pride, or get distracted by what is false. You and I can look at God and life in a new, better way knowing He at work, and we can trust His wonders and plans even when we are limited in our own vision due to circumstances and situations.
Nothing in the universe compares to God. Even at our best, you and I could never tell, let alone fathom, all of His wonders and deeds. As for us, God wants our trust and faith over all else in life, because there is nothing greater we can give Him. We can have the desire to follow His will and plan, to place Him first and foremost in our life, and tell all around us of His doings. How could we dare hide His faithfulness or righteousness and how He can save others? Why would we hold it in? God does not withhold His mercy from us, why would we refuse to talk about it? When life is full of its ills and our lives are upset, we can turn to Him. When others are in that place, we can tell them where to go to. God will save us. He does not desire us to be confused and disheartened or trampled upon; although, those who fight against Him and His children will be. Others may have that in mind, but our Lord God only has goodness and love for us. So, when our hearts becomes weak and we start to slip in our faith, turn to our Rock, who is our Deliverer and higher than we. He is our strength, our confidence our One sure hope. We can praise Him wholeheartedly and say how great He is. Lord, please do not delay pulling me up out of my mess!
Contexts and Background:
God has answered the psalmist (probably David's prayers) in the past, so he is confident He will hear him again. A testimony of faith we all need. Perhaps this situation is dire like a sickness. This may be set in the aftermath of the coup d'état from Absalom. David is now back on the throne--old, ill, and exhausted--and recalls his plea and how God heard and rescued him. Now, David has the confidence to petition Him again. This also gives us a beautiful image of our Savior Jesus, Who was crucified, because of our sin-cursed world. Christ became an object of hatred and mockery.
Commentary—Word and Phrase Meanings:
Verses 1-10: God hears our prayers and is concerned with our suffering. God delivers and rewards and displays His power in us personally. That shows us not just His love, but also His Way is perfect and ours is feeble. Therefore, we can trust in Him and be better off for it.
- Waited patiently. God's answer does not always come imminently or when we want. Hope is conveyed by the idea of waiting on God (Isaiah 40:31; Psalm 25:4-5; Rom. 8:24-25; Eph. 1:18; Heb. 6:19; 1 Pet. 1:3, 13).
- Heard my cry / voice. God hears us! We can go to our Lord at any time with confidence. We have a duty to give our full attention to God's voice, His Word, and reverence Him (Gen. 14:19; Ex. 19:16-19; Job 37:2-6; 2 Kings 8:19; Psalm 18:11-15; 29; 77:18; Isa. 55:3; Ezek. 1:4, 24; 43:2; Dan. 10:6; Heb. 12:18-29; Rev. 4:1- 11).
- Lifted me / drawn me up out of the depths. The same Hebrew word for drawing up a bucket of water from a well. This means to save someone, so they do not die, as Joseph was saved from the cistern he was imprisoned in by his brothers (Psalm 30:1-6).
- Slimy pit/ miry pit / pit of destruction. A metaphor for death and the place of the dead that is often referred to as a mud pit. The contrast is the sure-footed terrain that God offers so we do not fear life's ills or death. (Psalm 6:5; 30:3; Isa. 6:11; Jer. 38:6-f).
- My feet on a rock. A poetic symbol for God and His security and defense. This also denotes David hiding in a cave from Saul as God protected him (Duet. 32: 4,5-18, 31, 37; Judges 6:2; 2 Sam. 23:25-38; Psalm 27:5; 61:2; Isa. 44:8).
- New song. Refers to the theme of our deliverance. This also compares to "ascents" of the soul, like the Psalms of Ascent (Psalms 120 to 134) as describing mystical experiences or encounters with God (2 Cor. 12:2-4). This is also an image of "being caught up" with our encounter with God, or meeting God as He is our life, transforming and our true conviction for our faith and practice (1 Sam. 1:24-2:10; Ezek. 2:2; 3:14, 24: 8:3; 11:1-24; Luke 17:30-35; John 14:2-3; Philip. 3:21; 1 Thess. 4:17).
- Hymn of praise. A call to worship God, "Praise the Lord," is found in the Psalms. This is a Liturgical expletive a priest uses called a "piel," as in a command to call the people to praise and worship Yahweh (Jer. 51:48; Psalm 104:34; (104-106, 111-113, 117, 135, 146-150, and many more); Rom. 15:8-12).
