A Psalm of David (Psalm 40)

Scripture Text:

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Psalm 40

Questions:

1. As a child, what “big deal” do you remember waiting for Dad to do with you or for you? How did you feel when the planned event actually happened?

2. Are you good at waiting? How long do you wait before giving up?

3. Compare the first and last verses of this psalm. What subtitle would you give the first half of the psalm (verses 1 – 10)? The last half? Why the two moods?

4. From what “slimy pit” has the psalmist been rescued: Sickness? Sin? Peril? Does it matter?

5. What sacrifice does God desire (verses 6 – 8)? Why does God command burnt offerings? What is David referring to as “your law”?

6. How do you account for David’s recurring problems? For David’s renewed waiting? Wherein lies his hope?

7. When God seems to take too long to help you, what “false gods” offer tempting alternative solutions? What happened the last time you relied on one of those gods?

8. What in your life feels like a “slimy pit”? Where are you in relation to it?

  • knee-deep
  • waist-deep
  • one foot out
  • standing up to it

9. Which helps you most with present troubles: Remembering God’s actions in the past? Or claiming God’s promises for the future? Why?

10. The New Testament puts verses 6 – 8 into the mouth of Jesus (see Hebrews 10:5 – 9). Do you see any other foreshadowing of Jesus in this psalm?

11. What sacrifice does God require from you?

12. Which is the greater pressure on you now: The external opposition of others? Or the internal weight of your sin? What from this psalm most helps you in dealing with this pressure?

Additional Comment:

While the Old Testament law prescribed grain and animal sacrifices to deal with the problem of sin, Old Testament writers made it clear that God really wanted obedient lives, not ritual performances. As I noted above, Hebrews 10:5 – 9 quotes Psalm 40:6 – 8 in explaining that Jesus’ sacrifice made all the animal and grain sacrifices obsolete. Only Jesus’ sacrifice has the power to actually forgive sins and change lives.

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