PSALM 40 - Messiah's Song of Salvation
This Psalm may be outlined as follows:
  1. The song of the Redeemed, v.1-3
  2. The Confidence of the Redeemed, v.4-5
  3. The plan of Redemption declared, v.6-10
  4. The price of Redemption paid, v.11-17
1. The song of the Redeemed, v.1-3
40:1 To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.
I waited patiently for the LORD;
and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.
A song of praise for answered prayer.
He, who waits upon the Lord, waits not in vain.
The experience of the redeemed... follows that of the Redeemer:
Psa 27:13-14; Psa 37:7; Jam 5:7-11 Psa 22:24
40:2 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.
pit - ie., dungeon.
horrible - lit., of noise, of roaring.
Thus, a place of sorrow & trouble from which escape seems impossible.
Such places imprisoned...
...Joseph, Gen 37:24,28; 40:15
...Jeremiah, Jer 38:6-9
...sinful men, cp. Rom 7:24; Heb 2:15
and Christ.
Psa 22:1
miry clay - There is no footing, every attempt at escape draws the victim deeper.
cp. the entanglements & consequences of sin:
Rom 7:19,24; 2Pet 2:20

v.12; Psa 22:1-3; 116:3; Isa 53:3,4
He brought me up...-
Rom 7:24,25; Gal 5:1 Acts 2:24
...set... upon a rock...established... - Here is the one firm foundation:
Psa 61:1-3; 1Cor 3:11Mat 16:16-18
40:3 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.
a new song- ie., a fresh spring of praise for the new thing which God has done.
cp. Isa 43:19-21
my...our...- The Psalm is almost entirely in the first person singular.
But here, "my God" becomes "our God" (cp. Joh 20:17),
and the song in "my mouth" becomes the confidence of "many."
Our exit from sin's power & entrance into relationship with God were won by One alone.
cp. Rev 5:9; Psa 22:22-25, 27,31
2. The Confidence of the Redeemed, v.4-5
40:4 Blessed [is] that man that maketh the LORD his trust {ie., his hope & confidence},
and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.
cp. Psa 1:1,2; Acts 4:11,12; 2Tim 4:3-5; 2Pet 2:1
40:5 Many, O LORD my God, [are] thy wonderful works [which] thou hast done,
and thy thoughts [which are] to us-ward:
they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee:
[if] I would declare and speak [of them], they are more than can be numbered.
wonderful works - eg., creation, salvation, justification, adoption, sanctification...
thy thoughts - He broods over His people, as the Spirit brooded over the
waters of creation, until His purposes are fulfilled in us.
Psa 139:1-6,17-18; Jer 29:11
if I would declare and speak of them...- But I cannot.
His thoughts being above our thoughts, and too numerous to count,
must be declared to us by Christ. Isa 55:8-9; Joh 1:18; 17:25,26
In the following verses, it is He who explains the purpose of His coming.
3. The plan of Redemption declared, v.6-10
40:6 Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire;
mine ears hast thou opened:
burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.
not required - ie., not asked for, not requested.
Sacrifice became necessary due to sin.
The Lord desired to see holy hearts which would obey Him.
cp. 1Sam 15:22; Isa 1:10-20; Hos 6:6
mine ears...opened.- This phrase has dual significance...
  • The mark of a servant for life. Ex 21:5,6
    Christ was wholly given to the Father's will. Joh 6:38
  • The essence of obedience (ears to hear). Isa 50:4-6
    cp. v.6-8 as quoted in the NT: "a body hast thou prepared me." "Heb 10:5-7"
    So perfect was Christ's obedience that His whole body could be viewed as an ear:
    totally open to God's Word, totally given to His Will.
40:7 Then said I, Lo, I come:
in the volume of the book [it is] written of me,
the book- ie., the Bible, the record of God's revelation to mankind.
Luk 24:44-46; Joh 5:39
40:8 I delight to do thy will, O my God:
yea, thy law [is] within my heart.
I delight...- Here is One who desires only what the LORD desires (v.6).
Joh 4:34; Joh 6:38; Mat 26:39
He came (1) to do away with the need for sacrifice (ie., our sinful condition), and
(2) to establish, within us, His delight in the Father's will.
