The Psalms contain an abstract of life. Psalm 40, usually attributed to David, is an example.
David was in trouble. “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.” (Psalm 40:1-3, NIV)
Have you ever been in a grimy pit? Unfortunately, we struggle with what David did to escape his pit. Patience is difficult in our world. When we need something, immediacy is our mantra. Come on, God, hurry up! Give me relief!
In verse 4, David succinctly explained what his patient waiting produced: trust in the Lord. Trust in God doesn’t appear suddenly. It requires the deliberate development of an abiding relationship with God — a relationship that isn’t put on a shelf once we’re out of the pit, but one that endures through thick and thin.
In verses 6-10, David realized a key to this kind of relationship. It didn’t come through ritual — burnt and sin offerings. It came from God who placed his law in an open heart, which was also filled with God’s righteousness, faithfulness, and love.
Beginning in verse 11, it appears that David was in more trouble. This time, he said, “[C]ome quickly to help me.” Everyone wants quick help from God. David had a lasting kinship with God. His heart was filled with trust in God. Even so, God’s help can still take patience and time as measured on God’s clock.
Sometimes, our hearts must be renewed, so that God can lift us up again, give us a firm place to stand, and put a new song in our mouths.