Summary: In Psalms 40 David outlines five steps that he took to have his walk with God restored: reflecting upon past deliverance, singing a new song, prayer of confession and protection from his enemies and the beggar asking God for speedy delivery.
THE PRAYER OF A BEGGAR
Online Sermon: http://www.mckeesfamily.com/?page_id=3567
We can all remember a time when we have waited patiently for God to deliver us from the dark pit of our sins. We know as children of God (John 1:12) and ambassadors of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20) we are called to put off the old self (Ephesians 4:22-24) and embrace all that is holy, righteous and true (1 Peter 1:16). And yet there are times in our lives when our habitual sin is so grievous that all we can see is the mud and mire of spiritual blindness that comes from breaking God’s commands. While sin does not mean one loses one’s salvation, it certainly has a negative affect on the closeness of one’s walk with a holy God. Also, since this world hates the light one can expect one’s enemies to rejoice seeing the hypocrisy of one’s actions and subsequent discipline from God. When this happens how does one get out of this dark pit and back on the righteous path? In Psalms 40 David outlines five steps that he took to have his walk with God restored: reflecting upon past deliverance, singing a new song, prayer of confession and protection from his enemies and the last step was for the beggar to ask God for speedy deliverance.
Reflecting Upon Past Deliverance
“Muddy times may be the experience even of the greatest saints and slimy pits the lot even of kings and preachers.” For example King David, a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22), is the one who wrote Psalms 40! This is a Psalm that contains both praise to God for past deliverance (verses 1-10) and a lament to be forgiven and subsequently saved from his enemies (verses 11-17). Given our ability to judge holiness through the lens of our own thoughts, feelings and actions; it is easy to justify one’s choices and fall into the pit of habitual sin! Today’s sermon is meant not to glorify sin or to suggest that grace is cheap, but instead to give hope to those whose sin has drug them into pit so dark and deep that one feels there is no possibility of escape. David sought to combat these feelings of despair by reflecting upon all times that God has saved him in the past.
1 I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry.
In verse one David tells us that he had to wait patiently in the past to have God turn to him and hear his cry. While none of us like the muddy pits of life in which God seems to be so distant from us, one must not forget that God is not like a genie in the bottle whom can be commanded to do miracles within our timetable. Since a day is like a thousand years to God (1 Peter 3:8), is it really a long time if He makes us wait a day, week, month, year or longer? Furthermore, can you remember a single time when confession did not eventually lead to the removal of God’s hand of discipline? Has God’s grace and mercy ever been withheld from anyone who has turned from their sin and sought God with all their heart, mind, soul and strength? Never! Like David when we fall into the dark, muddy pits of sin we are not to lose hope for God promises to always turn and hear the cry of a broken and contrite heart!
2 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.
Not only did God turn and hear David’s cry for help He also lifted him out of the slimy pit and set his feet on a firm rock to stand! The desolate pit David talked about in this verse could be reference to Sheol. If one takes this interpretation, then David was saying that he had faced either a serious illness or a dangerous situation in the past that threatened his life. The desolate pit could also have been a reference to a cistern like the one Jeremiah was thrown into. If one takes this interpretation, then David was saying that he was in a pit of despair due to being stuck in a sin, possibly his adultery with Bethsaida and murder of Uriah. Since in verse 12 David confesses sin and in verses 13-16 asks to be delivered from his enemies, both of these interpretations are likely to be true at the same time. With no secure footing possible, David vividly remembers how God lifted him out of the slimy pit and gave him a place to stand, on the rock of his salvation! O the joy in knowing that God is always willing to forgive and pull us out of our miry muck and place us on a firm foundation!