Book 1 – Psalm 40 of 41: the Christ waits for the Father

David thus fleshes out the prophecy of Christ more vividly here, so much that apostle Paul uses the same language as v.6-9 here in Hebrews 10:5-9, regarding the one sacrifice of the Lamb.  Charles Spurgeon describes this as a Psalm “lifted by the Holy Spirit into the region of prophecy, David was honoured thus to write concerning a far greater than himself“.  The subject of which, Spurgeon continues, is that “Jesus is evidently here, and although it might be a violent wresting of language to see both David and his Lord, both Christ and the church, the double comment might involve itself in obscurity, and therefore we shall let the sun shine even though this should conceal the stars.  Even if the New Testament were not so express upon it, we should have concluded that David spoke of our Lord in Psalm 40:6-9…“. 

Indeed, so David’s waiting already mentioned in the previous chapter is connected to that of Christ’s waiting of the Father – for it is of Christ that the Father drew the Son up from the pit of destruction, from hell (v.2), singing a new song – a song of the resurrection (v.3).  For who is the Blessed Man except Christ (c.f. Psalm 1) who makes the Father his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie (v.4), when even David – the man after God’s own heart – has been led astray as the previous chapters describe in such painful manner?  Just as the book of John states, there is so much good to proclaim of God that “they are more than can be told” (v.5; c.f. John 20:30-31). Spurgeon writes:

Patient waiting upon God was a special characteristic of our Lord Jesus.  Impatience never lingered in his heart, much less escaped his lips.  All through his agony in the garden, his trial of cruel mockings before Herod and Pilate, and his passion on the tree, he waited in omnipotence of patience.  No glance of wrath, no word of murmuring, no deed of vengeance came from God’s patient Lamb; he waited and waited on; was patient, and patient to perfection, far excelling all others who have according to their measure glorified God in the fires.

With regard to v. 2, Spurgeon continues:

When our Lord bore in his own person the terrible curse which was due to sin, he was so cast down as to be like a prisoner in a deep, dark, tearful dungeon, amid whose horrible glooms the captive heard a noise as of rushing torrent, while overhead resounded the tramp of furious foes… Jesus is the true Joseph taken from the pit to be Lord of all.  It is something more than a “sip of sweetness” to remember that if we are cast like our Lord into the lowest pit of shame and sorrow, we shall be faith rise to stand on the same elevated, sure, and everlasting rock of divine favour and faithfulness.

The prophecy becomes much clearer now – that David has not been writing of himself for he cannot provide the eternal sacrifice for the sins of mankind (v.6) – but that the Son (not David!) has come (v.7) in the scroll of the book that is written of Christ – that it is Christ who will delight to do the will of the Father, for it is the Father’s law which is in the heart of Christ and not firstly of man (v.8).  It is Christ who shall tell us of the glad news of deliverance (v.9), revealing what David foretells, that true deliverance shall come only through Christ Jesus – he has not hidden the Father’s deliverance, through Himself, in His own heart.  Indeed, Spurgeon even describes Psalm 40:6 as “one of the most wonderful passages in the whole of the Old Testament, as passage in which the incarnate Son of God is seen not through a glass darkly, but as it were face to face.

For this reason, the Father shall not restrain his mercy from His Son (v.11), the steadfast love towards his Son (John 17) which is shared with David, with the church, that Israel may be one as the Father, the Son and the Spirit are one.  For evils have encompassed the Anointed One beyond number (v.12), and indeed the iniquities of the church which is laid on Christ has overtaken him that his heart fails (v.12; c.f. Psalm 22:1).  Yet, Christ’s conviction is that the Father is holy! (Psalm 22:3), so also here, “Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me!  O LORD, make haste to help me!” as Christ yearns to the Father (v.13).  Those who therefore spit on Christ and on His work shall be put to shame – the temporary joys and pleasures of the wicked shall be revealed and brought to dishonour (v.14; c.f. Psalm 37).  So those who seek the Father will rejoice and be glad in Him, because they love Him through His salvific work – and it is through Christ’s emptying (2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 2:7), through His entrance to the world as a helpless babe (John 1), through Him being made poor and needy that we receive the Triune glory.  Just as David’s deliverer is Christ, so Christ’s deliverer as He hung on the cross to complete the work commenced before creation (Revelation 13:8). 

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Book 1 – Psalm 40 of 41: the Christ waits for the Father

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