My most recent study project is Psalm 40.
It’s a beautiful prayer of trust in God and cries for deliverance. I’ve been going section by two-or-three-verse section, trying to dive into the rich truth this psalm contains.
At its core, this chapter is about trust and deliverance. It’s about waiting patiently for God’s deliverance, in the very pit of destruction (Psalm 40:1-2). It’s about crying out in faith that God is a help and deliverer, even when you can’t see deliverance yet.
“How blessed is the man who has made the LORD his trust,” David says (Psalm 40:4). How blessed is the person who puts all their hope in God, not in any other person or thing. He is the only one worthy of faith: “There is none to compare with You.” (Psalm 40:5)
Psalm 40 exhorts us to trust in God, and wait patiently for Him, in faith that He is our help and deliverer. (Psalm 40:17)
To Do God’s Will
But what’s really interesting is the next section, verses six through eight.
Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired; My ears You have opened; Burnt offering and sin offering You have not required. Then I said, “Behold, I come; In the scroll of the book it is written of me. I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart.” (Psalm 40:6-8)
Sacrifices and burnt offerings were the backbone of religion in ancient Israel. They were the method God had prescribed for His people to come to Him.
But, like any other outward act, they could be done the wrong way.
God didn’t just want His people to bring their sacrifices and fulfill the ceremonial requirements. He wanted them to delight to do His will. He wanted His Law in their heart. He wanted their faith, the kind of trust that David talks about in this psalm.
But this is impossible for us.
The Greatest Deliverance of All
Do verses six through eight sound familiar? They should. They’re quoted in Hebrews 10:5-9. And what we learn there is that this passage isn’t really about David, or us. It’s about Christ.
Unlike us, Jesus always delighted to do the Father’s will. We wander and forget God, but He always kept the Father’s Law in His heart. And in wondrous mercy, God credits that perfect obedience to us. Jesus Christ is the truest deliverance.
Psalm 40 is about trust and deliverance. But ultimately, the deliverance is more than salvation from our circumstances. David suffered terribly in his life, but even while he prayed for God to deliver him from the suffering he faced, he trusted in the greater deliverance that was coming.
This doesn’t mean we can’t cry out for help in the suffering we face right now. Rather the opposite! This is why we can trust God to be our great deliverer–He gave us the greatest deliverance of all, at incredible cost to Himself. This should give us great hope: that our Creator loves us, and cares for us, and has power to save. It doesn’t mean He’ll always keep us from physical grief or suffering (that’s the prosperity gospel). It does mean that He loves us, and we can trust Him to do what is best.
God can deliver us from illness, from grief, from disappointment, or from the hardest of situations. But that’s not what makes Him our great, incomparable Deliverer.
He saves us from our own sin. He makes a way for us–the most undeserving–to approach His holiness and beauty.
That is true deliverance.