Emily was a believer who found herself in an affair with an unbelieving, married co-worker. Her guilt was no longer as intense as it once was, and that scared her more than the fact that she was involved with a married man. She was ensnared, and she knew it.
Joan was an older woman who had begun experiencing several physical ailments, and while her time had once been full of ministry and joy and other people, she was now isolated and withdrawn. Her life revolved around medical appointments and evaluation of her pain. People began separating themselves from her because every conversation came back to her health. She was consumed with herself.
Kate was a young, married mom who is consumed with running her family from place to place. She hasn’t read her Bible or prayed in months, and she misses the spiritual fire she had in college when she went on mission trips overseas and spent hours in praise and worship times with friends. She is unable to see her way out.
Compromised, consumed, and cold-hearted. And they’re all in a miry bog. And they aren’t the only ones. In a group this size, there are many of us trapped in a miry bog as well. Bogs come in various shapes. We know what it’s like, and many have experienced that the more we struggle to escape, the more bound we become.
But God knows we desire to escape, and in the Psalms, God gives us words to the desperation of our hearts. The Psalms were written supremely to each them about God; who He is and how He relates to His people. But the also taught how to respond to Him, regardless of the situation in which we find ourselves.
David finds himself in a miry bog. He is Israel’s greatest king, ensnared by his greatest sins. His sins are numerous, and he is greatly aware of them.
He is also aware of the enemies who are surrounding him, waiting for him to buckle under the weight of his pain and sin. A far cry from his glory days of before.
I. David Remembers God’s Deliverance in the Past (vv. 1-10)
He remembers the time, but he doesn’t dwell on the experience. He instead focuses on the God who delivered him from it.
v. 1– David waited for God to come to him, like a Father who will rescue His much loved child.
v. 2– We cannot pull ourselves out of situation. The Lord must pull us out and settle us on solid ground, where our feet can stand firm.
v. 3– God’s rescue lifted David’s whole being; body, mind and spirit. Notice this is “Our God” and not “My God.” David knew that Yahweh does this for all of His people, and not just David. He is the God who Delivers. David anticipates that many others will come to know the Lord’s deliverance and put their trust in Him.
Some find it hard to relate, but for those who know what it’s like to be horribly trapped and gloriously rescued will understand some of the joy David is experiencing.
Example: The Chilean miners who were trapped underground for 69 days may have felt like this. It’s no wonder they praised the Lord when they emerged.
The Lord prompted David to respond to his rescue in three ways.
- David Affirmed the Ways of the Lord (vv. 4-5). God’s favor rests on those who trust in Him. Nothing this world offers can compare with the Lord God of Israel, who has done marvelous deeds. No one can match Him. No one can ever come close. David remember the mighty works God had done even before David’s birth. Noah, Joseph, the Israelites in Egypt…
- David dedicated himself to serve the Lord in obedience (vv.6-8). “You have given me open ears…” more literally translated, “You have dug out my ears…” God has cleared the path for hearing and obedience. A heart full of devotion, with a heart fully resolved to serve the Lord. The desire to live the obedient life is seen by many as the mark of true conversion.
- David proclaimed God’s Word (vv. 9-10). “I have told the glad news of deliverance…” He tells how he proclaims and called on God to confirm. I have not restrained my lips… Have not… have not… But I have told… I have spoken. He not only refrained from doing evil, but he pursued obedience.
II. David now prays for God’s deliverance in the present (vv. 11-17).
To this point, David has been responding to God’s deliverance in the past, but he is now in a bog again. By remembering the past enables David to pray with confidence as he asks God to deliver him from the bog in which he finds himself now. His desire to be obedience to God’s will was well meant, but short lived. His heart was weak and he has failed. And enemies seek to take advantage of that.
He has been humbled by his sin and pursued by his enemies. And so he persues the Lord. He lifts his eyes off of himself and focuses on the Lord.
- David prays with confidence in the Lord (v. 11). David knows he has not kept his promises to the Lord, but he knows that the Lord always keeps his promises to His people. He prays with confidence because He knows the Lord does not change.
- David prays with reliance on the enduring promises of the Lord (vv. 16-17). The Lord listens to the cries of His people, and David knows this from experience and observation.
There is a final declaration and prayer: You are my helper… Do not delay!
Encouraged by God’s faithfulness in the past, he asks for it again in the present. And then, he waits, knowing the the goodness of the Lord will be seen in his life again.
What does this Psalm tell us today, 3,000 years after it was written?
It tells us we have even more reason to trust and respond.
After the Resurrection, it was revealed to the disciples there is even more treasure in the Psalms because they point to the Savior.
Jesus is Better than all the OT has to offer. A better mediator, and better High Priest, a better sacrifice.
Hebrews 10:7– David could not do this. He could not obey God’s will for long. He needed a Savior, one who could deal with his sins once and for all. The Lord Jesus Christ delivers. The problem of the human heart could not be solved with the blood of bulls and goats. Only Christ could do that. He died on the cross, taking the death we deserved in ourselves. Both substitutionary and sacrificial. He died the death we deserve and lived the life we could not live. And now His Spirit lives within us and enables us to live the life we could not live on our own.
David is prophetic, looking ahead to the Savior to come. And now, 2,000 years later, we can look back to Psalm 40, through Christ and see He DID NOT FAIL.
- We should remember God’s deliverance in the past and give thanks for CHrist’s deliverance from sin. The battle with sin is still real, but the penalty of those sins has been dealt with once and for all.
- We should pray for God’s deliverance in the present, knowing His mercy never fails. By dealing with our greatest need of all, our sin, we know our future is secure in spite of present suffering.
- We should join David in seeing and singing of the Lord’s goodness in our lives. Proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ to those who need to hear.
What does this mean for Emily and Joan and Kate? Individual circumstances are different, but the Savior who will deliver them all is the same. The Lord has shown them already how much He loves them by pulling them out of the miry bog of their sin at salvation, and He can pull them from these seasons as well.
Emily needs to repent of her affair and run to the Lord. The Lord has shown Emily her rebellion, but she is not beyond His grace.
Joan needs to confess her fear of death and old age and cling to His promise that He brings us through death to eternal life. This world and these bodies age and fail, but the Lord endures forever.
Kate needs to confess her cold heart and put the good gifts her children and their activities in their proper order so that she can teach her children this lesson. She and her husband have the responsibility of preparing them for Him.
We should hear the voice of the Lord as He speaks to us through this Psalm
Will we pray and wait and trust?
If you have never experienced the deliverance of the Lord, you have no understanding of His ability to save.
Admit your need to be saved. Believe that Christ has made a way for you to be lifted out. And Cry out to Him to deliver you. Then join us as those who tell others about what the Lord has done for you.