David's psalms open a window to his heart and mental anguish as he navigates a life peppered with challenges and failure. David failed Israel and his own family when he committed adultery and murder. Imagine having to live with the emotional fallout of such failure! Past failures take joy captive and replace it with despair. Psalm 40:1-4 reveals several truths that cast light on how David turned the desolation of failure into joy.
Getting angry about one's situation does more harm than good; it doesn"t manipulate God to intervene; rather, it prolongs feelings of despair. Impatience screams, "I deserve better!" while patience humbly submits to God and says, "I deserve worse." Impatience and anger prolong despair and receive God's back instead of His face, while humility waits patiently for God to act in His time. David comes to God in contrition, and God hears his cry for help, "I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry" (40:1). Therefore, humility waits before God and believes that it is always too soon to quit trusting God-in any situation.
Acknowledging the impossibility of a situation fuels trust in God. When a man can resolve his situation on his own, he will do so and never experience God in the process. Impossibility, however, provides a ripe opportunity for God to work. David acknowledges both the impossibility of his situation and his hope in God, and God helps him: "He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet on a rock, and established my steps" (40:2). No mire of impossibility prohibits God's activity. He turns mud into solid ground for the feet of those who wait for Him.
Others watch how God's people navigate the emotional fallout of failure and difficult circumstances. Observers are helped when God's people look to the LORD, but their progress is hindered when God's people act out of hopelessness and anger. David is aware that he is under a microscope and that both his despair and his deliverance affect others, "He has put a new song in my mouth-praise to our God; many will see it and fear, and will trust in the LORD" (40:3). A person's response to personal failure reveals his or her theology--what he or she really believes about God.
Happiness is attitudinal. It is driven by hope in the LORD. David understands that happiness accompanies trust in the LORD regardless of his failures or circumstances, "Blessed is that man who makes the LORD his trust, and does not respect the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies" (40:4).
David's entire life testifies that no matter what happens in life, God has the backs of those who trust in Him:
What God does for David He will do for any of His children.
Requests pepper the psalms that David writes. List the requests that David makes of the LORD in today's reading. What do these requests reveal about David's relationship with God?
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