Gratitude and Prayer for Help

1For the leader. A psalm of David.


2Surely, I wait for the LORD;

who bends down to me and hears my cry,a

3Draws me up from the pit of destruction,

out of the muddy clay,b

Sets my feet upon rock,

steadies my steps,

4And puts a new song* in my mouth,c

a hymn to our God.

Many shall look on in fear

and they shall trust in the LORD.

5Blessed the man who sets

his security in the LORD,

who turns not to the arrogant

or to those who stray after falsehood.d

6You, yes you, O LORD, my God,

have done many wondrous deeds!

And in your plans for us

there is none to equal you.e

Should I wish to declare or tell them,

too many are they to recount.f

7*Sacrifice and offering you do not want;g

you opened my ears.

Holocaust and sin-offering you do not request;

8so I said, “See; I come

with an inscribed scroll written upon me.

9I delight to do your will, my God;

your law is in my inner being!”h

10When I sing of your righteousness

in a great assembly,

See, I do not restrain my lips;

as you, LORD, know.i

11I do not conceal your righteousness

within my heart;

I speak of your loyalty and your salvation.

I do not hide your mercy or faithfulness from a great assembly.

12LORD, may you not withhold

your compassion from me;

May your mercy and your faithfulness

continually protect me.j


13But evils surround me

until they cannot be counted.

My sins overtake me,

so that I can no longer see.

They are more numerous than the hairs of my head;

my courage fails me.k

14LORD, graciously rescue me!l

Come quickly to help me, LORD!

15May those who seek to destroy my life

be shamed and confounded.

Turn back in disgrace

those who desire my ruin.m

16Let those who say to me “Aha!”n

Be made desolate on account of their shame.

17While those who seek you

rejoice and be glad in you.

May those who long for your salvation

always say, “The LORD is great.”o

18Though I am afflicted and poor,

my Lord keeps me in mind.

You are my help and deliverer;

my God, do not delay!

* [Psalm 40] A thanksgiving (Ps 40:213) has been combined with a lament (Ps 40:1417) that appears also in Ps 70. The psalmist describes the rescue in spatial terms—being raised up from the swampy underworld to firm earth where one can praise God (Ps 40:24). All who trust God will experience like protection (Ps 40:56)! The Psalm stipulates the precise mode of thanksgiving: not animal sacrifice but open and enthusiastic proclamation of the salvation just experienced (Ps 40:711). A prayer for protection concludes (Ps 40:1217).

* [40:4] A new song: a song in response to the new action of God (cf. Ps 33:3; 96:1; 144:9; 149:1; Is 42:10). Giving thanks is not purely a human response but is itself a divine gift.

* [40:79] Obedience is better than sacrifice (cf. 1 Sm 15:22; Is 1:1020; Hos 6:6; Am 5:2225; Mi 6:68; Acts 7:4243 [quoting Am 5:2526]). Heb 10:59 quotes the somewhat different Greek version and interprets it as Christ’s self-oblation.

a. [40:2] Lam 3:25.

b. [40:3] Ps 28:1; 30:4; 69:3, 1516; 88:5; Prv 1:12; Jon 2:7.

c. [40:4] Ps 33:3.

d. [40:5] Ps 1:1; Prv 16:20; Jer 17:7.

e. [40:6] Ps 35:10.

f. [40:6] Ps 71:15; 139:1718.

g. [40:79] Heb 10:57; Ps 51:1819; Am 5:22; Hos 6:6; Is 1:1115.

h. [40:9] Ps 37:31.

i. [40:10] Ps 22:23; 26:12; 35:18; 149:1.

j. [40:12] Ps 89:34.

k. [40:13] Ps 38:5, 11; Ezr 9:6.

l. [40:1418] Ps 70:26; 71:12.

m. [40:15] Ps 35:4, 26.

n. [40:16] Ps 35:21, 25.

o. [40:17] Ps 35:27.

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