My sermon on Sunday was from Psalm 40 and was entitled “Life with God.” I made the point that Hollywood producers would never make a movie of this Psalm. They might make a movie about the life of Job because in spite of Job’s immense suffering, he winds up hearing from God and is finally blessed with twice as much as he had previously. It is almost as if the final verse of Job could be, “…and Job lived happily ever after.” Hollywood loves that kind of story.
But not Psalm 40 because this Psalm turns the Hollywood storyline on its head. David starts out with God exalting praise:
I waited patiently for the Lord;he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.
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.
David was overcome with joy at the deliverance of God in his life, and he boiled over with praise at what God had done for him. But look at verse 12. Something has clearly gone wrong.
…evils have encompassed me beyond number; my iniquities have overtaken me, and I cannot see; they are more than the hairs of my head; my heart fails me.
In verse 1, David is exalting God; in verse 12, he’s back in a pit again! Moreover, the Psalm ends with the following words:
As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God!
There’s no “happily ever after” to be found. Nothing has been resolved. David is still in the pit. That’s why Hollywood wouldn’t make a movie of this chapter. Still, Psalm 40 accurately portrays life with God, doesn’t it? If we’re honest with ourselves, most of us can relate to the honesty and the lack of resolution more than we can relate to “happily ever after.”
We all have unconquered sins still remaining in our lives. Maybe some of us, unbeknownst to everyone else, are struggling with major bondages in our lives. And maybe you are ashamed of that. Yet, you need to learn a couple of lessons from David in the pit and apply them to your own life:
- David reminded himself of the works of God from his past. (vv.1-3)
- David was honest with God about his current sinfulness. (v.12)
- David reminded God that God was his help & deliverer. (v.17)
- David, sinning though he was, cried out to God to deliver him. (v.17)
In his pit, David reminded himself (spoke to himself) about how God had worked previously in his life—this was evidence of the reality of his relationship to God. In his pit, David honestly told God everything that he was currently guilty of, and he was unashamed to cry out even more loudly for God to come and rescue him again.
You need to do the same. He knows your guilt. If He knows every hair on your head, He knows your sin. Freely confess it to Him, remind Him that He is your deliverer, and plead for Him to set you free. Psalm 40 is clearly commanding you to do that very thing!
Christian, because Jesus took all of your sins upon Himself on the Cross, God will never look at you in wrath ever again! Yes, there are consequences to our sins, but you have been set free from the wrath of God.
H.A. Ironside told the story of pioneers who were making their way across one of the central states to a distant place that had been opened up for homesteading. They traveled in covered wagons drawn by oxen, and progress was necessarily slow. One day they were horrified to note a long line of smoke in the west, stretching for miles across the prairie, and soon it was evident that the dried grass was burning fiercely and coming toward them rapidly (a prairie fire can burn as fast as 50 mph). They had crossed a river the day before but it would be impossible to go back to that before the flames would be upon them. One man only seemed to have understanding as to what could be done. He gave the command to set fire to the grass behind them. Then when a space was burned over, the whole company moved back upon it.
As the flames roared on toward them from the west, a little girl cried out in terror, “Are you sure we shall not all be burned up?” The leader replied, “My child, the flames cannot reach us here, for we are standing where the fire has already been!”
What a picture of the believer, who is safe in Christ!
“On Him Almighty vengeance fell,
Which would have sunk a world to hell.
He bore it for a chosen race,
And thus becomes our Hiding Place.”
The fires of God’s judgment burned themselves out on Him, and all who are in Christ are safe forever, for they are now standing where the fire has been.
And in His love for you today God is telling you, “don’t run and hide from Me. Come to Me. Bring Me all of your brokenness. I love you, and I can fix your messed up life. Cry out to Me, and watch what I can do.”
If you would like to listen to the full sermon, you can do that here.