David opens Psalm 39 with a series of requests to God. He asks for his days to be measured, and to know what his end will be. He ends the first section with “Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor.” He goes on to describe life as a shadow, and points out that riches gathered by men will be gathered by another. In the midst of this hopeless talk, David then turns his attention to the Lord’s faithfulness. He says that his hope is in the Lord. He acknowledges that God rebukes and chastens men in their iniquity, and submits himself before God in prayer.
Psalm 40 is David’s ode to the Lord’s faithfulness to hear and answer prayer. It begins with a well-known passage:
1 I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me,
And heard my cry.
2 He also brought me up out of a horrible pit,
Out of the miry clay,
And set my feet upon a rock,
And established my steps.
3 He has put a new song in my mouth—
Praise to our God;
Many will see it and fear,
And will trust in the Lord.
He extols the Lord’s just ways and His wonderful works, His deep thoughts and numerous words of wisdom. He then begins to speak of God’s lack of desire for sacrifices and His desire for obedience. David professes his faithfulness to speak God’s praises and His faithfulness, and then finishes the psalm with a prayer for deliverance from his enemies. The last passage of the psalm sums up the praise and petition nature of David’s writing:
16 Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You;
Let such as love Your salvation say continually,
“The Lord be magnified!”
17 But I am poor and needy;
Yet the Lord thinks upon me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
Do not delay, O my God.
David here continues his rollercoaster of emotions, exhibiting his utmost confidence in the Lord, while requesting deliverance from his enemies. The tone of these two psalms is more hopeful that some of his writings, but still we are looking at a man under siege. He is desperate, and in need of deliverance from his enemies. Yet, again, in the midst of his anguish and peril, David lifts up the Lord as the only source of help and strength to Whom he can appeal. God is his source of help, his source of strength. Look unto the Lord and live!