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You Have Given Me an Open Ear

1 March • Friday of the Second Week in Lent


Psalm 40:1-17

1 I waited patiently for the LORD;he inclined to me and heard my cry.

2 He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog,

and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.

3 He 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.


4 Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust,

who does not turn to the proud,to those who go astray after a lie!

5 You 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.

6 In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted, but you have given me an open ear.

Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required.

7 Then I said, “Behold, I have come;in the scroll of the book it is written of me:

8 I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.”


9 I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation;

behold, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O LORD.

10 I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart;I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;

I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation.


11 As for you, O LORD, you will not restrain your mercy from me;

your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me!

12 For evils have encompassed me beyond number;

my iniquities have overtaken me, and I cannot see;

they are more than the hairs of my head; my heart fails me.

13 Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me! O LORD, make haste to help me!

14 Let those be put to shame and disappointed altogether who seek to snatch away my life;

let those be turned back and brought to dishonor who delight in my hurt!

15 Let those be appalled because of their shame who say to me, “Aha, Aha!”


16 But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you;

may those who love your salvation say continually, “Great is the LORD!”

17 As for me, I am poor and needy,but the Lord takes thought for me.

You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God!

Meditation

 

Some people are compulsive braggers. They brag about their accomplishments, friendships with influential people, talents, travel experiences, family achievements, community involvement, and more. They’re just unstoppable—just like machine guns on auto!


In Psalm 40, we too hear relentless boasts flowing freely from the Psalmist’s lips. The words gushing out of him however do not stem from attention-seeking, insecurity, or narcissism. Instead, they are deeply rooted in his experience of God’s goodness and favour. As one undergoing deep crises in life, he waited for the Lord to intervene and subsequently experienced His mighty deliverance. For that reason, we hear him bragging over and over again about God’s goodness and saving power (vv.9-10).


But bragging words about God’s goodness to him are not the only words to be heard in the psalm. Alongside them, we also hear words uttering despairing pleas for help. The same lips that boast of God’s grace, also petition for protection against overpowering evil doers surrounding him as well as overwhelming as sin within him (v.12).

Interestingly, what we find sandwiched between the psalmist’s praises and petitions is an odd little insertion, a profound moment of reflection that shifts the psalmist’s focus from being active speaker and doer to being active listener (vv.6-8). This turn toward attuned listening and obedience captures a key lesson in the psalmist’s message—that pausing to listen to God’s voice should not be lost in the noise of our own words.


If our relationship with God is instinctively expressed through praise and petition, how much more must that relationship be cultivated and formed through the disciplines of active listening and obedience to His word! Has the noise of our hearts and voices crowded out the voice of God? Be still to listen and obey. We might discover that God’s best is yet to be when we spend time to do that well.


Prayer

 

Lord, give us hearts that look up to You in seasons of joy and pain. Through our joys and pains, may You help us to listen well and be deeply attuned to Your voice and will!


Action

 

Just like discerning meaning in movies can be done only if we watch the whole movie, so discerning meaning in Bible passages can be done only if we read whole bible books. Consider ways you can begin that journey of reading full length bible books to discern God’s instructions for believers today!.


Dr Calvin Chong

Professor (Practical Theology)

Singapore Bible College

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