Psalm 40: A Cry and Response

First Off…read Psalm 40!


As I read this text I’m profoundly struck by the opening 3 verses. We read David is in some slimy pit…something of mud and mire.

I instantly think of the quicksand scene from The Princess Bride – or better yet (since that was sand)…something more like the scene from Blazing Saddles. But unlike the men in Blazing Saddles…or even Buttercup and Westley – David waits “patiently” (vs 1)

Or does he? In verses 9-17 (over half of the psalm itself) David is crying out to the Lord for he is in utter despair… but in the beginning of the psalm its a feeling of “thanksgiving” (1-8). What’s the deal?

Many people feel that this psalm is a “Christmas” psalm…ot the “birth of Christ” psalm. Hebrews 10:5-10 reflect back to verses 6-8 as Christ utters those same words that David speaks. Christ was written about in the scroll, sacrifices, and offerings God truly DID NOT desire but established anyway and they never were “required” (full sinless following and living is what God required – the offerings became a way to appease for the sins) he required a sacrifice of DEATH – and ultimately Christ DOES, and DID come to do only 1 thing: the will of God. To fulfill the law and write it upon his heart. Those have Christ all over them!

If you remember way back to the original post about the psalms (you can find it here), the psalms are divided up into 5 different “books” (or sections) and so we are near the end of the first book (psalm 41 is the last one) and so many psalms have this understanding of depravity, pain, suffering, and lament – and ultimately, our need for redemption. These first 41 chapters work the reader through all the different emotions of life and God’s great loving response TO our needs. That’s why they are joyful and hopeful – even while painful and in the midst of despair.

David is experiencing pain and a need of being saved as death is surrounding him. And so he cries out to the Lord to save him and because he knows the Lord ultimately will…so he waits patiently FOR that saving. For David, it doesn’t work against each other to have cries going to the Lord and also waiting “patiently” for him to respond. So he emotionally uses both. 

David didn’t have a Christological writing and thinking, but we should be able to clearly see Christ here. 

XL Psalm401 - Christ

Can you see the connection to Christ? If not – let’s look some more.

  • Where is your trust? David states that it shouldn’t be in others…but in the Lord (vs 4). Yup…Christ is pour hope and trust.
  • What does the Lord have planned for us (vs 5)? Goodness, grace, mercy, love, forgiveness, redemption, hope, joy…and so much more. And how do we get those? Christ.
  • We talked about 6-8 already…so see above for that one.
  • What is it that we, as Christians, are called to do? Proclaim righteousness (vs 9)? Speak of God’s faithfulness as well as His salvation…and share his love and truth beyond the walls we worship in (vs 10)? Yeah – all of those! Matthew 28:18-20 states that we are to go out…and SPEAK of all those things! Sharing the love of Christ, His salvation, and bringing hope to those who have no hope and know of no such love!

Those are things that we know that God does and tells us to BE to others and DO for others. But David then goes into his own need. Just as David understands all this hope and joy as only known in the Lord…that doesn’t mean that our own times and trials cease to exist. One of the joy’s of the Lord is knowing that while he asks us to do all these things on his behalf – he doesn’t neglect the needs of his children.

We believe in a God who not only wants us to share of His love…but he wants us to EXPERIENCE His love too. And this is where I fall deeper in love with David.

In verse 12, as we have transitioned from this hope, David comes back to the pain he started with. We read, “For troubles without number surround me; my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see. They are more than the hairs on my head, and my heart fails within me.” Again, we don’t know what “sin” or “trouble” David was in…but whatever it is, whatever sin he has committed…he has committed it again, and again, and again. David is no better than me…or you (I think this is why I love the story of David, Bathsheba, and Uriah the Hittite in 2 Sam 11:1-5; 12:1-15 so much. Not that I love what he did (they are horrible) nor that I have done what he has done – but David is a man of brokenness and THAT I can relate to).

This psalm reminds us that Christ came for all of us Davids (would “Davida” be the female version? Probably not). Christ came for the broken, the lost, the sin-repeaters and the scared. God heard our cry once we left that Garden and placed out feet firmly upon the Rock – our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And what is truly beautiful (and admittedly, scary) is that Christ ALSO uses those same people to share of why us broken-sinners not only need him…but why YOU need him too.

Psalm 40 17David closes this psalm with not only the understanding of who he is – but the proclaiming and joy found that God “thinks” of him. And not only “thinks” but extends the help and deliverance from up high.

You…me…David…we are not deserving. And yet daily I find myself in complete thankfulness for His grace.

One thought on “Psalm 40: A Cry and Response

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s