For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.
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 the Lord
and put their trust in him.
Blessed is the one(Ps. 40:1-5 NIV)
who trusts in the Lord,
who does not look to the proud,
to those who turn aside to false gods.
Many, Lord my God,
are the wonders you have done,
the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
they would be too many to declare.
The Psalmist describes God’s work of salvation. The Lord turned, He heard, He lifted and He set. When we wait on the Lord as the Psalmist waited patiently, we honour God. In God’s time He comes and does a great work of salvation. We may not always find the answers to our prayer immediately, but we have to persevere in prayer. To wait patiently is a humble submission to God’s sovereignty. There is a doubling of the verb in the Hebrew behind the phrase ‘waited patiently’; literally translated it would be ‘to wait for, I waited for’. It shows the eagerness as well as the patience of the Psalmist.
Whatever was the Psalmist’s experience, he describes it as the mud and the mire of a slimy pit. There is no real place to stand in the mud and the mire. The pit is too deep and the walls too slimy for us to get out of it. If God is to help us, He will have to come to where we are. We call out to God, He hears our cry in prayer and He lifts us, puts our feet on a rock and a place to stand, and gives us a new song to sing. The description of the dilemma indicates our total helplessness, and without God salvation would not be possible. Salvation is not just deliverance; it is a new solid place to stand with a new song to sing. A new song of praise to our God. In our sins we had nothing significant to sing about. The salvation that we have compels us to sing. As I choose the hymns each week during this lock down period and try to find something on YouTube to send, I try to find a choir, group or congregation rather than a solo. As I listen to the people sing there is a yearning to be there singing with the congregation. It is possible that when we are permitted to meet together as a church that it could be some time before we are permitted to sing. When we have a new song to sing, there is a longing to join with others to praise the Lord. Music is such an emotive and stirring thing to do. As the people of God sang their new song, there were many who looked on, listened and began to fear the Lord and as a result they turned to the Lord and trusted Him. We sing to praise God, we sing to make truth memorable and we sing to encourage one another.
The Psalmist reminds those who have trusted in the Lord about their blessedness. When we have been lifted and given a new song to sing why would we look to the fake confidence of the proud or turn to put anything else in the place of God because God has delivered us.
The covenant LORD has done many wonders. The whole history of redemption, the redemptive pact with the Son, the plan of salvation, the act of creation and the promise to send a Saviour. The execution of that plan through the ages until the time was right for the Saviour to come. God has many plans for us. We cannot tell everything that God has planned for us. God has revealed what we need to know, but as eternity unfolds and we see and experience the salvation of God, what will that mean for us? Already what the Psalmist has already experienced is too much for him to tell. As blessed as the Psalmist is, his experience is not as full as the child of God who lives this side of the cross. We have to multiply what the Psalmist is speaking about because Christ has come, and what the Psalmist could only look forward to we have received. If you read through the book of Hebrews, note the number of times that it describes what NT believers have as better or greater than what the OT people experienced. We read the Psalms today with NT spectacles on, and so we have to elevate the meaning of the Psalms as they have been fulfilled in Christ.
Lord God, we thank You for the salvation that has lifted us out of what we were, transforming our lives, providing a secure Saviour and giving us so much joy that we have to sing the new song. Lord receive our praise for the wonders You have done that are all centred in the cross of Christ. Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and praise. We worship You through Jesus Christ. Amen