The Uncommon Faith
Psalm 40:17
But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinks on me: you are my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God.

The two parts of the text form an antithesis of the most divergent contrast. The order in which they stand invests them with considerable attractiveness; at least the interest with which we may now take them up is not a little enhanced on this account.


1. It is a very becoming confession. From a moral or spiritual point of view, we are, indeed, as poor as poverty itself.

2. This confession should therefore be unaffectedly veracious and sincere. Can it be either desirable or reasonable that we should do anything by way of making ourselves out to be poor and needy, except as we really are so?

3. It is only as the effect of a gracious operation of the Spirit that the confession of the text is ever candidly or cordially made. Hence it is easy to understand how this humble confession should be accompanied, as here it is, by so confident a persuasion. If the Spirit is at work within you, showing you what you really are, discovering your exigencies to the discernment of your individual consciousness, He at the same time discovers the means of supplying these exigencies, and the absolute infinitude of resource to provide the whole of that supply.


1. That it is a warrantable persuasion may be easily enough proved. For, if the Lord makes any poor and needy, He is certainly thinking of them, the dispensation itself shows that He is doing so. Besides, is it nothing to the shepherd of a flock that one of his sheep has wandered, though it be even the least and the weakest of a hundred in a fold, will he not leave the ninety and nine, and search after it alone?

2. It must also be very readily admitted that this persuasion is one which is fraught with unspeakable comfort and consolation. "Yet the Lord thinketh upon me." It takes us back to the Divine constitution of the covenant of the rainbow (Genesis 9:16). Oh, the sweetness, the perfect deliciousness, to taste of faith in this, "And I will look upon it." "Yet the Lord thinketh upon me."

3. Hence, in every way this is also a most satisfying persuasion. To say, "Yet the Lord thinketh upon me," may not appear to be saying much. In a sense it may be saying very little. The utterance occurs in another psalm — "I hate vain thoughts," that is, thoughts which do not go beyond themselves, which dissipate themselves in waste, never embodying themselves in living form, in substantial action — thoughts which are inoperative, unprofitable. But the Lord's thoughts are never "vain," unproductive, empty; they are invariably sovereign, invincible, almighty.

(E. A Thomson.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God.

WEB: But I am poor and needy. May the Lord think about me. You are my help and my deliverer. Don't delay, my God. For the Chief Musician. A Psalm by David.

The Greatness and Frailty of Human Nature
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