Year A – Epiphany 2 – Psalm 40:1-11

Psalms 40 – To the leader. Of David. A Psalm. 1 I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. 2 He drew me up from the desolate pit, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. 3 He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.   4 Happy are those who make the LORD their trust, who do not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after false gods. 5 You have multiplied, O LORD my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you. Were I to proclaim and tell of them, they would be more than can be counted.   6 Sacrifice and offering you do not desire, but you have given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required. 7 Then I said, “Here I am; in the scroll of the book it is written of me. 8 I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.”   9 I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; see, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O LORD. 10 I have not hidden your saving help within my heart, I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation.   11 Do not, O LORD, withhold your mercy from me; let your steadfast love and your faithfulness keep me safe forever.

Summary – This Psalm speaks of the deliverance of David. God heard the cry of David even though he was in a slimy pit. God set him on firm ground. God provided security, pictured in very concrete terms. His feet are now on a rock, rather than in a swamp or bog of mud. This deliverance evokes a song of praise which will call others to such praise. Those who worship the true God will be blessed. God does not require sacrifices, but a willingness to obey Him. God desires those who delight to do His will. The Psalmist has given praise in the congregation of Yahweh’s deliverance and pleads that He will not withhold His mercy, but continue to give covenant love and faithfulness forever.

Insight – This Psalm is applied to Christ in Heb. 10:9. Christ is the obedient worshiper who comes to do the will of the Father. The words of this Psalm easily overlap with the Servant Song of Isaiah 53 in which it is said, “But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days” (Isaiah 53:10). This is recalled in Philippians 2:8, when it is explained that Jesus “humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross.” Such was the obedience of Jesus, the One who came to do the will of the Father.

Discussion – Given the rigorous system of sacrifices in the Old Testament, why does this Psalm say that God does not require such sacrifices?

Prayer – Almighty God, our heavenly Father, we thank you for the sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus the Lord, who came in obedience to suffer death on a cross, that we might have life. Grant that we who are called into His body, the Church, may walk in the same obedience, yielding our wills to His in order to glorify Him, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, world without end. Amen.

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