A Psalm of David.

This is a great psalm of the man David. He recounts various events of his history, from his exaltation and coronation to kingship, to his sin and subsequent punishment, to his future exaltation and place in God’s plan for His future kingdom.

1.  I waited patiently for the LORD;

As anyone who reads the book of Samuel will know, David waited patiently for the LORD regarding his coming kingship. The LORD had made David certain promises regarding the authority that He would give him and the plans He had to make him king. Yet David never sought to force the LORD’s hand or to rush those promises along. He did not move when he had the opportunity to hurry that promise into fulfillment. He planned no revolt, and fostered no takeover, coup, or rebellion when he was a trusted officer in King Saul’s army. He did not try to stir the people up, or move them to his side in the matter. Even when Saul drove him away and pursued after him to kill him, he refused to take Saul’s life even when the LORD gave it into his hands. He would not step in to try to hurry the LORD’s work using his own means or human cleverness. Instead, he waited patiently upon the LORD, and He brought about His promise in the right time and the right way. Thus David, in looking back at his coronation to kingship, had nothing to regret or of which he should be ashamed. What a testimony to David this is!

And He inclined to me,

David’s attitude of patience placed him in harm’s way many times, but the LORD inclined to him, and always moved to help him when he needed it the most.

And heard my cry.

The LORD answered David’s cry time and again, and helped him out of all his troubles heaped upon him by his enemies.

2.  He also brought me up out of a horrible pit,

This could be any one of the dangers that David faced before he at last became king, but perhaps his lowest point might have been when he was sent back by the Philistines when they refused to take him to war against Saul, and he and his men found their home village destroyed and their wives and children taken captive. At this terrible time, even David’s closest followers were talking of stoning him for leading them to such a horrible place. Yet even from this the LORD delivered him, giving him the victory over the spoilers and returning to him every single person who had been taken, every animal, and every bit of the spoil.

Out of the miry clay,

Many times during the years leading up to his coronation did David seem to be mired in circumstances from which he could never escape, and yet the LORD truly brought him up out of them all.

And set my feet upon a rock,

David was made to stand by the LORD. He was truly the rock upon which David could stand. And the place where the LORD established his feet was as king over the nation of Israel.

And established my steps.

David’s steps were established by the LORD. He not only delivered him from danger, but also laid out his way before him. Every step David took, the LORD was with him to keep him from calamity.

This is what had happened to David, but we too can relate to what he says here. We too were in a horrible pit of our own sin from which we could not escape. We were mired down in our own wicked works and pride, yet He saved us from them all through the death of His Son. Now, we too are established, not as rulers, at least not yet, but rather are established in His Word as we learn and grow in all He has revealed to us. Upon that Word we too can stand upon a rock that will not be moved.

3.  He has put a new song in my mouth–

The deliverance the LORD had brought him and the establishment He had given him as king over Israel caused David to sing a new song unto Him. Yet this was not a song that David made up, but one that the LORD Himself placed in David’s mouth.

Praise to our God;

This was the new song David was given: a song of praise to our God. He is ever the song of those who have been delivered and established!

Many will see it and fear,

Many saw what David went through, and how the LORD rescued him and established him. This caused them to revere the LORD and have respect for Him.

In Hebrew, these two words sound similar. Bullinger in the Companion Bible suggests we could English it as “peer and fear.” Remember, these psalms are Hebrew poetry, and God is expressing these truths poetically through the pen of David.

And will trust in the LORD.

Reverence and respect lead to trust, and so those who feel this about the LORD after seeing what He did for David come to trust in Him as well.

4.  Blessed is that man who makes the LORD his trust,

How happy indeed is the man who trusts in the LORD, for he is trusting in the One, and the only One, Who will never let him down.

And does not respect the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.

David no doubt had much experience with proud men, men like Joab, who worked more in their own interests than they did for the LORD. Moreover, he saw those who turned aside to lies. In his day, these were those who went after idols, those false gods that were nothing more than a lie.

In our day, too, we have men on every hand who are proud. We see those who turn aside after lies and deceptions. In our society, the types and forms of lies are many, but in so many ways they all come back to pride, and to turning aside from the true God to things that are only lies in substitution for Him. We see on every hand many who would call themselves “Christians” turning aside after the lies of the New Age, and the idea that God is in everything and everyone. They refuse to acknowledge that men are sinful and lost, and think that God can be found in the hearts of all men. Others turn aside after science falsely so called, thinking that they created themselves from a rock over billions of years, and needed no Creator. Others turn aside after churches or religious organizations, thinking in them they will achieve salvation, though they do not seem to have the time of day for the God they claim to worship. Yet these things are empty, and to trust in them is to trust in that which will ultimately disappoint. Only in the LORD can trust be rightfully placed. Only those who trust in Him will end up truly happy.

