Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse
Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages
“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.” ~Psalm 40:10
We learned from Job that sickness and other setbacks are not always caused by sin. But sometimes sin is the reason we suffer. There are times when God uses sickness to get our attention and to bring us to a place of repentance. Such is the case in this psalm. (Also see James 5:15, which alludes to this possibility. Note the word “if” in the passage.) We are not told the nature of David’s sin, but clearly God has disciplined him for his failure and he knows it. The only (proper) response is to confess and to plead for forgiveness. There’s nothing wrong with a good guilt trip every now and again, as long as it takes you to the right destination. That destination is the freedom of God’s forgiveness and the protection of His favor.
This psalm may be summarized thusly: Dear Lord, life is hard. Show us mercy! David admits that he kept silent about life’s somber reality up till now, but it’s bothering him so badly he has to speak. Life is short and difficult. God rebukes man for his sinful ways while he is living and then removes him from the earth. A person is here today and gone tomorrow, like a phantom. Can’t we all relate?
When such realities press in on us, what better response than to plead for God to show mercy. (See also Psalm 90.) “Hear my prayer, O Lord, listen to my cry for help; be not deaf to my weeping” (v. 12). We should pray so that we “may rejoice again” (v. 13). May God show us mercy when life gets difficult and seems unbearable! May God cause us to rejoice again!
David pleads for mercy once again. To make his case, he opens the psalm with an appeal to God based on His past mercies. Those times when David confessed his sin and waited patiently for God’s deliverance. Those times when God rescued him from a dangerous pit and set his feet upon a rock. Those times when He put a “new song” in his mouth, a fresh expression of God’s deliverance. Now David asks God to show mercy once more. He is merciful, and He shows compassion again and again!