Grace and Gratitude
Psalm 40:1-17
I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined to me, and heard my cry.…

Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the Lord, look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged. So said the prophet (Isaiah 51:1), and it is good for us betimes to follow this counsel. It will not only teach us humility, but bind us more firmly in love and gratitude to God. It is the depth that proves the height. It is the misery that measures the mercy. It is by the utterness of the ruin that we realize the completeness of the restoration. It is by contemplating the gloom and horrors of the abyss into which we had sunk through sin, that we can best comprehend the wonders of the redemption wrought for us through Jesus Christ. The psalmist dwells upon two things.

I. WHAT GOD HAD DONE FOR HIS SERVANT. "Pit;" "clay." These images mark:

1. The greatness of the danger. The pit was "horrible," gloomy and terrible, the place of certain destruction if no help came (Genesis 37:24-27). The clay is called "retry," to indicate that there was no solidity - nothing but a foul, seething mass, where no rest could be found (Jeremiah 38:6).

2. The greatness of the deliverance. It was free - in God's time (ver. 1); complete (ver. 2); joy-inspiring (ver. 3); morally influential (ver. 4); prophetical, typifying and giving promise of many other "wonderful works" of God (ver. 5; cf. Paul, 1 Timothy 1:16). It should also be noticed that the deliverance was wrought out

(1) in harmony with eternal righteousness. King Darius was bent on saving Daniel from the den of lions, and "Laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him;" but in vain. The law was against him. The decree which he himself had established bound his hands. He could do nothing (Daniel 6:14-17). But the King of kings is a just God and a Saviour (Isaiah 42:21; Romans 3:25, 26). Also in harmony with man's freedom. there is a certain order in the method. Man can do nothing without God, but God will do nothing without man. We are made willing in the day of his power. First there is the cry; then the hearing; then the lifting up; then the setting upon the rock; then the new song and the new service, as the outflow and the expression of the new heart. "By grace are ye saved, through faith" (Ephesians 2:4-10; Romans 8:29, 30).

II. WHAT HIS SERVANT WOULD DO FOR GOD. "Wherewith shall I come before the Lord?" is the question of the prophet; and he gives the answer, "He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what cloth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" (Micah 6:6-8). The same great truth had been taught long before by Samuel, "Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice" (1 Samuel 15:22).

1. The sacrifice of the will. Without this all else is vain. There is death, not life; the letter, but not the spirit; the form of godliness, but not the power.

2. The obedience of the life. Whatever way we interpret the obscure phrase, "Mine ears hast thou opened," the meaning seems to be the free and complete surrender of the soul to God. The right disposition leads to the life-devotion (Romans 12:1; 2 Corinthians 5:14, 15).

3. The thanksgiving of the heart. Both privately and publicly, in our daffy life before God and before men, we are to serve in the spirit of love and joy. Amidst all the changes and chances of our mortal state, we should continue faithful to him who hath called us that we might show forth his praise. Thus we shall have part with these saints of God -

"Who carry music in their heart,
Through dusky lane and wrangling mart,
Plying their daily task with busier feet,
Because their secret souls a holy strain repeat? W.F.

Parallel Verses
KJV: {To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.} I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.

WEB: I waited patiently for Yahweh. He turned to me, and heard my cry.

Brought Up from the Horrible Pit
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