5.  Many, O LORD my God, are Your wonderful works

As we view this world and the wonder of creation, as we consider all the good things that surround us on every hand, and most of all as we read His Word and see what He has written therein, we can truly see how very many are the wonderful works of God.

Which You have done;

These are the things that God has done. How wonderful indeed are all His works!

And Your thoughts toward us

How can we possibly know God’s thoughts towards us? As we see the love and sacrifice of His Son on the cross for us, we can start to see how truly great they must be. Yet this is only a start.

Cannot be recounted to You in order;

No one of us can declare back to the LORD what He thinks of us. His thoughts are beyond us. Yet in the life to come, perhaps we will begin to know them more and more.

If I would declare and speak of them,

If David were given the power to declare and speak of the things that the LORD has done for him and thought about him, he knows that this would be a monumental task indeed.

They are more than can be numbered.

His thoughts towards David, and towards us, are more than can be counted, a very great number indeed. What an amazing God we have! What a privilege to be a part of His thoughts! His love towards us is surely beyond understanding, and beyond expression.

6.  Sacrifice and offering You did not desire;

This may speak of the great matter of David’s sin. We tend to think that when one broke God’s law, he was required to bring a sin offering to God, and that that would take care of it. This is not the truth. The majority of laws, once broken, could not be paid for by a sin offering. Many penalties were imposed by the law. Many infractions had no way for the sinner to be delivered, but demanded the ultimate penalty of death. No sin offering, no sacrifice, could atone for these sins. In David’s great time of sin, he had both committed adultery and murdered the man who was the woman’s husband. These sins, according to the law, had no way of redemption, but required the sinner’s death.

My ears You have opened.

Instead of a sacrifice or offering, the LORD had only desired David to open his ears to the LORD and hear His words of rebuke. As soon as David acknowledged his sin, the LORD took it away, as can be clearly seen in II Samuel 12:13.

We too can relate to this. The LORD does not desire sacrifice or offering from us. What He truly desires is that we open our ears and listen to Him through His Word. So many refuse to do this. They are convinced that what the LORD really wants is for them to listen to a church, and to serve in a church. The sacrifices they make to do this, and the offerings they give to this organization, they are sure are what the LORD requires of them. If they want to give Him the ultimate sacrifice, they think it is working for the church by becoming a “full-time” minister, or going to another country to be a missionary. Never do they consider that perhaps what the LORD would want from them more than anything else is open ears. Yet somehow, in all the business of serving church, this most required of all services is neglected.

Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require.

Again, David repeats that these are not truly the LORD’s requirements, to emphasize that open ears and an obedient heart are what the LORD truly wants from His people.

7.  Then I said, “Behold, I come;

These might have been David’s words as he came to his time of coronation over the kingdom of Israel, as he prepared to take on that great task that the LORD had set out for him. Yet perhaps more importantly, these will be David’s words in the future day of God’s kingdom on earth, when the LORD calls him up from the grave to do the work that He has planned for him, and from the dust David arises and answers Him. Yet these words, quoted in Hebrews 10:5-9, can also be applied to the Lord Jesus Christ, Who also came at the command of the Father, as it was written of Him, and did His will.

In the scroll of the book it is written of me.

It is truly written of David in the book, and of the things he will yet do in God’s future plan. It was also written in advance of Christ, and the glorious things He would do when He had come. David and his great Son are thus here identified together.

8.  I delight to do Your will, O my God,

Doing God’s will will be David’s delight in the government to come. What a delight it will be to all who see it, to know what God is doing through David to help make Israel and the earth what He always intended them to be!

And Your law is within my heart.”

David had memorized and meditated upon God’s law in the past to aid and guide him in his leadership over Israel. Yet when David is raised from the dead, he will be a part of that new covenant that the LORD will make with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, when He will “put my law in their minds, and write it on their hearts.” Surely to be a part of that will be a great joy to David as well! As for the Lord Jesus, the law was within His heart indeed, for He was the One Who had given it to Israel in the first place.

