Psalm 40:1-3 NASB
I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me and heard my cry.
He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay,
And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God;
Many will see and fear
And will trust in the Lord.
In this life we will have trouble, hardships and persecutions. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are to turn to our Lord during these times, and call on him for help, and seek his counsel and wisdom in knowing what to do and how to respond to our difficult circumstances and to the people who are hurting us.
He will come to the rescue, maybe not always in the way we had hoped or in the timely manner we had wished for, at least with regard to some of our requests.
But, he will help us through every challenge which presents itself to us, and he will deliver us from us caving to our flesh during these times. And, He will strengthen us, and give us a song of rejoicing in Him. And, because of this, others will be encouraged who are also going through trials and troubles.
Psalm 40:4-5 NASB
How blessed is the man who has made the Lord his trust,
And has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood.
Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders which You have done,
And Your thoughts toward us;
There is none to compare with You.
If I would declare and speak of them,
They would be too numerous to count.
There are great spiritual benefits to putting our trust in the Lord and not in ourselves or in other humans who are bound to fail us. For one, we are at peace in knowing that God is absolutely in control of the situations of our lives, so we don’t have to worry about what might happen to us.
We also know that God is completely faithful in all that he does, and that he always has in mind what is for our good, so we don’t have to worry that others will be able to do stuff to us that God can’t handle or that he doesn’t already have a plan in mind for how he is going to work this out for our good and for the spiritual benefit of others, too.
Because our God is fully in power and in control over all things, and because he is totally trustworthy, and he is always working for what is for our best, we should not ever worry or feel as though we have to do such and such in order to make things happen, especially if what we do is compromising our faith and Christian principles.
Psalm 40:6-8 NASB
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.”
God doesn’t need our help, as though he is not capable of working things out the way they should go. He also doesn’t need what we are willing to sacrifice for him if we are not willing to lay it all down on his altar and follow Jesus in surrender and in obedience to his will for our lives.
What he desires and requires of us is that we give our lives to him and that we follow him wherever he leads us in doing what he wants us to do, even if it gets us hated and rejected by other people, and even if it means we will be persecuted for our faith, and even if others speak evil against us and accuse us falsely of what we did not do, or they abandon us completely.
What he wants are followers who are eager and ready to do his will, and in whom God’s law (his instructions in godly living) are written in their hearts. From their hearts their desire is for the Lord and for his commands, and they are not resistant to his instructions, nor do they try to find ways around them.
Psalm 40:9-10 NASB
I have proclaimed glad tidings of righteousness in the great congregation;
Behold, I will not restrain my lips,
O Lord, You know.
I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart;
I have spoken of Your faithfulness and Your salvation;
I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth from the great congregation.
Many of us are being persecuted, are being treated badly, and are being rejected, betrayed and abandoned physically or emotionally or spiritually by other humans because of our stand for truth and for righteousness. We are hated and forsaken by many because, when we stand for righteousness, we also stand against what is wicked, evil, immoral, impure, lewd and ungodly.
Because we stand against what God is against, and because we stand for what God is for, the ungodly, including many who call themselves Christians, will reject us, mistreat us, abandon us, and think we are oddballs and out of touch with reality.
They may even call us “goody-goodies” or “holy-rollers” or whatever other derogatory term they can find in order to try to shame us into compromise with the world so that we don’t stand out as different. But, we are supposed to stand out as different! That is what it means to be holy – to be unlike, different from the world, because we are being made to be like Jesus.
Psalm 40:11-12 NASB
You, O Lord, will not withhold Your compassion from me;
Your lovingkindness and Your truth will continually preserve me.
For evils beyond number have surrounded me;
My iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to see;
They are more numerous than the hairs of my head,
And my heart has failed me.
So, in these times when we are being persecuted or abandoned for our stand for truth and righteousness, we call on God for mercy. We pray for his compassion towards us in our times of trouble and heartache and suffering for the name of Jesus and for the sake of his gospel. For, His lovingkindness and His truth are what preserve our lives, during these times especially.
The evils which surround us at these times are those coming from those who oppose not only us, but the true gospel. They are like an army coming against us to defeat us, and they can be very overwhelming and oppressive, at times, so much so that we may suffer much anguish of heart and mind.
For, Satan’s goal is to destroy us and Jesus Christ and his Word and his gospel message. Thus, he has gotten many humans to create a false grace gospel to supplant the true gospel, like a mistress consuming the heart of one’s husband so that the husband abandons his wife physically and/or emotionally for another lover.
For, the mistress demands nothing, and requires no faithfulness or purity, but only fulfills the lustful desires of the one seeking her out. For, she cares nothing for the husband, only for what he can do to satisfy her flesh, as well. She is the personification of this false grace gospel.
The false grace gospel, as well, cares nothing for the souls of those who come to her bed. Her goal is to appease the flesh, and to fulfill the lusts of the flesh and the pride of life. And, so many are driven to her bosom, because righteousness and holiness and faithfulness are not required. And, wickedness and lewdness and immorality are not opposed, but sins are coddled, instead. And, many people have found satisfaction in her bed.
Psalm 40:13-17 NASB
Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me;
Make haste, O Lord, to help me.
Let those be ashamed and humiliated together
Who seek my life to destroy it;
Let those be turned back and dishonored
Who delight in my hurt.
Let those be appalled because of their shame
Who say to me, “Aha, aha!”
Let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You;
Let those who love Your salvation say continually,
“The Lord be magnified!”
Since I am afflicted and needy,
Let the Lord be mindful of me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
Do not delay, O my God.
So, those who are standing on the Word of God, and who are standing for righteousness, purity, holiness and faithfulness, are often opposed and rejected and persecuted, even within the church, by those who want to continue in their sinful addictions without interruption.
So, this is a prayer of the persecuted for deliverance from these enemies of the gospel of our salvation who do seek to destroy our lives, to hurt us, and who do seek to destroy the gospel of our salvation, too (See: John 10). But, it is also a prayer that our persecutors would be brought to a place of shame and disgrace and humiliation, I believe in the hope that they would come to their senses and that they would repent of their sins and trust Jesus with their lives.
But, this is also a prayer of thanksgiving for those who do honor their God as the holy God that he is, and who do revere him, and walk in obedience to him, and who do not live to satisfy the sinful cravings of their flesh. It is a prayer for them, as well, that they would be victorious over the enemy of their souls, and despite persecution, would be able to praise God and thank Him continually.
An Original Work / June 24, 2012
Based off John 10:1-18 NIV
My sheep hear me. They know me.
They listen to my voice and obey.
I call them and lead them.
They know my voice, so they follow me.
They will never follow strangers.
They will run away from them.
The voice of a stranger they know not;
They do not follow him.
So, I tell you the truth that
I am the gate, so you enter in.
Whoever does enter
Will find forgiveness and will be saved.
Nonetheless whoever enters
Not by the gate; other way,
He is the thief and a robber.
Listen not, the sheep to him.
Oh, I am the Good Shepherd,
Who laid his own life down for the sheep.
I know them. They know me.
They will live with me eternally.
The thief only comes to steal and
Kill and to destroy the church.
I have come to give you life that
You may have it to the full…
They know my voice, so they follow me.
Sunday, October 21, 2018 – Thank You, Jesus, for your watch and your care over us who are your true sheep, and that we have no reason ever to fear.