Psalm 40 - Thanksgiving and Supplication




[New International Version] Psalm 40 belongs to Book I of the Book of Psalms. The Psalmist speaks of his pains and affirms that he is confident in God’s help. “You are my help and my deliverance.”

The PS 40 belong to Book I of the Book of PS composed of a collection of texts 150 arranged by 5 poetry books. The Book of Psalms, for its wisdom and basic principles of human action , is considered the heart of the Old Testament. Book I encompasses Psalms 1 to 41 . The PS 40 is divided into 18 verses.

The Psalms are poems-prayers addressed to God, being the privileged way to address and speak to Him. These prayers represent human experiences and religious conscience . They portray the common man , with his faults, insecurities, fears and hopes and, even today, we can identify with the Psalmist and draw inspiration from these texts to pray and plead with God when we feel lost and anguished or to express our gratitude for some blessing received.

“There are enemies or friends, there is life or death, health or illness, pain or joy and, most of the time, there are no changes or gradations. Words are like stones and poetry like boulders carved by chisel”; “The Psalms are a bit like mountain paths, simple, especially when walking on snow, but they lead to the peaks; they are paths toward the peaks of meeting the Lord.” - Carlo Maria Martini, Cardinal of Milan

Psalm 40 - Thanksgiving and Supplication

1  To the director. From David. Psalm .

2  I cried aloud to the Lord;
He leaned towards me and heard my cry.

3  He took me out of the fatal pit and out of a pool of mud;
placed my feet on a boulder
and steadied my steps.

4  He has put in my mouth a new song,
a song of praise to our God.

Seeing this, many will feel fear of God
and will put their trust in the Lord.

5  Happy is the man who has put his safety in the Lord,
and has not turned to idolaters,
who go astray in lies.

6  Great things You have done, Lord my God;
with your wonders and designs on our behalf,
no one can compare to you.

I would like to announce and proclaim them,
but there are so many that cannot be counted.

7 You were  not pleased with sacrifices or oblations,
but you formed an ear for me to listen,
and you did not ask for burnt offerings or victims for sin.

8  Then I exclaimed, “Here I am!”
It is for me what is written in the book.

9  Doing your will, O my God, is what I want;
and your law is within my heart.

10 I  proclaimed justice in the great assembly;
You well know, O Lord,
that I didn’t keep my mouth shut.

11  I did not hide your righteousness in the depths of my heart;
I have proclaimed your faithfulness and salvation.

I did not deny your mercy and your loyalty
before the great assembly.

12  Do not refuse me, O Lord, your compassion;
may your mercy and your loyalty always protect me.

13  For untold misfortunes have come upon me,
My faults have beset me, and I cannot even see;

they are more than the hairs on my head,
and my heart is failing.

14  Lord, deign to deliver me;
come quickly to my aid, O Lord.

15  Let
those who seek to take my life be covered with shame and ignominy.

Back off and blush with shame
those who wish my disgrace.

16  Let
those who mock me be desolate because of their shame.

17  Let all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you;
and those who desire your salvation always say:
“The Lord is great!”

18  But I, who am poor and destitute,
the Lord cares for me.

You are my help and my release.
Oh my God, don’t be late!

Meaning and interpretation

The Psalm 40 is a single prayer of thanksgiving . The confidence with which he asks for help with the problems he faces (Verses 13-18) is essentially based on the gratitude he feels for other help received from God in times past (Verses 2-12).

The final part of the Psalm (Verses 14-18) appears as the complete text of another Psalm, with the number 70 . The pit and quagmire metaphors are traditionally equivalents to the realm of the dead . On the other hand, the rock is the place of rescue and salvation , avoiding drowning.

Verses 7-9 of this Psalm express a hierarchy of religious values in which the merits of good behavior are ranked above those expressed through liturgical ritual.

The Psalms of Praise are hymns addressed, above all, to God. In this sense, the Bible continues the liturgical literature of neighboring and previous religions, where hymns are the most common way for people to address the divinity , especially in contexts of greater solemnity.

