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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

Psalms 40

Verses 1-17

  1. Intro:
    1. A Psalm of David.
      1. Some believe it was 2 independent Psalms (1-11; 13-17; & 12 was a transition vs.). [I don’t think so]
      2. We’ll see it definitely transcends David & his life. The book of Hebrews lets us know it is a Messianic Psalm for sure(Heb.10:5-10).
    1. (1,2) Waiting!
      1. (1) “Waiting is not idleness, nor carelessness – it is the divine activity of expecting God to work!” (Warren Weirsbe, Prayer praise & Promises Day 99)
      2. How long did David wait? (it must have seemed like his prayers was never going to be answered!)
        1. Hebrew class: “Piel (intensive action)”.
        2. Original reads: “to wait for, I waited for” - meaning I waited & waited…
      3. I think waiting carries an attitude also! – a) There is waiting in line at a post-office. b) There is waiting while fishing! J
      4. (2) Response:
      5. He turned(inclined) to me (NIV & orig); & heard my cry.
      6. A horrible(slimy) pit & miry clay – sounds like Jeremiah’s situation (Jer.38)
        1. We’ve all stepped in mud bare foot, between the toes. Now picture that being your living quarters. A cistern not filled with just enough water standing to keep it constantly muddy & wet.
        2. Maybe you’ve been in a “moral mudslide!” – David was, & his testimony stands firm, “He heard me, He helped me!”
        3. What happens when we pray & wait: We are pulled “Out of the Pit & placed onto the Rock!” – (A.P.Gibbs used to say) “Out of the Mire, into the Choir!”– “From Crying to Singing!” - “Sinking turns into Standing!” – “Fear into Security!”…to name a few!
      7. A teaching of the rabbis (Taanit) says “Only that mans prayer is answered who lifts his hands w/his heart in them!”
    2. (3) Praising!
      1. “Carmen” destroyed this verse for me (he repeats this over & over).
      2. A new song – 9 times in scripture
      3. Worship “Means to use all that we are & have, to praise God for all He is & does!” (www)
      4. Note who did all of this! – He(The Lord) did!
        1. Read what “He” did in vs.1-3.
      5. (3b) When God does a great thing for you…share it w/others!
    3. (4,5) Trusting!
      1. Salvation is really a matter of whom we Trust!
        1. Human nature is such that we would rather trust in almost anyone or anything…rather than in the Lord.
        2. “makes the lord his trust” - It isn’t trusting in a church, or creed, but in Christ!
        3. A man once came up to D.L.Moody after one of his meetings & said, “Mr. Moody, I can’t believe.” Moody looked at him for a moment then pointedly asked; “Whom can’t you believe?”
      2. Why Trust?
      3. Wonderful Works!
        1. On May 24, 1844, Samuel Morse sent the first telegraph message: "What hath God wrought!"(Num.23:23). (Encarta® 98 Desk Encyclopedia © & 1996-97 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.) (NKJV - 'Oh, what God has done!')
      4. Thousands of Thoughts!
        1. “I can’t stop thinking about you” Gods song to you!
    4. (6-8) Obeying!
    5. In Hebrews 10:5-10, referring to J.C.
      1. (6a) This points us back to Samuel & Saul in 1 Sam.15(esp.15).
        1. Here is the impending danger of Ritual, “thinking that because you perform some prescribed ritual you are fully discharged of all moral & spiritual obligation in the sight of god!”
        2. Not that sacrifice was bad (no it was commanded). But the hearts obedience was an important aspect of it.
        3. This was, “Sacrifice w/o Sincerity! Ritual w/o Reality!” (John Phillips pg.310)
      2. (6b) “my ears have you opened” – (dug, bored) “you pierced”(BVD) (w/allusion to the cavity of the ear) “You have given me the means of hearing & obeying your will.”
        1. Is.40:4,5 "The Lord GOD has given Me The tongue of the learned, That I should know how to speak A word in season to him who is weary. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear To hear as the learned. The Lord GOD has opened My ear; And I was not rebellious, Nor did I turn away.”
        2. Story - I remember when my mom used to lay my head on her lap & she’d clean my ears w/a bobby pin. Oh what a feeling! – Obeying God will shouldn’t be tiring but a pleasure!
      3. Piercing the ear with an awl was an expression of what?
