Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Understanding God Changes Life

Psalm 40

I. Believers Get the Good Life

A. When David exercised patience God heard
his problems; David displayed the messianic
longing of believers. "To the chief Musician, A
Psalm of David. I waited patiently for the LORD;
and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry."
(Psalm 40:1) "Afterward shall the children of
Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and
David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his
goodness in the latter days." (Hosea 3:5)

B. God took David from disaster to
strength. "He brought me up also out of an
horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my
feet upon a rock, and established my goings."
(Psalm 40:2) "Men and brethren, let me freely
speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is
both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us
unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and
knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him,
that of the fruit of his loins, according to the
flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his
throne; He seeing this before spake of the
resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left
in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption."
(Acts 2:29-31)

C. When God took charge of David's life,
David stopped singing the ancient blues and began
to sing with new joy; the song was new to David
but not to the people of God. "And he hath put a
new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God:
many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in
the LORD." (Psalm 40:3)

D. Ultimately, happiness is reserved for
people who trust God and see His incalculable
influence everywhere. "Blessed is that man that
maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the
proud, nor such as turn aside to lies. Many, O
LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou
hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward:
they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if
I would declare and speak of them, they are more
than can be numbered." (Psalm 40:4-5) "It is
better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence
in man. It is better to trust in the LORD than to
put confidence in princes." (Psalm 118:8-9)

II. God Focuses on the Heart

A. Changed inner life is more important to
God than repairing sin's damage. "Sacrifice and
offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast
thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast
thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: in
the volume of the book it is written of me, I
delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is
within my heart." (Psalm 40:6-8)

B. The evidence of David's transformation
is the new emphasis on promoting holiness. "I
have preached righteousness in the great
congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O
LORD, thou knowest. I have not hid thy
righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy
faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not
concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from
the great congregation." (Psalm 40:9-10)

C. God's lovingkindness is the ultimate
defense for Christians. "Withhold not thou thy
tender mercies from me, O LORD: let thy
lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve
me." (Psalm 40:11)

III. New Concerns Fill Believers

A. People who have encountered God see the
sin and shadow in everything else. "For
innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine
iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am
not able to look up; they are more than the hairs
of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me."
(Psalm 40:12) cf Calvin's Institutes of the
Christian Religion

Calvin said, "Each of us must, then, be so
stung by the consciousness of his own unhappiness
as to attain at least some knowledge of God.
Thus, from the feeling of our own ignorance,
vanity, poverty, infirmity, and - what is more -
depravity and corruption, we recognize that the
true light of wisdom, sound virtue, full abundance
of every good, and purity of righteousness rest in
the Lord alone."

B. Believers trust God for their
salvation. "Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me: O
LORD, make haste to help me." (Psalm 40:13)

C. Christians turn over their enemies to
God; the struggle becomes spiritual. "Let them be
ashamed and confounded together that seek after my
soul to destroy it; let them be driven backward
and put to shame that wish me evil. Let them be
desolate for a reward of their shame that say unto
me, Aha, aha." (Psalm 40:14-15)

D. The new focus in life becomes God;
spreading the gospel becomes a dominant interest.
"Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad
in thee: let such as love thy salvation say
continually, The LORD be magnified." (Psalm

E. The knowledge of God utterly transforms
the understanding of humanity. "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." (Psalm 40:17)

1. God is the context for all things. "For in him
we live, and move, and have our being; as certain
also of your own poets have said, For we are also
his offspring." (Acts 17:28)

2. The grace of God becomes essential to all
experience and true understanding. "For ye know
the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though
he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor,
that ye through his poverty might be rich." (2
Corinthians 8:9)

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