Reading: Psalm 40
Sacrifice and offering you did not desire—
but my ears you have opened—
burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require.
Then I said, “Here I am, I have come—
it is written about me in the scroll.
I desire to do your will, my God;
your law is within my heart.”
I proclaim your saving acts in the great assembly;
I do not seal my lips, LORD, as you know.
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 (NIV).
The first half of today’s psalm reading is quoted directly in Hebrews 10:5-7. The writer of the Book of Hebrews saw Jesus as the prophetic fulfillment of this passage. Jesus became the necessary sacrifice for the sins of the world. When God came to earth in bodily form as the babe of Bethlehem, He came clothed in humanity. Jesus came with his ears wide open to the voice of his heavenly Father. He came to do His Father’s will. For Jesus the Father’s will meant going to the whipping post and climbing the hill of Golgotha to die in agony on the cross. That was the sacrifice the Father desired.
Has God opened your ears to His voice? Have you loved God until it hurt? It hurt Jesus to do His Father’s will. If we are Jesus’ disciples, should we expect better treatment than our Master? Often what we hear preached is a sugar-coated gospel that asks little of us. Jesus asked his disciples for their lives. He said, “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:37-39).
Have you lost your life for the sake of Jesus? Now, that’s a high calling with a steep price attached.
Are your ears open to God’s calling? There are times when I don’t want to hear God’s voice. That’s why I don’t seek Him in prayer. He may tell me something I don’t want to hear. All too often, I am His reluctant servant. I would rather do my will than His will. He must change my desires. My desires must become His desires. Only then can I serve with joy. Jesus’ desire was always to do his Father’s will. From an early age he was about his Father’s business, fulfilling His Father’s plan for His life.
Whose plan are you following?
Response: LORD God, help me to truly hear and obey your voice. I want to be your disciple, Lord Jesus. Thank you for your great sacrifice by which you purchased my redemption. Amen.
Your Turn: Have you heard God’s voice and walked away? He doesn’t give up easily. He remains faithful. He renews His call.
Reading: Psalm 40
For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.
I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
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.
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.
Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD,
who does not look to the proud,
to those who turn aside to false gods.
Many, LORD my 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 (NIV).
Psalm 40 begins as a testimony of David. We do not know at which point in his life David penned this psalm, but it is clear that David was speaking from personal experience. Many times this shepherd of Israel waited patiently for the LORD; on numerous occasions he cried out to the LORD. The remarkable truth is that despite all his troubles, David can testify the LORD “turned to me and heard my cry.”
Is that your testimony too? Have you been rescued by the LORD? Has He heard your cry and lifted you out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire? I am continually amazed at how the LORD stoops down to the level of humanity. The high and lofty LORD of Hosts, seated in the heavens stoops down to rescue the likes of me.
And it’s not as though I deserve to be rescued. In most instances, the mud and the mire in which I am stuck is mud and mire that I have produced. All too often I fall into the slimy pit that I have dug. Why should God rescue me? By my own devices I have gotten myself into this mess. But when I call to Him, the LORD hears my voice and stoops to rescue me. God did it for David three thousand years ago and He is still doing it today. Two thousand years ago, God came to the city of David. He stepped into the mud and the mire of a Bethlehem stable. He came on a rescue mission that extends to you and me. Jesus was born to lift us from the dung into heights of heaven.
With David I can testify, “Many, LORD my 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.”
Response: LORD God, I thank you for Jesus. I am thankful that I can put my complete trust in you. I am rescued by your amazing grace not by my effort. When I fall, you lift me up. Hallelujah! Amen.
Your Turn: Has the God who stoops down rescued you?
An Amazon Book Review by CafinatedReads2009
When it comes to fiction books that are centered around Biblical times, it takes a really good author to hook me into the story line. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading my Bible, however, not every author can create a story that brings the Biblical portion off the book pages and to the reader like a movie screen. David Kitz, however, truly hooked me with this book, and took me on a first-class whirlwind ride through history.
I absolutely felt every emotion of this book, watching, most often on the edge of my seat, as Christ was crucified. This book really brings to life the Biblical and the historical detail. As I watched the Roman centurion who was tasked with awful task, I found myself with tears in my eyes, both for him, and for Christ. It was a heart-wrenching, gut twisting, thought provoking story of sacrifice and pain.
This book……anything less than a 5 star review would be a disgrace. The style of which David Kitz wrote this novel is stunning and captivating.