        1. Bond servant – In the 7th year in Israel, all slaves were to be set free(Ex.21:1-6). A slave had another option & that was to say, “I love my master…I will not go out free.” He was then taken to the priest, who led him to a post & he was pierced through w/an awl. From then on he was a marked man. He bore in his body the slave brand of his master. He was a voluntary slave for life. One whose ear was to listen to the masters voice & whose life was pledged to his service. (John Phillips pg.310)
        2. Q: Have you been united to the cross as by the boring of the awl?
        3. Q: Have each of you stood at the cross & said, “I love my master…I will not go out free?”
        4. Q: Are you living your life to this single end…The Masters will?
      4. (7) It’s all about me!
        1. See Lk.24:4-48 “Then He said to them, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me." And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Then He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, "and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. "And you are witnesses of these things.
      5. Jesus delighted to do the Fathers will because the word was in His heart! (share woman @ well example)
        1. Jn.4:31-34 - "His disciples urged Him, saying, "Rabbi, eat." But He said to them, "I have food to eat of which you do not know." Therefore the disciples said to one another, "Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?" Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.”
        2. He said in Gethsemane, “not my will but thy will be done.”
      6. The more we delve into Gods word, the more we will delight in Gods will!
        1. Ps.1:1-3 ” Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.”
      7. “The heart of the matter is our heart!”
    6. (9,10) Proclaiming & Declaring!
    7. Note: Righteousness w/Lovingkindness!
      1. Righteousness – (Paul uses 66 times in Romans alone)
        1. Means, God always does what is right!
        2. God does what He does, because He is what He is…He is Righteous!
      2. “The rightousness of God divorced from the tenderness of God would be truth w/o Grace!” (John Phillips)
        1. What a blessing to read not only of the Holiness of God but also of the Heart of God.
        2. We capture His inflexible character & His infinite compassion!
    1. ​​​​​​​(11,12) Preserving!
      1. Are you surrounded by danger? All you can do is turn to the Lord for help.
      2. (12) speaking of the sins taken upon him on the cross? “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us,”
        1. This sounds like all of our hearts before we came to know him!
    2. (13-15) Delivering!
      1. (13) In Jesus words, "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will."
      2. Is there someone in your life, that is seeking to destroy your life(soul)? Or, is wishing evil upon you?
        1. Those dealing with x’s…spouses? A person in your past?
        2. David Prayed! Jesus prayed! – Q: What are you doing about it?
          1. Worrying? - Worry is like “reving your car” – you don’t get anywhere, & it’s just wear & tear on the vehicle!
        3. Here the Messiah would be speaking of Gethsemane.
    3. (16,17) Magnifying!
    4. No matter what the problem, David took time to worship the Lord.
      1. This always helps to put things in to perspective.
      2. You focus in on what God has done for you, not what he is not presently doing…in your timing!
      3. The important thing here…that God is Magnified!
        1. Worship = To ascribe worth. (flashlight, magnifying glass)
          1. Put God under the magnifying glass! Not in scrutiny but in seeing his detail!
          2. Magnify any man & you’ll see his defects – Magnify God & more & more wonders will be seen!
            1. (Wilson Bentley)
        2. (remember) Worship “Means to use all that we are & have, to praise God for all He is & does!” (www)
      4. Who else would think upon the poor & needy? That is the kind of God we have…a Merciful God!
        1. Now that is something to sing about!
      5. 1st & last verse? - “I waited & waited for the LORD;… You are my help and my deliverer; Do not delay, O my God.”
        1. You may get impatient with Him, but He thinks upon you! “thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Psalms 40". "Bell's Commentary". 2017.