These Psalms were of great importance in the lives of biblical heroes. The preaching of the word of the prophets or the teaching of wisdom reflection appears closely linked to the cultural action of the people of Israel. They express, in a solemn and simple way , the believer’s recognition of the efficacious presence of God who saves his people, for he is mercy that lasts forever; it is a refuge from the dangers of life; it is joy and joy; it is prosperity that feeds its people; it is light in times of darkness and salvation on Earth and in eternal life.

The texts of the Book of Psalms oscillate between shout and praise, supplication and joy. Perhaps its authors understood that Man can only express his supplications, laments or thirst for revenge before God, if he is immersed in the spirit of praise that sings life stronger than death . Perhaps, beyond the scream, the lament or the anger, they realized that what moves these words is nothing but that life force that explodes in praise when it comes out of violence or when it goes through death.

These hymns narrate, thus, the greatness or improvements and the thanks that flow from it. Examples of this are Ps 8; 19; 28; 33; 47; 65-66; 93; 96-100; 104-105; 111; 113; 117; 135; 146; 148-150. Hymns can also be addressed to the king , focusing especially on the ceremony of royal enthronement, with every expectation of divine intervention for the well-being of the people and the just ordering of the world . In this case, the Psalms were performed at court parties, in the presence of the king, in celebrations for victory over enemies, among others. Some examples are Psalm 2; 18; 20; 21; 27; 51; 60; 61.

With the end of the monarchy, these Psalms were accentuating the messianic connotations , which already had implicit. This is the case of Psalm 2; 18; 20-21; 45; 72; 89; 101; 110; 132; 144. The Psalms celebrating Jerusalem, which with the temple have a special connection to God, are also considered hymns. These are Ps 46; 48; 76; 84; 87; 122.

The Book of Psalms

The Joy and Happiness of the Righteous in Communion with God

The Psalms are prayer-poems addressed to God, being the privileged way to address and speak with Him. Depicting the common man , with his failures, insecurities, fears and hopes, we can still identify with the Psalmist and be inspired today in Psalms to make prayers and supplications to God in times of trouble or express our gratitude for some blessing received.

The Psalms, despite being written in Antiquity, still move , sensitize , awaken feelings , inspire and enchant . In them, we can identify anguish and joy , deeply human feelings, praises, supplications, teachings of reflection on spiritual wisdom and prophetic words.

Written for different situations , some Psalms are intimate, revealing the author’s personal relationship with God; others provide guidelines and advice for life, others are compositions for specific liturgical events such as rituals and pilgrimages.

The Book of Psalms is composed of a collection of 150 poetic texts and is divided into five parts, called Psalm Books or Booklets. Each Book closes with short hymns of praise to God . The division into five parts was considered to correspond to the five books of Moses and it is assumed that each passage in the Pentateuch (first five books of the Bible, called Torah by the Jews) was read in parallel with the corresponding Psalm. Its main forms are lamentation , supplication , praise and gratitude .

The Power of Prayer in Dialogue with the Divine

The Psalms elevate our thoughts to the Divine and prayer is the power of the word . Prayer is the language of faith. Any thought, word or image addressed to God is called prayer . It is through it that we come into contact with our God within and, therefore, it is so powerful in transforming life . Prayer can produce miracles , turn dreams into reality, give us hope for change , harmony and peace with ourselves and the world.

Each Psalm has an intention that helps us meditate and walk with our God . For many theologians, the Book of Psalms has a prophetic or messianic tone as its verses refer to the coming of Christ into the world of men to guide them through the uncertainty and doubts of Human existence.

The prayer has the power to call the Spiritual Universe full mode, honest, sincere, conscious, for the purpose of spiritual self-protection, family protection and those who are dear to us, to have peace of mind, spiritual and physical, for prosperity and success, to protect health and relationships, to ward off negative energies and, above all, to connect us to something bigger than ourselves. From this peace , well-being, hope and goodness in front of everyone and everything result.

The faith can change our lives. It gives us tranquility and spiritual strength to face challenges. It helps us to meditate on our mission in life and to create a balanced and healthy environment for ourselves and those we love. When you pray, fill your heart with love and determination . The Psalms will guide you on a path of peace and communion with the higher energy .