Delivered Out of the Miry Clay – Study of Psalm 40

psalm 40

Psalm 40

Psalm that is very personal to me, as the first five verses Daniel memorized and recited the day he proposed to me

This Psalm was likely written after David defeated King Saul at Mount Gilboa (“Fountain of Boiling and Sudden Violence”)

So – I have been doing a study on Psalm 40 – when Daniel proposed to me a little over 8 years ago, he had memorized the first five verses. Honestly, at the time, I did not understand why, and for some reason, throughout the early years of our marriage, I would refer what he did with aggravation and anger. I truly didn’t get it at the time because I was still knee-deep in the miry clay. But the Holy Spirit brought me back to this Psalm last week, and I decided to look at it with a fresh heart and spirit – and boy, did it not only minister to me, but it also spoke volumes about what we have been through over the past 8 years, and the deliverance we have experienced both as individuals and as a family. I thought I would share what I have learned about the Psalm thus far in my study. I started by taking the first five verses and looking each word up in my concordance. To my surprise, each one had  great depth of meaning, and I decided to use all the meanings I found and rewrite the verses as a prayer of praise, with the multiple Hebrew meanings  interlaced….and this is what I came up with – an beautiful prayer of praise for deliverance – hopefully it will bless and encourage someone who might be facing difficult circumstances:

My Hebrew Interpretation of Psalm 40 – Prayer of Thanksgiving for Deliverance

I tarried and looked for My Yahweh, the One Who has always existed and the One Who causes me to exist. And He, My Yahweh, turned His head, bowed His ear, stretched forth His hand and extended it toward me, as He discerned my voice and carefully hearkened to my cry. (verse 1)

My Yahweh, withdrew me from the waste of my desolation and pomp; He recovered me from the tumultuous dungeon, which He used to stir me up as an offering – to perfect me and to cause me to honor Him. He increased me in that rushing fountain, out of the sediment of the swamp and mud that bogged me down and embarrassed me. My Yahweh established my steps as He helped me up. He made my path sure. He restored my walk. He ordained me to surely accomplish His will. He made good – every private part of me and made Himself my Stability and Protection, my Faithfulness, my Rock, my Fortress, and My Stronghold. He was steadfast and firm as He secured my steps, which He prepared and set in place for me – fashioning each one before I ever took it. He made provision for my journey and tarried with me along the way as He continually ordained my tracks. (verse 2)

My Yahweh dedicated me to Himself. He delivered me for His use. He suffered patiently with me and appointed a new song to my  mouth. He ascribed new music for my lips. He applied Spirit to my melody and caused me to utter a song of praise unto my Great and Powerful Judge. Everyone will take heed and enjoy the work God has done in me. They will consider His great power and realize His awesome wonder. They will be frightened by His majesty; they will be intimidated by His holiness. They will honor Him as His righteousness causes them to stumble over themselves and fall to the ground once they realize that they must rely and place their confidence on My Yahweh and My Yahweh alone. (verse 3)

The strong and mighty man that establishes Himself on Yahweh and determines to commit to His plan and purpose – every man who rehearses God’s Word and allows God’s care to preserve him – will reap of the favorable kind acts and joy of God, Who is our Hope and  Security. The man who shows no regard for the defiant ones nor who is delusioned or turns aside to false gods will find God’s joy and happiness as a result. (verse 4)

Yahweh, Your astounding wonders are numerous. They are hidden in Your Word, as It is fulfilled in my life. They are exceedingly hard for me to consider because You have used each work to squeeze and caress me into Your likeness. You have spent Yourself on me. You have maintained me with Your grace and mercy. You have occupied me with Your Son. You have appointed me to Your priesthood. With Your children, Your purposes are so cunningly designed – even if we tried, we could not put them in order for ourselves. Your scheme is so far beyond our comprehension; we cannot place a value upon them that would be worthy of a sum. The plot You are directing for Your children cannot be compared to anything we know in the tangible arenas of our lives. If we tried to plainly utter each of Thy works, we would miserably fail to publish them all – for we could not report or rehearse all that You have done.  No census could contain them; there is no way they can be counted. (verse 5)

A Five-fold Psalm

  1. of personal thanksgiving to God for delivering David from King Saul at Mt. Gilboa and a  declaration of God’s goodness to His children who wait upon Him patiently
  2. a prophecy fulfilled through Jesus, the Messiah
  3. a hope for those that choose Christ as their dwelling place in which they tarry for His promises
  4. a promise of Jesus’ triumphal return
  5. a personal prophetic word spoken over me when Daniel proposed – a promise of deliverance from our marital “Mount Gilboa” and a blessing upon our relationship as we learned to cry out to God and trust Him as a couple

This Psalm is a testimony of a God, Who is powerful enough to help the most weak of His children and Who offers enough grace and mercy to help those who are most unworthy. At any point in David’s life, he could be described either way. Yet this Psalm testifies of God’s faithful deliverance for those of His children who will never regret their choice to tarry.

  My Study of the First Two Verses

Verse 1:

This powerful prophetic verse points to the tabernacle God would provide for us through Jesus Christ. This prayer, reminiscent of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, where God inclined His ears toward Jesus’ midnight prayers, as the Messiah would soon patiently bear the crown of agony as He died upon the cross – allowing all to glean from the truths of this Psalm. Just as Jesus would soon cry out only to His Father alone for help, David understood that waiting on a mortal man would be futile and useless. David understood that God’s mercy would be found in David’s own weakness and inability to rescue himself. David’s expression of waiting in verse one is underscored with repetition, as “waited patiently” is in Hebrew “qavah, qavah” – distinctly defined as a cry for help, reflecting that David’s wait was not an easy one; yet, David’s only anxiety was the suspense he felt waiting on promised redemption through the Lord.