9.  I have proclaimed the good news of righteousness

In the New Testament this would be called the “gospel” of righteousness. David had declared the right message regarding righteousness. We know David did this in the past, for he was the one given to do so as king over God’s people of Israel. We can read of many such proclamations of right things in the Word of God. But I believe this too has a future aspect, when David, raised from the dead, will have the opportunity to proclaim the right message regarding righteousness to those who will live again in the future day of God’s government on earth.

In the great assembly;

This was the great kahal, the ruling body of Israel. Kahal men were leading men, representative men, who had charge over the common people, as a study of the word will clearly show. This word is equivalent to the Greek word ekklesia in the New Testament. It is before leaders and rulers that David has the opportunity to declare the good message of righteousness. Oh, how our leaders need to hear such a message today! The leaders of all nations on earth at this time, including our own, could benefit greatly from hearing God’s true message of righteousness. We long for the day when such a message will go forth.

Indeed, I do not restrain my lips,

David did not restrain himself from teaching his fellow rulers the truth. In the past, of course, this would have included all the rulers he had set up under him, for every king must set up such rulers. Some of these men would have ruled well and done David proud. Others would have ruled selfishly and besmirched the man who placed them in their positions. So it ever is in this world when any ruler, good or bad, sets up those under him. Yet the failure of any rulers under David who did not carry out their duties as they should was not because they did not know righteousness, for David had not neglected to teach them the truth regarding this.

O LORD, You Yourself know.

David appeals to the LORD’s knowledge that he had, indeed, taught the kahal aright. When any lower ruler is found to be dishonest, men are always apt to blame the one who set him in his place. So it must have been with David. Thus David appeals to the LORD to know that he had, indeed, instructed his rulers to do what is right.

10.  I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart;

David knew well the LORD’s righteousness. Yet he had not hidden that righteousness away within his heart. Rather, he had shared that righteousness openly with those who had responsibility to rule under him.

I have declared Your faithfulness and Your salvation;

It was not just the righteousness of God, not just His ways and His judgments, that David had declared to the kahal. He had also declared Jehovah’s faithfulness, and the salvation that He provides. These are lessons that we too should set forth to those whom we have responsibility for.

I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth

Yahweh’s grace and truth were also topics that David clearly set forth. How easy it would be, in a day when the truth is not loved, to neglect to declare it! Yet David had not omitted this important part of God’s character. He had also instructed these rulers in the truth.

From the great assembly.

Again, this is the great kahal, the congregation of rulers. These were the ones to whom David taught these five great aspects of God.

11.  Do not withhold Your tender mercies from me, O LORD;

In his position of leadership, David requests the tender mercies of the LORD. Indeed, for any king to rule under Him, much grace would be necessary. Yahweh’s ways are high and holy, and we as men cannot live up to them. Without mercy from the LORD, who could stand before Him? And much moreso for any ruler who served under Him!

Let Your lovingkindness and Your truth continually preserve me.

David knows that he will continually need grace and truth to preserve him. As a fallen man, he cannot hope to serve under God without them.

12.  For innumerable evils have surrounded me;

Remember that the Hebrew word ra’a or “evil” does not mean what we usually think of with the English word. We use the words “wicked,” “evil,” and “sinful” almost as if they were synonyms, and meant the exact same thing. Yet this was not true at all of the Hebrew word for evil, ra’a. This word did not mean wickedness. Instead, it means calamity, disaster, or misfortune. The word can be used for wickedness, but only figuratively, since sin and wickedness often cause disaster. Yet the basic meaning of “evil” in Scripture is not sin, but calamity.

So David was surrounded at this point by innumerable calamities. It must have seemed that any one of these was ready to just swallow him up. His hope of continuing in life at this point must have seemed small indeed.

My iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to look up;

This is probably written about the calamities that came upon David because of his great sin in the matter of Bathsheba and her husband Uriah. David had committed great iniquities then, and now they have caught up with him in the form of many punishments that were come against him. David dared not look up, for he knew all he would see would be a means of his own destruction looking back at him.

They are more than the hairs of my head;

David speaks poetically of the great number of these calamities that surrounded him as being more than the very hairs of his head. David is overwhelmed, outnumbered by disaster.

Therefore my heart fails me.

David’s courage had left him in the face of all this terror. He knew that in his own strength he could never overcome all the evil that had come against him.

13.  Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me;

David looks to the only One Who can possibly deliver him in this time of woe: the LORD. He knew that these punishments for his iniquities were from the LORD, yet that did not stop him from looking to the LORD for his deliverance. Perhaps he remembered that our God is not just the God of justice and government, but also the God of every grace!

