Psalm 40 For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.
1 I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
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.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
and put their trust in him.
4 Blessed is the one
who trusts in the Lord,
who does not look to the proud,
to those who turn aside to false gods.
5 Many, Lordmy God,
are the wonders you have done,
the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
they would be too many to declare.
6 Sacrifice and offering you did not desire—
but my ears you have opened—
burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require.
7 Then I said, “Here I am, I have come—
it is written about me in the scroll.
8 I desire to do your will, my God;
your law is within my heart.”
9 I proclaim your saving acts in the great assembly;
I do not seal my lips, Lord,
as you know.
10 I do not hide your righteousness in my heart;
I speak of your faithfulness and your saving help.
I do not conceal your love and your faithfulness
from the great assembly.
11 Do not withhold your mercy from me, Lord;
may your love and faithfulness always protect me.
12 For troubles without number surround me;
my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see.
They are more than the hairs of my head,
and my heart fails within me.
13 Be pleased to save me, Lord;
come quickly, Lord, to help me.
14 May all who want to take my life
be put to shame and confusion;
may all who desire my ruin
be turned back in disgrace.
15 May those who say to me, “Aha! Aha!”
be appalled at their own shame.
16 But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who long for your saving help always say,
“The Lordis great!”
17 But as for me, I am poor and needy;
may the Lord think of me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
you are my God, do not delay.
Devotional comment from Tre Sheppard
It’s black and cold outside. When we made the decision to move to Northern Ireland, we made it on a glorious sunny day on the beach in Portballintrae. The sun was warm, the waves were good, and we were deliriously happy.
To be honest, that’s the way I want my life to work always. I want warm sun, good waves, and delirious happiness. And some days are exactly like that… and I can always find a song for my heart to sing.
But many days aren’t like that at all. In fact, many days are like today… black and cold with sideways rain and more work to do on my desk than I can finish and my heart heavy with a few sorrows I can’t seem to shake chasing me down.
On those days, it feels like I’m in a slimy pit, a place of mud and mire. It’s hard to find a song for my lips in those moments, but this Psalm is the one I murmur as my heart’s prayer, as my mantra of hope, and the whispered invocation of a wounded soul.
Every line of this Psalm shapes me. “I waited patiently for the Lord…” reminds me that patience builds something in me, even when I want it now, yesterday, two weeks ago, express delivery…
When I read the words “He turned to me and heard my cry” I know that God hears my desperation and pain, and even better, He turns to me right in the midst of the pit I’ve found myself in.
And then He sets my feet on a rock and makes my footsteps firm, so I can sing a new song, a song that He puts in my mouth… a new song of hope, a song of rescue, a song of praise to a God who remembers me even when I’ve forgotten everything.
“Come quickly, Lord, to help me!” is the cry of the Psalm. It’s a simple but glorious reminder that I am loved.
I am remembered.
I am heard.
I am found.
It reminds me that I am deeply loved by the God of the universe even when “troubles without number surround me.” A God who is so big that He can make Himself small enough to meet me in my pain and darkness and bring me His hope.
“But as for me, I am poor and needy…” but He is not and He is here with me.
Tré Sheppard is the Teaching Pastor at Causeway Coast Vineyard Church, one of the UK's largest congregations. For over a decade, Tré was the frontman of the band 100 Hours, and he remains deeply involved in the music industry as a producer and a songwriter, and as an in demand speaker and worship leader at events around the world. He and his family live in Coleraine, Northern Ireland.