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  Bro. Tom’s Weekly Bible Study
  Week #144
Posted: February 25,2008

PSALM 40:1-3

We step this week into a new Psalm.  The title of Psalm 40 is ‘To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David’.  We do not know when it was written but only that it was given to the major music leader of the Temple to be sung at public worship.  Many believe this is a Psalm of the Messiah.  They say it is a picture of Christ’s life and death while here on the earth.  I want to study it in light of only a picture of David’s earthly life and the practical applications to our own personal lives. For our study I want to entitle the Psalm “When He Reached Down His Hand For Me”.  Let us look at verses 1-3 which says, “I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.”  These verses deal with the thoughts of ‘Patient Waiting For His Hand’.  In verse 1 we have ‘A Patient Enquiring’.  Patient waiting is not an easily acquired virtue.  It is the hardest of all spiritual exercises and to continue in fervent prayer while waiting is the highest of all attainments.  The literal reading of this text is  ‘I waited and waited and waited.’  It could be translated ‘I waited while waiting’.

            John Phillips told the story of one night his mother and sister went to a country church where his Dad was to preach.  When his Dad got up to preach the back door opened when a latecomer came in.  His sister looked out to see that night had come since they had arrived. His sister called out to their Dad and said, ‘Hurry up Daddy its getting dark outside’.  Our prayers are often a cry of ‘hurry Father, this situation has become dark’.  Our God smiles at our impatience but doesn’t stop His pace of working an infallible plan.  David tells us in verse 1 that his patient inquiring brought about a two-fold response from the Lord.  He ‘inclined’ to me and ‘heard’ my cry.  The word ‘incline’ means to stretch or bend toward another and ‘heard’ means to give a consenting attention.  Let us be assured in our darkest hour, though it may take time, be still and wait for our Lord will bend toward us with consenting attention.  “If He delays a response to our fervent prayer, continue thou in prayer.” (Robert Bruce)

            In verse 2 we find ‘A Patient Establishing’.  David’s cry for help brought a hands up from the Lord.  There is a three-fold movement of this hands up.  He  ‘brought’ him up; he ‘set’ his feet on a rock and ‘established’ his goings.  David testifies of being in a horrible pit of miry clay.  I am reminded of the slough of despond Christian found himself in in John Bunyan’s book ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’.  He could not get out without a reaching down of the hand of the Lord.  There are many things in this life we cannot get through or out of ‘without Him’.  Paul said, ‘Without Him I can do nothing’.  He doesn’t just bring us out but places us on solid footing.  We may slide around on the Rock of Ages but we cannot ever slide off.  He then established David’s ‘goings’ giving great meaning to the words, ‘The steps of a good man are ordered of the Lord’. One has said, ‘He orders not only the steps but the stops of our life’.

            In verse 3 we find ‘A Patient Extolling’.  David seems to lay his pen down and begins to break out in a song of praise unto our God. B. B. Caldwell said that if you can keep from praising Him you ought to.  David has a case of the ‘can’t help its’.  He must extol Him with praise.  David said ‘many will see it’.  I thought people would hear a song not see it.  The song has wrought such a great change in David that you can see it.  The response from the people who see it is that they ‘feared’ and ‘trusted’ in the Lord.  The word ‘fear’ is to stand in reverential awe of another.  The word ‘trust’ means to cast oneself wholly upon another.  May the world see from our lives that He has reached down His hand for us.

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