This book is definitely not for everyone though. If you are a reader of Biblical fiction, if you want to see what happened during that eventful week in time, then this book is for you. You will not be disappointed and you will want more! I know I am already ready for another beautifully written novel of Biblical times by this superbly talented author! Grab The Soldier Who Killed a King and be prepared for a jaw dropping experience of watching the crucifixion come into play.
Reading: Psalm 39
“Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom;
in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth
without knowing whose it will finally be.
“But now, LORD, what do I look for?
My hope is in you.
Save me from all my transgressions;
do not make me the scorn of fools.
I was silent; I would not open my mouth,
for you are the one who has done this.
Remove your scourge from me;
I am overcome by the blow of your hand.
When you rebuke and discipline anyone for their sin,
you consume their wealth like a moth—surely everyone is but a breath.
“Hear my prayer, LORD, listen to my cry for help;
do not be deaf to my weeping.
I dwell with you as a foreigner, a stranger, as all my ancestors were.
Look away from me, that I may enjoy life again
before I depart and am no more” (NIV).
Today’s reading is the concluding portion of Psalm 39. In this psalm we find David in a silent, reflective mood. He contemplates the brevity of life and the certainty of the grave. In the previously posted psalm portion he prayed, “Show me, LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is.”
Why would knowing the number of our days matter? Well, it should focus our minds on making the most of the time available to us. Our days on this earth are not infinite. We are each allotted a predetermined number of days. In Psalm 139, another psalm attributed to David, we read, “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:16).
We have no control or at best limited control over the number of days we live on this earth. But how and with whom we spend those days is within the range of our effective will. I can break my marital vows and my wife’s heart, or I can be true to her and my words spoken before God. I can love and raise my children in godly discipline, or I can neglect them, or alienate them through harsh punishment. I can be faithful to my Redeemer or I can turn my back on Him. These are decisions that fall within the scope of my will. In this life and the next I will be accountable for the decisions I make. Undoubtedly, this is why David cries out, “But now, LORD, what do I look for? My hope is in you. Save me from all my transgressions.”
Response: LORD God, I need your saving help. Through the redemptive blood of Jesus keep me from being trapped and controlled by my transgressions. I need your presence in my life so that I can make the most of my days. May your Kingdom rule extend to me and through me to others. Amen.
Your Turn: Do you think you would live your life differently if you knew how many days you had left?
Reading: Psalm 39
For the director of music. For Jeduthun. A psalm of David.
I said, “I will watch my ways
and keep my tongue from sin;
I will put a muzzle on my mouth
while in the presence of the wicked.”
So I remained utterly silent,
not even saying anything good.
But my anguish increased;
my heart grew hot within me.
While I meditated, the fire burned;
then I spoke with my tongue:
“Show me, LORD, my life’s end
and the number of my days;
let me know how fleeting my life is.
You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
the span of my years is as nothing before you.
Everyone is but a breath,
even those who seem secure (NIV).
Do you often find yourself in a dilemma of silence? In this psalm David finds himself in this very predicament. He decided, “I will put a muzzle on my mouth while in the presence of the wicked.”
If your ways and your thoughts run contrary to the ways of the wicked, you are in good company. You are in the company of the LORD. But don’t be surprised if you are socially ostracized, when you express your opinion. The ungodly rarely want to hear about the error of their ways. They usually prefer to blunder along in the darkness and curse the sudden appearance of light. It’s seen as too great a threat to their way of life.
David remained silent, “not even saying anything good.” But it was an uneasy silence.
Often as I listen to others—as I listen to news reports and the ruminations of cultural icons—I find myself in an uneasy silence. We live in a world that has largely abandoned God and His ways. When we embrace the God of the Bible, we are choosing to swim upstream against the flow of gravity and humanity. The world heaps scorn on those who have caught a different vision.
In his silence, David’s anguish increased. He states, “My heart grew hot within me. While I meditated, the fire burned.”
Is passion for God burning in your heart? True worth and eternal values can only be found in Him.
Response: LORD, show me your ways. Show me how much I need you day by day. Help me to value every day you give me on this earth. Shine your light in me and through me by the power of Jesus. Amen.
Your Turn: Are we silent too often when we should speak?
Reading: Psalm 38
For I am about to fall,
and my pain is ever with me.
I confess my iniquity;
I am troubled by my sin.
Many have become my enemies without cause;
those who hate me without reason are numerous.
Those who repay my good with evil
lodge accusations against me,
though I seek only to do what is good.
LORD, do not forsake me;
do not be far from me, my God.
