Psalms of Thanksgiving: Psalm 40

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Read Psalm 40

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.

I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
    out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
    and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
    and put their trust in him.

Blessed is the one
    who trusts in the Lord,
who does not look to the proud,
    to those who turn aside to false gods.
Many, Lord my God,
    are the wonders you have done,
    the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
    were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
    they would be too many to declare.

Sacrifice and offering you did not desire—
    but my ears you have opened—
    burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require.
Then I said, “Here I am, I have come—
    it is written about me in the scroll.
I desire to do your will, my God;
    your law is within my heart.”

I proclaim your saving acts in the great assembly;
    I do not seal my lips, Lord,
    as you know.
10 I do not hide your righteousness in my heart;
    I speak of your faithfulness and your saving help.
I do not conceal your love and your faithfulness
    from the great assembly.

11 Do not withhold your mercy from me, Lord;
    may your love and faithfulness always protect me.
12 For troubles without number surround me;
    my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see.
They are more than the hairs of my head,
    and my heart fails within me.
13 Be pleased to save me, Lord;
    come quickly, Lord, to help me.

14 May all who want to take my life
    be put to shame and confusion;
may all who desire my ruin
    be turned back in disgrace.
15 May those who say to me, “Aha! Aha!”
    be appalled at their own shame.
16 But may all who seek you
    rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who long for your saving help always say,
    “The Lord is great!”

17 But as for me, I am poor and needy;
    may the Lord think of me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
    you are my God, do not delay.

Go Deeper

We know with our heads that God is able to redeem the messy things in us, but we also know the battle in our hearts to really live out that belief. We want to fix ourselves, to heal our own brokenness, to get ourselves out of the messes we find ourselves in. Wouldn’t it be so much faster that way? And wouldn’t that give us the satisfaction of knowing we are strong, independent, and capable all on our own?

Today’s psalm of thanksgiving shows a much different approach. All throughout this chapter, David remembers his weakness and inability to save himself. While David is feeling overtaken by his sinfulness (v. 12), his response is to wait patiently for the Lord to save him. If you look at the actions of David compared to the actions of God described in this chapter, you will notice an important difference. God has lifted David from the pit, set his feet on firm ground, and protected and delivered him. David acknowledges his need, sees the work of God, then speaks of God’s faithfulness. God does the work and David responds with praise.

The healing of our hearts and our own sinfulness happens when we remember that we cannot do anything by our own power. We cannot heal or fix ourselves. We cannot earn our own forgiveness or salvation. On our own, we are powerless to overcome sin and brokenness. Those who long for God and for His saving help are the ones who will see His greatness (v. 16) because those are the people that are best positioned to see God move.

David knows this because he knows God’s heart – that we would acknowledge our complete dependence on God and that He would be glorified through our praise and faithfulness. He does not want our sacrifices. He wants our hearts and our praise. Isn’t that exactly what is at the heart of the gospel? While we were stuck in the mud and mire, God became flesh, took on our sin, died, and rose again to save and redeem us. When we acknowledge that we cannot do anything apart from God, only God can receive the glory. Then His name will be made great and His people will respond in praise. What a good God that His glory is also our greatest good.


  1. Where are you depending on your own strength or ability to bring healing, instead of moving toward God in prayer and relying on God’s power?
  2. Where can you offer praise to God today? What in your life, large or small, can you show gratitude for today?
  3. Who can you share with about God’s work in your life today?

By the Way

Psalm 40:6-8 is quoted in Hebrews 10:5-7 to remind us that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross has covered us once and for all. Jesus’ payment for our sins allows us to look to Christ instead of to ourselves for full forgiveness from our sins. We cannot earn what has been freely given to us, but we can respond by living faithfully and giving our praise to God.

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5 thoughts on “Psalms of Thanksgiving: Psalm 40”

  1. Ella Snodgrass

    The opening verse reassures us that God is actively involved in our lives. He turns, hears, lifts, sets, steadies, and gives—he not only sees but supplies every need as we are devoted to him in love and patiently wait upon him. He is worth the wait!

  2. Since trusting in God and shifting my mind to gratitude and praise for everything in my life the good the bad and the ugly and watching him turn all of it into my spiritual growth my whole life has been changing. I give everything to him and my anxiety has left me, my urges to sin have left me and I have a renewed spirit to further look at myself and how I can become more like Jesus. I’ve never been so excited to learn and immerse myself in him everyday. Thanksgiving was the first powerful gift from the Holy Spirit that started this whole shift in my life. People praise me for the change they see in me and honestly I say it’s not me, it’s Jesus in me. I could never have been doing the things I do today without him. Praise the Lord

    1. Diane Frances Rogers

      Praising God for the shift in your life. Going through the Re-gen program has renewed my heart to seeking Jesus in a deeper relationship and my shift/focus is led by His will for my life. His love for us is so BIG.

  3. Gratefulness=thankfulness=praise=joy=transformation
    Happy are those who trust the LORD, who do not turn to idols or join those who worship false gods. 5 You have done many things for us, O LORD our God; there is no one like you! You have made many wonderful plans for us. I could never speak of them all— their number is so great! Psalms 40:4-5 GNB
    Jesus had to wait and to be patient. That is a wow moment for me. That saying “to be paitent as Job” and the thought of Jesus having to wait on God. Praying, asking, waiting, receiveing eventually just like us.

    “The Savior’s prayers among the midnight mountains and in Gethsemane expound this verse. The Son of David was brought very low, but he rose to victory; and here he teaches us how to conduct our conflicts so as to succeed after the same glorious pattern of triumph. Let us arm ourselves with the same mind; and panoplied in patience, armed with prayer, and girt with faith, let us maintain the Holy War.” Charles Spurgeon
    God does not want us to continue in sin. We have to break the pattern. We have to practice the Way, be with Him, do what He did, to become like Him as much as possible minutely.
    Do not deceive yourselves by just listening to his word; instead, put it into practice. 23 If you listen to the word, but do not put it into practice you are like people who look in a mirror and see themselves as they are. 24 They take a good look at themselves and then go away and at once forget what they look like. 25 But if you look closely into the perfect law that sets people free, and keep on paying attention to it and do not simply listen and then forget it, but put it into practice—you will be blessed by God in what you do. James 1:22-25 GNB

    God thank You for a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to You, O God. Thank You for letting go of self. Thank You for answering my prayers, that I am patient with the answers. God I know that I know You are always, always faithful and always on time with Your saving help. Thank You that I am giving You the glory for all that are doing, have done and will continue to do in and for my life and my family. God I give You the glory and honor and rejoicing for all that You have done. The Lord is great!!!! Thank You for these minutes of this day that I can be pleasing to You. Thank You for YOur love goggles to see others as You see them. Thank You for Your words coming out of my mouth today in Jesus name amen
    Charles Spurgeon’s commentary on these verses are worth a read. I hope this link works, might have to copy and paste,I am not sure.

  4. 4 “Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
    who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods.”

    It is very tempting for me to “look to the proud”. They are confident, decisive, and self-assured. Their charisma is magnetic. But they “turn aside to false gods”. Instead, I need to be one “who trusts in the Lord”.

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