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Bible Sermon: "Waiting for a Faithful God" (Psalm 40)
Sermon: "Waiting for a Faithful God"
Introduction— An ice-breaking anecdote about waiting for a “not always faithful” bus. Scheduled time of arrival: 9:00 AM
Stage #1-- at 9:05 a.m. This is the “it should be coming right away” expectation stage.
Stage #2-- at 9:15 a.m. This is the “I wonder what’s keeping it; it must have broken down” disappointment stage
Stage #3-- at 9:30 a.m. This is the “why can’t those lazy mechanics do their job right" anger and impatience stage.
At this point, the temptation to complain to the next bus driver comes.
Stage #4-- at 9:45 a.m. This is the “oh, well, I guess it’s not coming” resignation stage.
Anger usually subsides. I know that I am going to be late, but I can't do anything about it.
Transition: This morning we’ll be considering someone who wrote often of waiting. However, this man waited for God.
Please turn to Psalm 40.
Historical background: A close connection appears to exist between Psalm 39, 40, and 41. The text possibly arose out of a time in David’s life when he was in distress because of personal sin (Ps. 39:7-13; 40:12; 41:3, 9)
The last verse (41:9) points to the episode when Ahithophel, David's trusted counselor, betrayed the king, conspiring against him with Absalom, David’s son (2 Sam. 15).
Jesus quotes this verse in John 13:18. (Turn there).So, we see that the Lord treated this psalm as a prophecy in part; he understood Ahithophel as a type of Judas.
In other words, features in Ahithophel’s life (especially his being a traitor) paralleled Judas’ life. He saw this verse’s fulfillment in the person of Judas.
The first eleven verses—David’s song of thanksgiving for the LORD’s past deliverances.
He is remembering God’s faithfulness to him.
[Draw parallel with our lives when God has been faithful to us (1 Corinthians 10:13)].
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear (endure) it.”
The last six verses—David’s individual lament regarding his present situation.
Today we will be looking at only the first five verses of this psalm. Let’s read them now.
Worship While Waiting
Main idea: God will deliver the one who waits for him.
I. David summarizes his testimony (vv. 1-3)
A. He waited upon the LORD (v. 1)
1. Emphasis: "Waiting, I waited" (v. 1a). The word “wait” literally means “to stretch forth.” David was very definitely emotionally involved; his was not the passive, stoical approach to suffering.
2. The word’s meaning includes crying for help (v. 1b).
Ps. 130:1, 5-- “Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD (v. 1); “I wait for the LORD, my souls waits (v. 5)
Question: Why is there so often a delay in answers to prayer?
God desires to develop our faith.
Developing genuine faith is a painful, slow process, but James 1:2, 3 states that we should understand that the testing of our faith produces endurance or perseverance.
And this perseverance has a perfect work, that we may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.
Peter gives very similar counsel in his first epistle.
He writes, “In this you greatly rejoice—(in what? Salvation)—, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, . . .” (1 Peter 1:6-7).
Application: Waiting upon the LORD is not a vain activity; God is alive and well.
He is busy making saints; trust Him to do what only He can do.
B. God delivered him from his distress (vv. 1b-3a)
1. He inclined (means to stretch, bend, or bow).
This word “inclined” speaks of the LORD’s condescending grace.
God reached down to us in salvation, and He continues to do so throughout our lives to get us out of scrapes.
Why? Because he wants to. Read Ephesians 1:3-6.
Remember: God does not exist for man’s comfort; man exists for God’s glory and good pleasure.
2. He heard (v. 1b)--
(Psalm 34:15 says, “The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry.”)
Now, of course, we’ve got to remember that these are figures of speech; God is spirit, and doesn’t have eyes or ears (John 4:24).
The writers are merely using anthropomorphisms here.
Anthropomorphisms are simply terms writers use to help human beings better relate to God.
Aren’t you glad that God hears the prayers of those rightly related to Him?
The apostle John said, ‘’If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked from him” (1 John 5:14,15).
3. He brought him up (v. 2)—Here we get a glimpse of one particular situation in David’s life from which God rescued him.
a. Out of the pit of roaring (figurative for destruction)
b. Out of the mud of the mire (figurative for distress).
This description is reminiscent of Jeremiah’s plight when he was persecuted for preaching the truth (Jeremiah 38).
4. He set him on a secure foundation— Emphasis in the Hebrew text is on the rock.
It reads literally: “He set upon a rock my feet.”
Here we see a complete reversal; David was languishing in a muddy, mucky pit, and God brought him up and set him securely on strong bedrock.
And that’s exactly what he’s done for us.
5. He put in my mouth “a new song” (v. 3)
The parallelism in the verse shows us what David means by “a new song.”
He calls it “praise to our God.” It is a song of praise for deliverance or salvation from a distressful situation.
We see a theology of a “new song’’ in many places in the Psalms (e.g. Psalm 96:1; 98:1).
But it also has a connection with the song that we will be singing in glory as those who have also been delivered from danger.
(Turn to Rev. 5:9.)
C. The people will respond to his deliverance (v. 3b)
Compare Joshua 2:9-11.
Rahab’s account of the effect that God’s deliverance had upon some folks in Jericho.
Transition: David then picks up on this idea of trust and carries it on to his next idea.
The Kiss of the Apostate
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II. David proclaims his conclusions (v. 4)
A. “Happinesses” belong to the one who chooses to trust Yahweh.
(“Happinesses”—this word comes from a verb which means “to go straight, to advance.”)
Therefore, David is writing here about making progress in godliness.
B. “Happinesses” belong to the one who chooses not to trust the proud (defiant ones; cf. Is. 2:22.
“Stop trusting in man who has but a breath in his nostrils. Of what account is he?”)
C. “Happinesses” belong to the one who chooses not to trust the apostate (those who turn aside to lies, i.e., other gods)
Definition of apostate- One who once knew and somewhat held to the truth, but has now rejected it.
Now he espouses the following positions:
1. Trust in yourself—self-improvement, self-actualization, realize your human potential, the New Age mentality.
2. Think positively, and everything will work. “You’ll be rich.” (Norman Vincent Peale, health and wealth gospel, “name and claim it”)
3. “No deity will save us; we must save ourselves.” (“Humanist Manifesto”)
4. Man can do anything he sets his mind to. (Genesis 11- “Now nothing will be impossible for him . . .”). Irrational optimism.
But David recognized that he was not sufficient in and of himself; he had developed healthy humility through God’s deliverance.
Transition: Then finally,
III. David confesses God’s greatness (v. 5)
A. He extols him for his wonders (acts of redemption and judgment) [v. 5a].
He seems to refer here to the events of Exodus and Canaan.
B. He extols him for his thoughts/plans regarding his people (v. 5b)
1. Psalm 139:17ff
2. Psalm 92:5 “How great are Thy works, O LORD. Thy thoughts are very deep.
C. He speaks of his incomparability (v. 5c). Compare Isaiah 40:12-18.
1. We should wait patiently for God to work, and then be sure to praise Him when He answers us in salvation from our trials.
2. We should be aware that God is sovereign, and His timing often appears slow to us. However, we must rest assured that He is always on time.
© 2012 glynch1