Interestingly enough, the word ‘inclined” is Hebrew for “natah,” which in Genesis 12:8 is the same verb  used to refer to Abraham “pitching a tent” for safety on a mountain just east of Bethel, while traveling in obedience to God toward the Promised Land of Canaan. This word “natah” is also the Greek verb used in John 1:14, where Jesus is describe as “dwelling” among us as a tabernacle or tent of safety where we can behold His glory and reap His grace and truth.  Meaning, as God inclined to David’s cry for help, God literally listened with attention and interest and pitched a tent of safety for David to dwell in as he waited for Saul’s defeat.

Personal Application – Our Father loves to answer childlike prayers from the man who looks to Him when troubles arise. Although human nature is to look to our friends and loved ones for help, God wants to be the first One we look to for deliverance. God considers it to be a beautiful thing when we humbly cry out to Him as our Papa. God wants us to be like David, who trusted that every tear, which graced his face, would be secured and unwasted, and journaled in a bottle, where God would never forget a one that fell (Psalm 56:8) In times where it seems God is silent, He wants us to tarry and wait intently, with expectancy upon Him, the God who knows no boundaries – no deadlines – but is always right on time. He wants us humble and hopeful, waiting in constancy, guarding ourselves from unbelief, while He secretly begins His execution of our safety and deliverance. God wants us hungry and thirsty for His help and His alone. Just like David, who panted for the Lord like a deer panteth for the water (Psalms 42:1-2). God has provided us shelter throughout our wait, Jesus Christ, our living tabernacle, our tent of refuge and strength.  As surely as God delivered David from Saul, with as much certainty as He inclined His ear to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and delivered Him from the grave, God will answer those who patiently wait for Him.

Other promises for those who wait – (Genesis 49:18, Psalm 25:3, Psalm 25:5, Psalm 27:14, Psalm 34:15, Psalm 37:7, Psalm 116:2, Psalm 130:5)


Verse 2:

Here, we find a fitting allusion to the deep swampy waters where our lives are almost overcome by tumultuous desolation – situations that do not easily let go of us – similar to that of a sticky clay which bogs the body down. David presents his situation as one that has overwhelmed him – one where his calamities have overcome him in such a way that it seemed almost impossible for him to be delivered – certainly he had been humbled enough to recognize there was nothing he could do in himself. David realized he was in a horrible hole, where oftentimes this is symbolized in Scripture as the pit of death – a terrible situation that is threatening David’s life. Yet, in the middle of this situation, David suddenly realizes that God has literally “brought him up” (‘alah’). Notice that God did all the action in this verse, as He reached down from Heaven and set David on a rock, where David would soon recognize with what great grace he had been delivered. David’s fears were quieted; his spirit was stilled; his  mind was overcome by great peace. In an instant, the entire atmosphere changed – the location transitioned from muddy waters to a firm rock where his feet would be purposed to walk an established and straightened path that had already been planned and perfected for him – one that would greatly impact the nation of Israel and directly lead to the entrance of the Savior of all mankind.

Here, a prophetic foretelling of how Jesus Christ would one day bare the terrible curse of death, when our sins were strapped to His innocent back, as He willingly sacrificed His life on the cross. Here, we find a picture of the tumultuous wave of death that took Jesus into a desolate pit on our behalf. For the mercy of His children, Jesus graciously would experience great suffering, but with sudden triumph, the King of Kings would be rescued by His Father, from the pit, and He would be established as our constant firm Foundation. He would experience the ugliest and darkest pit of sorrow and death; yet, He would conquer this miry grave and soon be elevated as Lord of Lords – the Everlasting Rock.

Personal Application – With great certainty, God has already guaranteed every Believer deliverance form the miry pit of sin and death. Because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and the gift of this resurrected Savior, our Rock has been eternally established. Because Jesus has already finished the work, the child of God can be encouraged that Jesus is now our firm Foundation. No matter how deep the pit we find ourselves enslaved within, Jesus is more than able to save us to the uttermost. His mercy completes us and sets us upon a Rock, where our feet can stand firm, and our fears are quelled by the hopes of Heaven.

What horrible pit do you find yourself in? Addiction? Adultery? Fornication? Perversion? Abuse? Bitterness? Disease? Christ is your certain Deliverance; He is the Rock upon Who you should stand. He is more than able to mercifully rescue you, to lift you up, and to establish your path. Do not be tempted to foolishly believe you might be able to rescue yourself from the dungeon. Only in your humble cry to the risen Savior will you find your way of escape. Wait intently on God alone. Actively cry out for His rescue and deliverance. Patiently recall to your remembrance the affliction of Jesus and the encouragement of His resurrection and promise. Get into God’s Word and tarry in obedience, trusting Him to deliver you while you seek Him and while you rejoice in Him.

Promises during the wait – (Psalm 7:9, Psalm 18:16-29, Psalm 26:12, Psalm 27:5, Psalm 37:23, Psalm 69:2-14, Psalm 71:20, Psalm 86:23, Psalm 119:5, Matthew 7:24-25, Acts 2:24-31)







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