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Bible Commentaries

The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann
Psalms 40

 

 

Verses 1-17

Prophecy of Christ's Suffering and Prophetic Office.

To the chief musician, for performance in liturgical services, a psalm of David, the Messiah Himself speaking through his mouth and pen. Cf Heb_10:5-7.

v. 1. I waited patiently for the Lord, literally, "Waiting, I waited for Jehovah," the expression denoting the long siege of patient waiting for the help which the Messiah confidently expected; and He inclined unto Me, bowing down to Him in gracious tenderness, and heard My cry, as it was sent up to Him with such fervent insistence.

v. 2. He brought Me up also out of an horrible pit, where He was wasting away with sufferings, out of the miry clay, into which He was sinking down, apparently to His destruction, and set My feet upon a rock, upon a solid foundation, and established My goings, making His steps firm, permitting Him to walk in security. In this way the Messiah's trust in the God of His salvation, in His heavenly Father, appeared even in the midst of His sufferings.

v. 3. And He hath put a new song in My mouth, a special psalm of thanksgiving intended particularly for this occasion, even praise unto our God, for this wonderful exhibition of His mercy; many shall see it, be informed of this wonderful deliverance, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord, with reverence and awe of His mercy and grace. From this fact a general truth is now deduced.

v. 4. Blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his trust, who sets Jehovah as his confidence alone, and respecteth not the proud, turning to them for help, nor such as turn aside to lies, to the false idols and vanities of this life, to everything that men foolishly make the basis of their hope and trust outside of Jehovah. The speaker now, in the joy of His deliverance, includes Himself with the entire congregation of believers in exalting the mercies of Jehovah.

v. 5. Many, O Lord, My God, are Thy wonderful works which Thou hast done, not only those pertaining to the creation, but especially to the redemption of the world, and Thy thoughts, the marvelous plans of His mercy, which are to us-ward; they cannot be reckoned up, set forth properly, in order unto Thee, on account of their bewildering mass, or, there is none that can be compared to Thee. If I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered. Thus the Messiah, in a prophetic summary, declares the greatness of God, spreads the proper understanding of His name, and leads many to the knowledge of, and the belief in, Jehovah, the God of salvation.

v. 6. Sacrifice and offering Thou didst not desire, God does not ask for, and takes no pleasure in, mere outward offerings, in a mechanical form of worship, whether such sacrifices are in the form of thank and peace-offerings, intended to establish a closer fellowship with God, or in burnt offerings and sin-offerings, which are made to atone for sins; Mine ears hast Thou opened, literally, "ears hast Thou digged for Me," preparing His ears for hearing and heeding His will, in a true form of worship; burnt offering and sin-offering hast Thou not required, for all such outward forms of worship have value only in the measure of their flowing out of true faith, 1Sa_15:22.

v. 7. Then said I, Lo, I come, a solemn announcement of the Messiah's coming into the world, Mal_3:1; in the Volume of the Book, in the roll of parchment which is Holy Writ, the one wonderful Book of all times, Joh_5:37, it is written of Me.

v. 8. I delight to do Thy will, O My God, to carry out the pleasure of God's merciful counsel for the salvation of mankind; yea, Thy Law is within My heart; because the will of God filled His whole being, therefore the Messiah was ready to undertake the great task of preparing eternal redemption for all men. The entire ministry of Christ, but especially His great Passion, shows the. perfection of His willing obedience. And now the Messiah, delivered out of the dreary pit of suffering and death and exalted on high, testifies to the Word of His truth in the past and in the present.

v. 9. I have preached righteousness in the great congregation, declaring and proclaiming it through the mouth of His servants. Lo, I have not refrained my lips, O Lord, Thou knowest, He had not closed them up and kept them shut, but had made known God's faithfulness and salvation, His mercy and truth, Joh_1:14, these being the benefits resulting from His completed Passion.

v. 10. I have not hid Thy righteousness within my heart, namely, that which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe, Rom_3:22; I have declared Thy faithfulness and Thy salvation; I have not concealed Thy loving-kindness and Thy truth from the great congregation. Having thus set forth the everlasting truth of the Gospel, the Messiah returns to the bitter complaint of the days of His suffering.

v. 11. Withhold not Thou Thy tender mercies from me, O Lord; let Thy loving-kindness and Thy truth continually preserve me. It is the cry of a poor and stricken sinner whom the punishment of God has overtaken, who is tortured by the consciousness of his guilt; for Christ was the full Substitute for mankind, making the misery and the curse resting upon men His own.

v. 12. For innumerable evils have compassed me about, attacking Him on all sides like countless hordes of bitter enemies; mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, having overtaken him like a victorious army, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head, for they were the countless millions which had been committed by all men; therefore my heart faileth me, it has forsaken Him, leaving Him weak and powerless in His misery.

v. 13. Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me; O Lord, make haste to help me, haste being necessary because He was in such depths of oppression.

v. 14. Let them be ashamed and confounded together that seek after my soul to destroy it, for all the enemies of mankind were pursuing Him with all the curse, wrath, and damnation which the countless sins of men deserved; let them be driven backward and put to shame, covered with disgrace, that wish me evil.

v. 15. Let them be desolate for a reward of their shame, utterly stunned and dazed, that say unto me, Aha, aha! in sneering derision in an attempt to frustrate His work of redemption. The wonderful plans of God for our salvation are revealed in this passage in all their surpassing glory. The enemies cannot hinder the salvation of mankind, and all their attempts to do so result but in their own downfall.

v. 16. Let all those that seek Thee, with hearts filled with faith, rejoice and be glad in Thee, finding comfort in God, their Savior; let such as love Thy salvation say continually, The Lord be magnified, in a glorious hymn of thanksgiving.

v. 17. But I am poor and needy, in misery on account of the load of human guilt resting upon Him; yet the Lord, the All-powerful, thinketh upon Me, taking care of Him in His trouble; Thou art My help and My Deliverer; make no tarrying, O My God! With the faith in Jesus Christ and His salvation for all mankind in our hearts, we may find comfort in all troubles of this earthly life and victoriously cope with all our enemies.

 


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Bibliography Information
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Psalms 40:4". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kpc/psalms-40.html. 1921-23.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, November 19th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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