What Does Psalm 40:1 Mean?

I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me and heard my cry.

Psalm 40:1(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

This beautiful Psalm of David is a joyful proclamation to Israel of what the Lord has provided for him personally. It is a great reminder of all that God has done for the nation of Israel historically and it announces ALL that God means to us collectively.

It is a wonderful example of the way that God carries out His plans and purposes in each of our lives. He does this in His own way and in His preferred time. He does this in order to develop our faith in His Word and to enlarge our trust in His never-failing goodness and grace.

For multiplied centuries, we have discovered the unfolding of God's unchanging character, His gracious plan of redemption, and His faithfulness to His chosen people, Israel. God has promised in His Word to be an ever-present help in times of trouble and to work all circumstances of life together for the good of those that love Him with all their heart, fit in with His plan, and do not lean on their own understanding.

We have His promised assurance that His help will come at the right time. He does not provide His help too soon, for this would not allow the necessary time to build up our faith in Him or deepen our trust in His never-failing Word. However, we are also assured that His help will never be too slow, so that we start to lose heart or become discouraged.

But this is not only a Psalm that has helped countless generations of men and women to develop their trust in the Lord and increase their faith in His Word. It is a Messianic Psalm that, from beginning to end, casts a shadow on the passion of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

The first few verses make various references to Christ's glorious Resurrection while the later verses make mention of the sacrificial offering of Himself on our account... which God will not despise.

For nine hours, Christ hung on the Cross as the unique sacrifice for the sin of the whole world. Three of those bitter hours were shrouded in a deep darkness that covered the entire earth. Earlier He had prayed, "if it is possible... take away this cup from Me. Nevertheless, not My will but Thine be done." Christ had no option but to drain the cup of suffering to its very dregs, for only the shed blood of the sinless Son of God - our perfect Kinsman-Redeemer - could pay the enormous price for the sin of the whole world.

It was during those three bitter hours on the Cross that God's only begotten Son took the brutal punishment for the sin of the whole world upon His own shoulders. The Father turned His face away from Him and the indwelling Holy Spirit departed as He was made sin - for US. And, as this Messianic Psalm discloses... Jesus waited patiently for the Lord.. and God inclined His ear, and He heard His prayer, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do - Father, into Your hands I commend My spirit." And Jesus died - according to the Scriptures. He was buried - according to the Scriptures, and He was raised on the third day - according to the Scriptures.

The Lord Jesus waited patiently on the Cross for His Father to hear and answer His prayer once the ransom price for sin had been paid in full. He waited patiently, together with the dying thief. "Today, You will be with me in paradise," was the precious promise Christ made to this repentant sinner who hung on a cross alongside our Saviour. 

And when the price for sin had been fully paid He cried, "it is finished," and, "gave up the ghost." For three days and three nights, Christ's body lay cold in the grave while His soul remained in the bowels of the earth.

And His soul waited patiently for three days in the depths of the earth for His prayer to be answered according to God's perfect will. 

Yes, this beautiful Psalm explains that Jesus waited patiently for the LORD, "I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to Me and heard My cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, And He set My feet upon a rock making My footsteps firm. He put a new song in My mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear. Many will trust in the Lord." Then we read, "Behold, I come - in the scroll of the book - it is written of me. I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart."

May we who have been saved by grace through faith in Christ, follow in the footsteps of our Saviour and wait patiently for the Lord, knowing that His plans and purposes are perfect... and that in due time He will incline His ear to our cry and graciously provide all we need, according to His riches in glory.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your precious promises to me and to all men, and thank You for Christ my Kinsman-Redeemer. Thank You for His perfect example of patience. Thank You for His long-suffering as He hung on the Cross and slept in the tomb, waiting for the Resurrection of His body. Thank You that having been forgiven of my sins, I too have no fear of death and hell. Give me patience to endure to the end, to Your praise and glory. This I pray in Jesus' name, AMEN.

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Psalm 40:1 Further Study

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