Psalms 39 Commentary

Psalm 40 The life that pleases God

David here refers to some past experience in which God rescued him from what appeared to be certain death. David felt like a person who had fallen into a muddy pit and was sinking to death, but God pulled him out and put him on firm ground again. He can now continue his journey, singing as he goes and thereby encouraging others to put their trust in God (1-3). His song is one of praise to God, whose loving works on behalf of the faithful are more than can be numbered (4-5).

What God is most concerned with in the lives of believers is not the offering of animal sacrifices, but the offering of their lives; not the mere performance of religious rituals, but the willing performance of all God’s will. God wants believers to open their ears to hear his instruction, then to carry it out willingly and joyfully (6-8). (This principle was carried out perfectly in the life of Jesus; see Heb 10:5-9.)

Having experienced personally the loyal love of God, David never stops telling people about it (9- 10). He knows that the outflow of divine love will never cease, and with this assurance he asks God for his special protection through the persecution he is at present suffering. He does not deny that this suffering may be a punishment for past sins, but he still trusts God to save him through it (11-15). He desires that people everywhere praise God for his great salvation, and that he too might experience God’s saving power once more (16-17).

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