- Fear the Lord. This epic statement of faith means the awe and reverence we must have to God, so that our response is to trust, revere, serve, and place Him first and foremost and worship God as LORD of all. Then, live life as it relates to faith and honor to God (Gen. 20:11; Deut. 6:4-5; Psalm 27:1; Prov. 1:7; Eccl. 12:13; Matt. 6:19-24, 33; John 10:22-42).
- Trust in him. A conviction of faith. We must trust in God as Lord, then we will receive His blessings. Make room for God in your life! He will have our backs because we have a sincerity of trust in Him and place Him first and foremost in our lives.
- Blessed. A plural word that means to be deeply happy and content because we are enjoying God and His special favor. God desires to bestow upon us a significant favor and grace! There is a direct correlation between following Him and receiving blessedness as well as contentment, and following ourselves, pride, and evil to be self-destructive and miserable (Deut. 27:11-28:6; Psalm 1:1; Matt. 5:3-11).
- Proud. A word only used one other place, may refer to Rahab's tenacity or false gods (Psalm 87:4; Isa. 30:7).
- False gods. Meaning a hatred of God and His people and thus running after idols that are made from men with the idea that we control God and God does not control us. This is reprehensible. Idols—think of money, sex, power, celebrity, career, certain relationships--are real but they are not true. They are lies that result from sinful minds which seek things that are of this world. Idols are the products of sinful and misguided searches that mirror worldly desires. They can do nothing but look pretty as they are ultimately thieves of passion and peace. Idols offer and return nothing; instead, they lead us on wrong paths filled with hopelessness and pain (Psalm 4:1-2; Jer. 3:9).
- Lord my God. A firm statement of confidence in God, and a confession of faith, Yahweh, Lord God, Creator of all things, and Sovereign Lord over all. He made the universe and He gets to run it, including you and me (Ex. 15:11; Psalm 7:1-2; Isa. 6:3; Matt. 1:23; John 1:1-7; 20:28; Rev. 1:6; 4:11; 19:10; 22:9).
- Wonders° None can compare. All of the universe, all of life, our purpose and meaning is found in God's Lordship and grace. This should cause an overwhelming sense of awe and wonder as well as reverence and gratitude. Because of the assurance that God is real because of His past works, we can anticipate that He will work in our life, even when we do not see it. This inspires our trust in Him (Gen. 1:28; Ex. 15:6; Psalm 93:4; 139:13-18; Isa. 6:3; 42:21; Rom. 1:20).
- Planned. He does love, He does care; and, yes, He has an intimate plan for you.
- Sacrifice and offering. At this time, animal sacrifices were mandated (as a tool to help God's people understand sacrifice so to look to Him). The real goal was genuine faith, obedience, gratitude, and reverence.
- Ears you have opened / opened ear. Literally, "ears you have dug for me," as God made us with two ears and one mouth. Are we using them in that order? Are we using what God has made to hear and then obey? (Heb. 10:5-7).
- Written about me. Possibly the rules given by God to kings and rulers (Deut. 17).
- Desire to do your will. This is the application of faith and being a child of God. How do I live? Do I live to please myself/others or do I live to please God? God desires our heartfelt gratitude and obedience from a trusting faith.
- Your righteousness / deliverance. This means the seeking of God's presence, compassion, and understanding. Because of the relationship of grace we have through Jesus Christ and that David had with God, we can go into His presence. It is the Lord's presence that guides us in our healthy relationship with Him. The more we know of Him and His principles, the better decisions and discernment we will make and have (Psalm 4:1; 5:8-12; 1 Cor. 1:30).
- Faithfulness. God's Holiness and willingness to be in our lives. So, set our confidence in the faithfulness of Christ (Phil. 1:6).
- Conceal / hidden /your love /. The duty to share. Like having a great gift that is meant to share and one hordes it and pretends they do not have it.
- Great assembly / congregation. The people of Israel that can be assembled, the people in my circle, or the people of God that I can tell.
Verses 11-22: The psalmist looks to God with trust in the midst of a new crisis. The comfort is that God rescues us out of death, perdition, and eternal separation. God sees humanity as a matter worth rescuing, so we should receive His hand by realizing our debt to Him.
- Withhold your mercy. The indication the psalmist is in trouble again.
- Protect me. God is shown as One Who protects His people; therefore, we can and must be dependent upon Him, yet still be responsible for our response to His grace and opportunities (Psalm 5:8-12; 25:21; 27:11; 119:1-5, 26-33; 27:11; 139:24; 143:8-10).
- Troubles / evils. Enemies of God and His people seeking to harm us. Our issues can be from our own bad decisions and/or from the sins of others or the natural consequences of life in a fallen world. We are to appeal to God. Times will improve; but even if they do not, trust in God. He is our joy even when our situations are not joyful. We can have peace and security even when others come against us.
