Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.(Psalm 40:6-8)
The Psalms of the Bible, can only be fully appreciated when one realizes that they are the prayers not only of Israel, but of Israel’s Messiah. The Messiah is in the psalms, he is predicted there, his prayers, worship, thoughts, hopes, are recorded in this prayer-book of the church and of Israel.
In the Psalms, there are astonishing conversations recorded between the Father and the Son, which could only have occurred in eternity. Psalm 40 is one of those Messianic psalms. It is particularly apt to unpack some of its beauty and meaning, especially during Holy Week, as we ponder the love of God and the Divine willingness to give all for our salvation.
vs 1-2 I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.
The Psalm begins with a very familiar theme of many of the psalms, that of a righteous man suffering, but committing himself to God. This sufferer happens to be in a clay pit, crying out to God in whom he trusts, and who delivers him,setting his feet on solid ground.
Life in this sinful world is full of holes, pits that are miry, slippery , and in which the effort to extricate one’s self from them, serves only to deepen the pit and exhaust the one trapped. The ultimate miry pit is the grave.
vs 3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.
But God raised the righteous sufferer up out of the miry pit! The new song is the song of deliverance, and the testimony of this man’s deliverance will bring many into a saving faith in the Lord.
vs 4 Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.
Who is the truly blessed man? This is another constant theme of the psalms, the life and habits of the blessed man. The truly happy person is the one who puts his faith in the Lord, the covenant keeping God, the mighty deliverer from the miry pit.
Or to put it negatively, he turns his back on two common delusions,
* The false idea that the honor and praise of godless men is worth seeking. The truly happy man plays to an audience of one, he seeks to please God alone.
* The delusion that idols (vanities,pleasure, food, sex, entertainment,power.) can ever satisfy the heart. The blessed man knows that what he needs most of all, is communion with God.
vs 5 Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.
This blessed man is grateful, realizing that this God of deliverance is the personal God, a God who actually “thinks towards us”, a God of countless deliverances, interventions, providences and mercies, as well as His numerous thoughts and Words to us!
vs 6 Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.
These are the words of the pre-incarnate Messiah, to the Everlasting Father. They are discussing the desire and requirements of God, from men.
What does God really require? Indeed the God of deliverance has instituted an extensive sacrificial system, of meat, grain, fat and blood offerings. But what is His ultimate intention? Surely not the blood of bulls, goats, sheep and doves as a provision for sinful and estranged people.
God wants a human being who has never broken faith with Him. He desires one who has not shattered the Image of God by sinful, selfish living. God would have a person who truly spends all of his life “loving the Lord His God”, with all of his being, heart, soul, mind and strength.
“My ears You have opened”- Is literally, My ears you have digged, or have pierced. In the Law of God, a man who completes his term of servitude but who wants to remain in the employ of the family which hired him, would be required to have his ear pierced with an awl, as the symbol of “bond service”, that is willing, lifetime servitude.
* A Body thou hast prepared for me – Both the Septuagint and the book of Hebrews insert this phrase in the place of “My ears you have opened”. The pre-incarnate Messiah is saying, that God has prepared a body for Him to live out a perfectly pleasing human life. The Messiah would come as a man.
The Messiah offers himself to the Father, as the bondservant . He would live a human life unto God, He would wholly offer that life as a bond servant of God, he would meet the requirements of a Holy God for all of humanity as a suffering servant, even unto death.
verse 7 Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me,
The meaning of every book of the Bible, is Messiah. The law of Moses is really about the Messiah, the prophets looked forward to the Messiah, the sacrificial system points to the Messiah, the Psalms are the piety of the Messiah. The Bible cannot be understood without taking this into account. Jesus said,
Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.(John 5;39-40)
vs 8 I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.
Behold the man whom God desires, the willing bond servant, the one who lives to please and serve God! This is the one who came unto us in the flesh, to offer himself as the perfect sacrifice.