Psalm 40

I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.

Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods. Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare.

Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but my ears you have pierced. Burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require. Then I said, “Here I am, I have come- it is written about me in the scroll. I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.” I proclaim righteousness in the great assembly; I do not seal my lips, as you know, O LORD. I do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I speak of your faithfulness and salvation. I do not conceal your love and your truth from the great assembly.

Do not withhold your mercy from me, O LORD; may your love and your truth always protect me. For troubles without number surround me; my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see. They are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails within me.

Be pleased, O LORD, to save me; O LORD, come quickly to help me. May all who seek to take my life be put to shame and confusion; may all who desire my ruin be turned back in disgrace. May those who say to me, “Aha! Aha!” be appalled at their own shame. But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation always say, “The LORD be exalted!” Yet I am poor and needy; may the Lord think of me. You are my help and my deliverer; O my God, do not delay.

What an amazing piece of writing! If ever the words of man were inspired by God, it has to be here. It opens with a joyous song of praise filled with the kind of symbolism that makes it sound more like something from the New Testament than the Old. Reminds me of the words to that old Edward Mote hymn, “On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.”

Then right in the middle David launches into a declaration that could only have come from the mouth of the Messiah Himself. And in it He reveals the Mission of the Messiah so succinctly that especially in the Hebrew it’s impossible to miss.

Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but my ears you have pierced. Burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require. Then I said, “Here I am, I have come- it is written about me in the scroll. I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.” (Psalm 40:6-8)

It’s so well written that one word out of the entire declaration is all that’s needed to understand what Jesus accomplished for us. In Hebrew the word is “ratsown,” we translate it “will” in verse 8. It literally means “a voluntary favor” and comes from a root meaning “to satisfy” as in a debt. As a favor to His Father, Jesus volunteered to give His life in payment of our debt.

But taken as a whole these three verses convey an even greater wealth of theological treasure. Let’s start at the beginning. Sacrifice and offering were never intended to wipe away man’s sin, only to put it aside until the real remedy could be applied. (Rom. 3:20) The act of piercing one’s ears in David’s culture meant voluntarily enslaving one’s self to another for life. (Exodus 21:5-6) In the New Testament it’s called becoming a bond-servant. Jesus wasn’t forced to die for us, He did so voluntarily, to satisfy our debt of sin. And then so we wouldn’t miss the meaning He had Moses, David, Isaiah, Daniel and all the others prophesy about it in advance before He performed it on the cross. Discovering this is one of the great benefits of studying Old Testament prophecy.

No matter what troubles beset us, no matter what difficulties we face, we are secure in the knowledge that we are victorious, and those who seek our downfall will be turned back in disgrace. We belong to a God Who loves us so much that He died for us so we could have eternal life with Him. Because of this we are always justified in saying, “The LORD be exalted” for He is our help and our deliverer.

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