After quoting v.6-8, the writer of Hebrews goes on to explain (in Heb 10:8-18) that,
for those who trust in Him, Christ accomplished these things through the substitutionary sacrifice of His body, by which He took away their sin, in order to make them holy.
thy law... within my heart.- cp. Jer 15:16; Jer 31:33; 2Cor 3:3
40:9 I have preached righteousness in the great congregation:
lo, I have not refrained my lips, O LORD, thou knowest.
preached righteousness...- eg.:
Mat 5:20-22, 27-28, 31-32
not refrained...- ie., held nothing back, in the face of opposition.
Mat 23:13-36; Mat 26:55; Joh 18:37
4. The price of Redemption paid, v.11-17
40:10 I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart;
I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation:
I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation.
This verse reminds us of the way Paul declared the gospel of Christ,
boldly, freely and without compromise. Acts 20:20-21, 26-27; Rom 1:14-17
But, it is Paul's Master, who is speaking here...
I (Christ) have declared...- Joh 17:6-8
...thy righteousness... thy faithfulness... thy salvation... thy lovingkindness... thy truth.-
Far from concealing these things, He revealed them,
for Grace & Truth came by Jesus Christ. Joh 1:14,17,18; Psa 85:8-13
40:11 Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O LORD:
let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me.
withhold not...- (This is the same word as "not refrained", in v.9.)
The faithful Servant appeals to His faithful God on the basis of His own faithfulness.
Here, Christ cries out for the very remedy which He secured for us. Heb 5:7
40:12 For innumerable evils have compassed me about:
mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up;
they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me.
evils - not mere "troubles" as some translations propose, but the root of sin itself.
cp. this word in Gen 2:9; Gen 6:5
iniquities - ie., perversities; not the root only but all of the manifestations of sin.
mine iniquities- He calls them His own, but they were mine...
Isa 53:5,6; 2Cor 5:21
innumerable...more than the hairs...- They were many,
because He bore the sins of the whole world. Joh 1:29; 1Joh 2:2
compassed...taken hold upon me...-
My sin, my filth & corruption became the mire of His dungeon (v.2).
I am not able to look up...- He bore the shame and horror of sin before the Holy God.
These sorrows belonged to me. What if He had not come to bear them?
therefore, my heart fails me.-
It was not the fear of death but the weight of sin that broke His heart,
and made His soul "exceeding sorrowful even unto death." Mat 26:38
40:13 Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me:
O LORD, make haste to help me.
His petition was not that the cup should pass from Him undrained,
but that He should be sustained while drinking it,
and ultimately set free from its power. Mat 26:39,42,44
His provision must come only from the LORD.
He would not intervene on His own behalf. Mat 26:52-54
40:14 Let them be ashamed and confounded together that seek after my soul to destroy it;
let them be driven backward and put to shame that wish me evil.
Some are embarrassed by these words, which they consider too harsh for the gentle Jesus.
But this is the sinless Savior praying.
As He was faithful to declare righteousness & salvation, so He pronounces
judgment on the powers of darkness & on wicked men who came against Him.
See Isa 41:11; Isa 45:24; Mat 21:38-44
To those who reject His salvation, there remains no more sacrifice for sins. Heb 10:26-31
40:15 Let them be desolate for a reward of their shame that say unto me, Aha, aha.
...ashamed... confounded... put to shame... desolate... shame...-
In v.14-15, five different HB words are employed to emphasize the intensity of disappointment, humiliation, and appalling ruin which will befall the enemies of Christ, as a consequence of their stance against Him. The phrase 'driven backward' depicts the complete reversal of their fortunes (foreshadowed in Joh 18:6).
eg., The stance of enemies... Psa 22:7,8; 41:7-9
eg., The resulting shame... Mat 23:37,38; Mat 26:63,64; Mark 14:21
The question that divides all of humanity is: What will you do with Jesus?
Do you belong with those of vs.14,15, or with those of v.16? cp. Isa 65:13-14
40:16 Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee:
let such as love thy salvation say continually, The LORD be magnified.
Luke 1:46,47; Rom 5:1,2; Php 3:1,7-9
40:17 But I [am] poor and needy;
2Cor 8:9
[yet] the Lord thinketh upon me: {cp. v.5}
thou [art] my help and my deliverer;
Psa 94:17; Isa 50:6-9
make no tarrying, O my God.
His story does not end here, as though uncertain of the LORD's answer,
for we have already heard His song of deliverance, in vs.1-3.

This Concludes the study in Psalm 40.
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