Committed to Save
God’s commitment to his steadfast love, his covenant love, is foundational to the Christian life. Whatever our individual hearts bring to God, it is only His steadfast love that saves us. Thus it makes sense that God’s steadfast love should be central to our praises and our prayers.
We see an example of this in Psalm 40, which is one of several psalms that begins as a psalm of praise and thanksgiving and ends as a cry for help. The hinge on which this movement turns is in verse eleven: “As for you, O Lord, you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me!”
In the previous verses, the psalmist, David, details the reasons for and the extent of his praise to God. He describes waiting intently for God until He rescues David from a fatal situation (“the pit of destruction” v.2) and brings him to a place of security (“set my feet upon a rock” v.2).
David elaborates on how happy the man is who trusts in God and then states, “I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation.” This is significant to David. He repeats three more times that he has not restrained, hidden, or concealed God’s deliverance, faithfulness, or steadfast love from the congregation (vv.9-10).
His dedication to testimony is directly related to the Lord not restraining His mercy from David. More than that, this connection between God’s overflowing mercy and David’s overflowing praise is the catalyst for further dependence on God as he begins a lament over a new set of dire circumstances.
In verse 12, David shifts seamlessly to confessing, “my iniquities have overtaken me,” so much so that his “heart” has failed him. Furthermore, what is, perhaps, the same congregation that received David’s earlier testimony, now delights in his hurt.
It is for our benefit that David sees no contradiction in ending with a plea for God to deliver him a mere 15 verses after declaring that when he waited and waited, God delivered him. If God’s divine resolve to save David met him in the ups and downs, not only of his life, but of his individual prayers, we can be sure that same resolve is fixed on saving us in the midst of our own frailties, fears, and needs.