Monday, July 8.  Psalm 40:1-2      English Standard Version ESV

1I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry.  2He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure

The first lesson from Psalm 40 is David saying he waited ‘patiently’ for the Lord.  In truth, how many of us would confess that we wait ‘impatiently’ for the Lord.  Yet, knowing that God’s timing is always perfect, a patient wait works to deepen our faith, a value equal to that of our answered prayers.  The encouraging image we get is God bending down, getting close, and focusing His attention on us and our cries /prayers, individually and collectively.  The Psalm tells us that the Lord delivered David from his present crisis and set him in a much better and more secure place.  Based on a faith that knows God hears our prayers and works all things for the good of those that love him, our deliverance begins even before we see any material evidence.  We can know that the Lord has already ‘set plans in motion’ to extract us from the pit of destruction, from whatever miry bog we find ourselves in. And this faith, this ‘knowing’, becomes a rock we can set our feet upon, that makes our steps secure.

Tuesday, July 9,   Psalm 40: 3

3He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.  Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.

Authoring many of the Psalms, David was a talented song writer.  That his deliverance and spontaneous praise took the form of a new song recognizing the gloriousness of God was fitting.  If even the rocks would sing out in praise, (Luke 19: 40) how much easier for us to do so when we recognize and grasp the love of God and what He has done for us.  Each time we think of this a new song might find its way into our mouths.  Another benefit of David waiting patiently for the Lord is that his deliverance and new song of praise is witnessed by those around David and is an effective testimony that trust in the Lord is not misplaced.  So too, faith lived out in our lives should be a testimony to those around us that patient trust in the Lord, who will hear and deliver us, and set our feet upon a rock, making our steps secure, is not in vain.

Wednesday, July 10,  Psalm  40: 4-5

 4Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie!  5You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told.  

David is speaking not from second-hand hearing but from personal experience.  He trusted and waited patiently for the Lord and was delivered from ‘the pit of destruction’.  “Lies” or false gods may appear to offer an easier path, a quicker extraction from our ‘miry bog’.  But David sings to us that with trust in the Lord, no outward afflictions can prevent us from being numbered among the blessed.  Next, David is letting us know that he has had his mind blown!  Thinking of God and all His wondrous deeds and gracious thoughts toward us drives David to proclaim of them, yet he confesses that they are more than can be told.  The fuse of this mind explosion was sparked in an earlier Psalm (Psalm 8:4) where David wonders, “What is man that Thou art mindful of him?” This same contemplation continues to leave us awe struck, and has led to other “psalms”, e.g., “Oh Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder, consider all the worlds thy hands have made.  I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, thy power throughout the universe displayed.  Then sings my soul, my Savior God to thee, how great Thou art, how great Thou art.” 

Thursday, July 11   Psalm 40: 6-8   

6 Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; My ears You have opened.  Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require.  7Then I said, “Behold, I come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me.  8I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law is within my heart.” 

These verses are about obedience.  More than sacrifices, God desires obedient, willing servants.  These lines remind me of a talk I had with my children.  No, not “that” talk, but a truthful, ‘let me tell you how this can work’ story of parental love.  It went something like this: ‘We are your parents and we love you and we want to give you all good things.  All we ask is that you obey us and say thank you every now and then.  Do that and we are eager to keep giving you more, because we love you.’  If as parents we know that to be true, imagine how much more our Heavenly Father is eager to give us good things, if we but obey what he says and say thank you.

Friday, July 12    Psalm 40: 9-10   

 9 I have proclaimed the good news of righteousness in the great assembly; Indeed, I do not restrain my lips, O Lord, You Yourself know. 10I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart; I have declared Your faithfulness and Your salvation; I have not concealed Your loving kindness and Your truth from the great assembly.    

David made sure that the new song and praise that came from his deliverance was played on all the radio stations in his kingdom!  Although human and susceptible to mistakes and missteps, the righteousness of God was evident in David’s words and actions and had a direct connection to how he lived his life.  Can we say the same?  These verses speak of David proclaiming God’s faithfulness and salvation to the people.  Yet, in a larger sense, these verses foreshadow a more perfect fulfillment in Jesus.  Reread today’s and Thursday’s verses with Jesus rather than David as the protagonist. 

Saturday, July 13   Luke 17:11    

11On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee.  12And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance 13and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.”  14When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.”  And as they went, they were cleansed.  15Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; 16and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks.  Now he was a Samaritan. 17Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed?  Where are the nine?  18Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”  19And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”

The Gospels repeatedly employ a Samaritan character to convey that although the Jews were God’s chosen people, God’s message of salvation was for all peoples and, that rote, ritual religion missed the mark. Here, the one that came back was a Samaritan, leaving the impression that the others were Jews.  The Jews knew the law, which was a blessing to them, but could miss the spirit of the law, could miss that the grace and peace and joy of the Lord was meant for them, each one individually.  The one that turned back, praised God with a loud voice.  This harkens us to King David proclaiming the good news of righteousness in the great assembly.  King David who danced with unbounded joy in front of the great assembly.  And King David was a man after God’s own heart.  It would appear God enjoys authentic, unfiltered expressions of joy, of thankfulness and of gratitude for the gifts He is eager to give us.