I sat on the edge of the pool, carefully heeding the instructions, “Do not get in the water without your teacher.”
Without warning, I tumbled headfirst into the deep end. Unable to swim, I flailed, completely immersed, panicking with no ability to bring myself to the top. I could feel water searching for a way into my lungs.
In an instant, strong arms encircled me and drew me up to safety. Coughing, sputtering, and crying, I clung to the one that held me. I was afraid, but I was safe. I was five, and I vividly recall wanting no further part in swimming lessons that day. I also clearly recollect the boy who pushed me in, but I’ll not throw his name under the bus.
Lifeguards are magnificent people.
It’s realistic that I could have drowned that day were it not for someone who was my help and my deliverer. But of course, I tell you this story to point to a greater Help, a perfect Deliverer.
Psalm 40 begins “I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.”
In the moment where I thought I was drowning physically, I can emphatically tell you that I was not waiting patiently.
Yet here the psalmist describes a time when he cried out to God, waiting patiently for Him. In his spiritual distress, he was given grace to wait. He waited, and he cried out–so simple, yet so difficult sometimes.
But God in response did so much more.
He inclined to me
He heard my cry
He drew me up from the pit of destruction.
He set my feet upon a rock.
He made my steps secure
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise.
God was the one who could save. He was the deliverer. He was the one who acted. In the immediate context, David reminds us that God hears our prayers and responds.
His response may not be in our timing, nor in the way we think he will act, but he does hear. He does draw our fearful, anxious hearts from the miry bog.
As a result, “Many will see and hear and put their trust in the Lord.” When I recall how I’ve received mercy, when others see God’s strong arms, together we praise Him! We sing, we shout to the God of our salvation!
These are lovely, comforting thoughts. But there are far more radical implications to be gleaned. First, Jesus drew me up from the pit of destruction. He set me on a ROCK, which is himself. Through his death, burial and resurrection he made my steps secure.
“You have multiplied O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you!” (Psalm 40:5) How my soul magnifies the ROCK of my salvation!
Praise God for salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.
But secondly, we can view this psalm as if Jesus was the one who prayed it! Take a moment and let that sink in.
I know this is true because Hebrews 10:5-7 quotes Psalm 40:6-7 as the words of Christ. “Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required. Then I said, “Behold, I have come.”
Jesus came as the humble, obedient servant. God became the sacrifice.
Think of it this way, Jesus knew destruction. The cross was the miry bog. He faced death to save those his Father loved. Furthermore, verses 12-17 foreshadow the garden of Gethsemane. “For evils have encompassed me beyond number… Be pleased O Lord to deliver me! O Lord make haste to help me!”
But there in the garden, Jesus said perhaps some of the most extravagant words ever spoken. “Nevertheless, not my will but yours.”
The priest became the sacrifice. The perfect one was cursed, so we could be blessed. He took destruction so we could be whole. He went down in the miry bog of death, but he was raised again to life! Now from his place on the rock Jesus reigns as risen King!
And that my friends, is the wonder and majesty here. It is not “Wait patiently like David.”
Rather, the immense beauty of Psalm 40 is that we have a Savior who prayed it perfectly. We have a Savior who lived it perfectly. Therefore, we have grace when we are weak.
So my soul sings, “Great is the Lord!”
Father, thank you that Jesus faced destruction in my place. He bore the wrath that I deserved. Thank you for Jesus, the true Savior, the rock who made my soul secure. Thank you for Jesus who also rescues me when daily struggles threaten to drown me. When I think of all Christ has done, I can’t help but praise you! I can’t help but want to serve you always!
This post by Ami appeared first at anewseason.net