Come quickly to help me,
my Lord and my Savior (NIV).
Today’s reading is the concluding portion of Psalm 38. As noted previously, this entire psalm is a lament over sin, and the trouble and affliction it has brought into David’s life. Rather than blaming others or blaming God, David takes responsibility for his self-inflicted difficulties. In anguish of spirit he cries out, “I confess my iniquity; I am troubled by my sin.”
Are you troubled by your sin, or do you revel in it? Have the consequences of sin started to bite. The writer of the Book of Hebrews tells us that Moses “chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:25). There are pleasures in sin for a season, but the long term consequences are pain and death. It would appear from a full reading of this psalm that David is suffering some of the consequences of his misguided sin.
But David has the correct response. He confesses his sin and throws himself upon the mercies of God. Hear his humble plea, “LORD, do not forsake me; do not be far from me, my God. Come quickly to help me, my Lord and my Savior.”
God’s ears are always open to that kind of prayer. We may believe that we have fallen too far –that our sin is too great –that we have sunk too low. But God hears our cry and His grace is sufficient. His mercy knows no bounds. The blood of Christ flows to the lowest valley. He can cleanse the vilest heart, if we call out to Him.
Repentance is a wonderful gift, perhaps the greatest gift of all. At various times in his life David fell into the grip of sin. But David knew how to repent and as a result he found favor in the eyes of God. Discover the gift of repentance today. It’s more than feeling sorry for yourself. It’s a 180-degree turn from pursuing sin to pursuing God.
Response: LORD God, grant me the gift of repentance. I am thankful that Jesus died on the cross to wash me clean. Hallelujah! I want to pursue you, Lord. You are my help and my righteousness. My salvation comes from you. Amen.
Your Turn: Are you troubled by sin? Have you found a remedy?
I will praise Him!
The LORD reigns, let the earth be glad;
let the distant shores rejoice.
Clouds and thick darkness surround him;
righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
Fire goes before him
and consumes his foes on every side.
His lightning lights up the world;
the earth sees and trembles.
The mountains melt like wax before the LORD,
before the LORD of all the earth.
The heavens proclaim his righteousness,
and all peoples see his glory.
(Psalm 97:1-6, NIV)
I will praise Him!
Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;
let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.
Let all creation rejoice before the LORD, for he comes,
he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples in his faithfulness.
(Psalm 96:11-13, NIV)
Reading: Psalm 38
All my longings lie open before you, LORD;
my sighing is not hidden from you.
My heart pounds, my strength fails me;
even the light has gone from my eyes.
My friends and companions avoid me because of my wounds;
my neighbors stay far away.
Those who want to kill me set their traps,
those who would harm me talk of my ruin;
all day long they scheme and lie.
I am like the deaf, who cannot hear,
like the mute, who cannot speak;
I have become like one who does not hear,
whose mouth can offer no reply.
LORD, I wait for you; you will answer, LORD my God.
For I said, “Do not let them gloat
or exalt themselves over me when my feet slip” (NIV).
Here in Psalm 38, David has brought all his troubles before the LORD. He laments over his sin and the downcast state in which he finds himself. Hear his confession: All my longings lie open before you, LORD; my sighing is not hidden from you. My heart pounds, my strength fails me; even the light has gone from my eyes.
In humble prayer David has come before a God who always hears and sees. God hears and sees even when we wish He could not. He sees our triumphs and our failures, our victories over temptation and our slide into defeat. He hears every idle word and understands every crass and selfish thought. The LORD sees and hears. He saw Adam’s sin in the Garden before He met with him in the cool of the evening. God sees our sins long before we bow in repentance.
God sees and hears all we say and do. This should bring comfort to the soul in distress and a healthy fear to the soul tempted to sin. All my longings lie open before you, LORD: the wholesome longings and those that spring from impure motives. The LORD sees my needs and my wants, my hopes and my dreams, but more than that, God understands my motives. David brought all of this before the LORD and so should we.
Though we may not see the pain of those around us, God sees our suffering. Though we may be deaf to the needs of others, God is not deaf to our plea for help. Though we may stand mute when others need defense or encouragement, our God speaks. He does not remain silent. His Spirit speaks even to you—even to me.
Response: LORD God, speak to me when I am downcast. Lift me when I am in need. Forgive me when I fail. You are my help and my strength. LORD, I wait for you; you will answer, LORD my God. Amen.
Your Turn: How has the all-hearing, all-seeing God helped you? Take a moment to reflect on how the LORD has helped you in the past.