Psalm 40

 
Psalm 40
The Deliverance of Christ in Connection with Israel
 
Psalm 40. This Psalm is a Psalm of David, and it is also a Messianic Psalm. Psalm 40 really presents Christ celebrating His own deliverance in connection with Israel. It also speaks of Christ coming to do the will of God, from the very moment of incarnation. Historically, this Psalm probably refers to the time of Absalom’s rebellion. Prophetically, it has a double application. First, to Christ Himself. Secondly, it can apply to the faithful remnant in association with Him. 
 
PSALM 40
To the chief Musician. Of David. A Psalm.
1 I waited patiently for Jehovah; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.
2 And he brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock; he hath established my goings:
3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, praise unto our God. Many shall see it, and fear, and shall confide in Jehovah.
4 Blessed is the man that hath made Jehovah his confidence, and turneth not to the proud, and to such as turn aside to lies.
 
vv.1-4 Christ celebrating His deliverance. This being a Messianic Psalm, these verses have to do with Christ being delivered out of His sufferings in resurrection. The cry of the suffering Christ (Psa. 22:17; Heb. 5:7) was heard, and the results are here. Christ’s patient dependent on Jehovah throughout His suffering, and into resurrection, becomes the source of encouragement to others; especially Israel. The “horrible pit” refers to the sufferings of Christ up to and including death. The solid “rock” refers to a new standing, i.e. resurrection ground, and may include His ascension. The “new song” in the mouth of the risen Christ is that what He could sing on the ground of an accomplished redemption (Psa. 22:22). We too can sing that song, knowing that the work of redemption is accomplished, and Christ is risen from among the dead. The deliverance of Christ now becomes the source of encouragement to His saints;  “Blessed is the man that hath made Jehovah his confidence”. This is especially true of the faithful Jewish remnant, who have not followed the apostate nation, “the proud”, nor turned aside to lies; i.e. Israel’s covenant with the beast.
 
5 Thou, O Jehovah my God, hast multiplied thy marvellous works, and thy thoughts toward us: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee; would I declare and speak them, they are more than can be numbered.
 
v.5 Thanksgiving. Here we have Christ, and the remnant in association with Him, praising Jehovah for His great deliverance, and for His thoughts toward them. They are beyond human ability to reckon or speak.
 
6 “Sacrifice and oblation thou didst not desire: ears hast thou prepared me. Burnt-offering and sin-offering hast thou not demanded;
7 Then said I, Behold, I come, in the volume of the book it is written of me —
8 To do thy good pleasure, my God, is my delight,” [quoted Hebrews 10:5-9] and thy law is within my heart.
 
vv.6-8 Full Devotion to the Will of God. In these verses we have an exceedingly beautiful truth. The fact that these verses are quoted in Hebrews 10 shows that they are those spoken by Christ Himself as a man. The whole Jewish system of sacrifice (all the offerings covered), of approach to God under the law, has been completely replaced through the coming of Christ to fully accomplish the will of God. The words “in the volume of the book” refers to the end of a scroll, equivalent to the spine of a modern book. The title of a book would be written on the end of a scroll so that you could see the general contents of a book at-a-glance. In v.7, Christ gives us a summary title that could be written over His whole life! His entire purpose on earth as a man was this, “Behold, I come… to do thy will O God”. It wasn’t mere willingness to do the will of God, but His “delight”. The system of law was that of endless symbols and sacrifices which could never take away sin, offered for hearts that were reluctant to do God’s will. But when Christ came into the world, here was something that had never been seen before. Here was a Man who was totally here for the pleasure and interests of God! Every other man by nature walks according to his own will. But Christ was totally different. The expression in verse six “ears hast thou prepared me” is a curious phrase. It refers to the incarnation; as the Septuagint translation puts it, “a body hast thou prepared me”, and which is quoted by the writer of Hebrews, giving the Spirit of God’s approval. Why then in the Masoretic text is it translated “ears hast thou prepared me” or “mine ears hast thou digged”? It is because in this sense, in the context of what is being brought out here by the Spirit of God, the ear of Christ was that which embodied His whole humanity. As the body of Christ was formed in the womb, the leading feature was His hearing ear! An ear that was “digged” refers to a man whose whole being was trained toward one object, of doing the good pleasure of God. This Person completely replaces and sets aside the who order of Judaism; “He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second” (Heb. 10:9). What a powerful point for the Spirit of God to draw from this Psalm in addressing the Hebrews!1 The faithful remnant in a future day will come to appreciate this as well.
 
The Digged, Opened, Pierced Ear. It is a very helpful study to look at the ear of Christ in the Old Testament prophecies. The ear of the Lord Jesus was: digged (prepared) at His incarnation (Psalm 40:6), opened morning by morning throughout His life in daily dependence (Isaiah 50:4), pierced at His death (Exodus 21:6), showing that He was fully devoted to the obedience of God unto death, and to remain forever as a servant.23
 
9 I have published righteousness in the great congregation: behold, I have not withheld my lips, Jehovah, “thou” knowest.
10 I have not hidden thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy loving-kindness and thy truth from the great congregation.
 
vv.9-10 Faithful Witness. Appreciation for the deliverance of Jehovah leads to the publication of God’s truth. Full devotion must be accompanies by a faithful witness. Truth cannot be withheld from the lips, hidden in the heart, or concealed from the great congregation. It rather must be published and declared. The great congregation would refer to Israel, to whom Christ and the remnant teach regardless of the consequences.4
 
11 Withhold not thou, Jehovah, thy tender mercies from me; let thy loving-kindness and thy truth continually preserve me.
12 For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I cannot see; they are more than the hairs of my head: and my heart hath failed me.
13 Be pleased, O Jehovah, to deliver me; Jehovah, make haste to my help.
14 Let them be ashamed and brought to confusion together that seek after my soul to destroy it; let them be turned backward and confounded that take pleasure in mine adversity;
15 Let them be desolate, because of their shame, that say unto me, Aha! Aha!
16 Let all those that seek thee be glad and rejoice in thee; let such as love thy salvation say continually, Jehovah be magnified!
17 But I am afflicted and needy: the Lord thinketh upon me. Thou art my help and my deliverer: my God, make no delay. 
 
vv.11-17 A cry for deliverance. The devotion of Christ to do the will of God lead Him into great sufferings. He can speak of “innumerable evils”. It would seem that the “iniquities” referred to in v.12 are those of others that Christ bore on the cross, confessing them as His own. He cries to Jehovah to deliver Him, and also for vengeance on His enemies, and on those that would laugh at Him in the time of His suffering. He also prays for a blessing on those that are faithful, His saints on the earth, who continually praise Jehovah. The song ends with a cry of deliverance, because of the sufferings that the Messiah is passing through.
 
  1. “…and then the blessed key to His whole history in His having undertaken to do the will of Jehovah, the whole Jewish system under the law being thus closed and set aside.” – Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.
  2. Here the ears “dug” express His incarnation, as “opened” (Isa. 50) His daily dependence, and “bored” (Ex. 21) His devotedness in death and forever. – Kelly, W. Notes on Psalms.
  3. I highly recommend the following address: Address by Chuck Hendricks, The Digged, Opened, Pierced Ear, Toledo 1987
  4. The great congregation is the Jewish people at large (it has a moral force here, for it is not merely those willing to hear, but to all, at all risk, that God might be justified). Christ had not failed in testifying to them. – Darby, J.N. Heads of Psalms.