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Summary: This is a psalm of the Messiah; the words are applied to the Lord Jesus in Hebrews 10:5—“Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me.”

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February 25, 2015

Tom Lowe

Title: PSALM 40: PAST TRIUMPHS AND PRESENT TROUBLES (Part 3)

A psalm of David.

Part 1 David’s Conviction (verses 1-5)

Part 2 David’s Consecration (verses 6-8)

Part 3 David’s Confession (verses 9-10)

Part 4 David’s Contrition (verses 11-13)

Part 5 David’s Consolation (verses 14-17)

Psalm 40 (KJV)

Part 3 David’s Confession

9 I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O Lord, thou knowest.

10 I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation.

Introduction to Part 3

This is a psalm of the Messiah; the words are applied to the Lord Jesus in Hebrews 10:5—“Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me.” The entire psalm can be applied to the Lord Jesus—first to His resurrection and then to his sufferings on the cross. These verses describe His earthly ministry. He had proclaimed the good news of deliverance in the great congregation, that is, to the house (nation) of Israel. He had not held back anything that God had given Him to declare. He had not passed over the great truths of God’s saving help, enduring faithfulness, or steadfast love.

Commentary

9 I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O Lord, thou knowest.

10a I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart.

The psalmist feels both the obligation and the impulse to testify before the congregation of the Lord’s worshippers with regard to what he experienced from the righteousness, faithfulness, and saving power of God. He reveals the transparent nature of his own heart as he makes this pronouncement and emphasizes the fact that he has now fulfilled his obligation to tell the story in the presence of the great congregation of worshippers. The righteousness of God is at the heart of the Bible’s revelation concerning God. In Paul’s great doctrinal thesis, the Epistle to the Romans, he uses the word righteousness no less than 66 times. The great Biblical doctrines of sin, salvation, sanctification, and service (as summarized in this Epistle) all hinge on the fact that God is righteous—that is, that God always does what is right.

David preached the righteous majesty of God. He had seen it at work during the perilous years when he fled as a fugitive from Saul, holding onto the promise of God that the throne would be his and steadfastly refusing to do anything to take the law into his own hands. He had seen it at work during the prosperous years when he first ascended to the throne and saw all his foes go down before him like corn before the scythe. He had seen that righteous majesty at work in the punitive years after his sin with Bathsheba, when God righteously raised up first his own kinsmen and then his entire kingdom against him as punishment for his wickedness. He would see it at work yet again in the peaceful years when, his throne finally restored, he would at last be able to harness all national resources for the building of the temple.

David didn’t hold back; he couldn’t! “I have not refrained my lips,” that is, from preaching it, out of laziness, or fear, or self-love, but had preached it publicly, and even to the face of my enemies, though I knew my preaching would cost me my life. The change God made in his life when he gave him both the desire and the strength to deliver others from slavery to sin he didn’t keep bottled up inside him, meaning, “I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart.” I had it there (40:8), but I did not smother or shut it up there, but spread it abroad for thy Glory, and the good of the world. “O Lord, thou knowest;” he calls on the Lord to witness to the truth of what he has said.

We can thank God for His righteous majesty—that God always does what is right, that God does what He does because He is what He is. He is righteous.

Some commentators look upon this passage as prophecy, that is, the psalmist foretells of that work of wonder, redemption by our Lord Jesus Christ. The Substance must come, which is Christ, who must bring that glory to God, and that grace to man, which the sacrifices could never do.

10b I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation.

The righteousness of God divorced from the tenderness of God would be the truth without grace. It would be cold comfort to know that God always did exactly what was just and right if we did not know that along with His law went His love. To be faced with a revelation of the holiness of God apart from a corresponding revelation of the heart of God would be a frightening thing indeed.

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