- Sins / iniquities have overtaken. One's own bad decisions and the consequences thereof.
- Heart fails. To not allow suffering to "sink" you, because God's heart sustains us.
- Come quickly / make haste. God promises us He will come to our rescue, but it will not always be when and what we hoped for. His plan is best, even when we do not see it. Yet, we are to allow His rescue, receive His salvation and work in us (Psalm 25:4-5; Isa. 45:13; Jer. 23:6).
- Shame and confusion. This means to fall to reckless folly or a kind of fool who does immoral actions and does not feel anything they did was wrong and is contemptuous, even of God. To receive conviction and even embarrassment and moral judgment from others and then feel guilty (1 Sam. 12; 25; Ecc. 2:14; Psalm 10:4; 18: 1-7; 73:11; Mica 7:8-f; Rom. 1:22; 3:10).
- Disgrace / disappointed. To take a desperate situation being twisted by evil people and turn it into victory and goodness (1 Sam. 12; 25; Ecc. 2:14; Psalm 4:1-4; 10:4; 18: 1-7; 31:1-8; 73:11; Rom. 1:22; 3:10).
Aha! Aha! Meaning triumph and expressive joy (Psalm 10:13; 28:3).
- The Lord is great! An expression of deep faith and confidence in God as Lord almighty, a reality and mindset to trust in God, no matter what (Ex. 3:15; 6:3; Psalm 20:1).
- Poor. Meaning no power to provide for or save one's self, and totally dependent upon God (Prov. 14:20; 18:23).
- My deliverer / Salvation. Salvation now is in and from Christ, not in any belief or religious system. God's nature and will are to save what is lost: us. Thus, our Salvation is personal, but we serve Him as a collective. (Psalm 18:2, 47, 25:5; John 12:27-f).
Devotional Thoughts and Applications:
The whole of our Christian life is built upon patience that is predicated upon hope, from our faith in Christ. God generously supplies us with reasons why we should keep on with our engagement of faith, even when all our circumstances cry out with doubt toward Him and to give up or become unfaithful. Our endurance of faith allows us to rely and trust in God's timing, so we surrender to His plan regardless of circumstances. This is an essential tool to the arsenal of a life well lived for God's glory! Persistence in life's difficulties and a tenacity of faith is an essential aspect to our growth as a Christian and the building of our maturity in faith and relationships. Allow these times to be reassessment times, growth times, and faithful times. Allow Christ to be your anchor and hope line--not the stress of the moment or the fears of the times (Hos. 2:19-23; Psalm 33:20; Matt. 27:14; Rom. 5:3; 12:12; Gal. 5:1; Col. 1:11; James 1:3-4,12; 5:10-11).
Christian Life Principle: God cares enough to hear us; do we care enough to hear Him? Do we have patience for Him? He has for us! In goodness or adversity, allow hardships to be a tool to deepen your relationship with Christ as Lord and be a person of real faith and maturity.
The Essential Inductive Questions (for more Inductive questions, see Inductive Bible Study):
- What does this passage say?
- What does this passage mean?
- What is God telling me?
- How am I encouraged and strengthened?
- Is there sin in my life for which confession and repentance is needed?
- How can I be changed, so I can learn and grow?
- What is in the way of these precepts affecting me? What is in the way of my listening to God?
- How does this apply to me? What will I do about it?
- What can I model and teach?
- What does God want me to share with someone?
- Have you ever felt that your heart failed, as in lost confidence, become depressed?
- What happened when you have waited on God?
- Knowing that God hears us, how can this help you gain patience and confidence?
- Why do we have a duty to give our full attention to God's voice, His Word, and reverence? What happens when we do not?
- God sees you as a matter of worth rescuing, so what is your takeaway from that?
- How and why should we receive His hand by realizing our debt to Him?
- How do you see the awe and give reverence to God? How does this fit into your daily life?
- How can you better respond to God with trust, serve, place first and foremost and worship God as LORD of all?
- The assurance that God is real because of His past works, and we can anticipate that He will work in our life, even when we do not see it. Thus, this fuels our trust in Him
- How does a deeper understanding of God's Lordship and grace help you trust in Him and not desires or hurts?
- What does it mean to make room for God in your life? What adjustments do you need to do to?
- What areas in your life need a rebuilding of your confidence of faith? Consider your purpose and meaning.
© 2018 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries, www.intothyword.org/