Hello everybody and welcome in to episode #231 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Psalm 40 today and our focus is on Does God Hear Our Cries for Help When We Pray? How Can We Wait Patiently on The Lord?? . We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new in listeners in Islamabad, Pakistan, Syddanmark, Denmark, Cebu, Philippines, Cavite City, Philippines, parts unknown, France and Spain, East Java, Indonesia, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Nova Scotia, Canada, Salinas, California, Fort Wayne, Indiana, Columbus, Ohio, St. Louis, Missouri and Duluth, Minnesota. Thanks for listening! Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
Another Psalm today, and this one quite well known – even by many who don’t know the Bible. When I was in high school, my two favorite bands were REM and U2, and I was introduced to Psalm 40 probably not by a preacher, or by reading the Bible, but by U2’s great song 40, which is based on Psalm 40. Every time I read the Psalm, I can hear Bono say, “Sing this with me, this is 40,” which is from a bootleg tape I had of a U2 performance in Germany. Good song, better Psalm.
Once again, we will see the same kind of pattern in this Psalm that so many of us experience in real life – the Psalmist oscillates back and forth between assurance and desperation – between faith and pleading. For instance, the opening to this Psalm is some of the most soaring and positive praises in the entire Bible:
I waited patiently for the Lord,
and he turned to me and heard my cry for help.
2 He brought me up from a desolate pit,
out of the muddy clay,
and set my feet on a rock,
making my steps secure.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and they will trust in the Lord.
4 How happy is anyone
who has put his trust in the Lord
and then, just a few verses later:
For troubles without number have surrounded me;
my iniquities have overtaken me; I am unable to see.
They are more than the hairs of my head,
and my courage leaves me.
13 Lord, be pleased to rescue me;
hurry to help me, Lord.
so now we are in a low place – a majestic beginning focused on the deliverance of the Lord has turned into a desperate plea for rescue. How does the Psalm end – hopeful or pleading? And the answer, of course, is both:
I am oppressed and needy;
may the Lord think of me.
You are my helper and my deliverer;
my God, do not delay.
Now, as we’ve mentioned time and time again, David’s Psalm is not an example of religious schizophrenia or bi-polarism, but is a picture of the reality of life in a fallen world. One moment we’re praising God and radiating faith, and the next moment we are aware of all of the dangers surrounding us and crying out for help. YOU ARE NOT ALONE if you feel this way – jerked to and fro by the difficulties of life. The Psalms help us process, pray about and persevere through the many problems and pains of life. Read this with me, this is 40.
Wonderful! Here’s Spurgeon to help us better wait on the Lord:
In a suit at law there are many and grievous delays, and yet the man who has been forced into the court does not dream of relinquishing his case. He urges on his solicitor, and entreats him to lose no opportunity of getting the business settled; but he does not in a pet take the case out of his hands, for he expects that the judge will sooner or later decide the matter. It would be a pity not to continue steadfast in prayer, for it is certain that now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. Every hour of importunity brings us nearer to the time when the Judge shall avenge his own elect. To waste all the cost of former tears and entreaties, and to let months of praying go for nothing would be a sad waste of effort. Let us hope in the Lord, and wait patiently for him, abiding still at the mercy-seat. Has he not himself said, “Though the vision tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry?”
Sometimes, before we call, God hears us, and while we are yet speaking he answers us. This is to encourage us to a further trust in him; perhaps to prepare us for waiting times. Frequently the richest answers are not the speediest. Ships may return all the more quickly because they have a slender lading; and a prayer may be all the longer on its voyage because it is bringing us a heavier freight of blessing. Delayed answers are not only trials of faith, but they give us an opportunity of honoring God by our steadfast confidence in him under apparent repulses.
He that will only believe because he sees the answer to his prayer immediately hath but little faith. He is the man after God’s own heart who can cry day and night unto the Lord by the month together, and yet never swerve from the full conviction that God is good to Israel, and that in waiting upon him there is great reward. David says, “I waited patiently for the Lord, and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.” This patience in waiting is the attribute of the full-grown saint, and perhaps it gives more glory to God than the songs of cherubim and seraphim. Jonah says, “When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.” Desponding brother, keep up the suit. Perhaps this very day may be the hearing-day. Go again seven times. The little cloud, like a man’s hand, may be visible on that last time of asking. Knock, and knock again, till the gate of heaven reverberates your blows. The door must open, and it will open all the wider because you have knocked so long. “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart. Wait, I say, on the Lord.”
C. H. Spurgeon, Flowers from a Puritan’s Garden, Distilled and Dispensed (New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1883), 266–267.
Bible Memory verses for the month of August: 4 Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant, 5 is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs. 6 Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-6
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