O LORD, make haste to help me!

He anxiously calls upon the LORD to hurry in coming to his aid. When we think of him surrounded by disaster, as he had described, we can know that if the LORD did not hurry, David would not have been around any more to be delivered.

14.  Let them be ashamed and brought to mutual confusion

David prays that his enemies will be the ones who will end up being ashamed and brought to confusion. He asks the LORD to turn the situation back upon those who sought to take advantage of him in this weakest of moments.

Who seek to destroy my life;

These men sought nothing short of David’s own death. The word “life” here is the Hebrew word nephesh, which means “soul.” These enemies sought to destroy David’s very soul in their rage against him.

Let them be driven backward and brought to dishonor

These things were now happening to David, yet he again prays that the LORD will turn these things back upon his enemies. Notice how David keeps repeating what he says twice. This shows great emphasis, and demonstrates the earnestness of David’s urgent plea to Jehovah for aid.

Who wish me evil.

Those who wish David evil, yes, the very ones who now were working to bring that wish about, are the ones David now prays will be forced into retreat and dishonor.

15.  Let them be confounded because of their shame,

David repeats his plea a third time in slightly different words to give this request the greatest emphasis. He asks that these enemies of his be confounded by their own shame. They sought David’s shame, dishonor, and death. Yet David was God’s anointed, and those who wished such things of him deserved to have these wishes turned back upon themselves. We are not kings set up by God. We were never anointed by Him. Moreover, we live in a dispensation of grace, when God’s policy towards men is always to show grace and favor to the undeserving. Thus, for us, a prayer like this would be inappropriate. For David, however, this prayer was just, and this prayer was right.

Who say to me, “Aha, aha!”

Thus were his enemies gloating in his humble condition. They rejoiced that it seemed he would now be destroyed. Therefore, David asks the LORD to bring humiliation upon them in his stead.

16.  Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You;

Those who sought Yahweh would all be on David’s side. They would know that he was God’s chosen one, and they would not approve of those who were moving against him. Thus, he prays that these ones who seek Yahweh will have reason to rejoice and be glad in Him. They would have good reason when David was saved from his troubles. Yes, even today all who seek Yahweh and find Him in the Lord Jesus Christ have reason to rejoice and be glad, for in Him they find a true Savior!

Let such as love Your salvation say continually,

O, what love indeed do we have for the LORD’s salvation! He has saved us from our own iniquities, from our own sin and guilt. He has taken our sin and our guilt upon Himself on the cross. He has raised us up together with Christ, and seated us with Him among the most heavenly seats. What a glorious salvation this is! What an amazing salvation is ours!

“The LORD be magnified!”

Those who have truly experienced His salvation should ever make their boast in the LORD. We do not boast in some ministry, in some work of men. It is not some church that preached the gospel, or some preacher who told us to come to the front, or some evangelist who wrote a little prayer we were told to repeat, who deserves the credit and the magnification for our salvation. No, it is the LORD, the One Who died for us, the One Who bought for us this great salvation, Who deserves all our praise and our magnification. Let us never place the efforts of men alongside Him. It is He Who deserves all the credit and all the praise for our great salvation.

17.  But I am poor and needy;

David does not mean that he has lost all his money here when he says he is poor. This word has the idea of affliction. David is weak, afflicted by his enemies, and all but helpless before them. He truly needs the help and the salvation of Jehovah!

Yet the LORD thinks upon me.

This is the one thing David still has going for him in all his distress. Yet oh, what a difference this one advantage makes!

You are my help and my deliverer;

Yes, Yahweh would be the One Who would help David. He knew that he would be delivered, since the LORD was on his side.

Do not delay, O my God.

He closes his prayer with one final request to God for speedy action. His troubles were urgent, and only God’s immediate help could hope to save him. Yet we know God did save him, and brought him out of all his troubles. Even so, David died long ago, and his life and service to God came to an end. Yet, thankfully, this was not the end of the story of David. For the LORD has great plans for him in the future as well, when he will sit as Prince over the nation of Israel in God’s future government. Then, the LORD will have been His great salvation indeed. What a day that will be!

To the chief Musician.

This psalm is dedicated to the chief Musician to be used for public worship. Through God’s mighty help and deliverance of David, we can all learn more truth about the great Lord and Savior Who was with David in all his troubles, and brought him safely out of them all.