Sacrifice or oblation you wished not,
but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Burnt offerings or sin offerings you sought not;
then said I, “Behold I come.”
“In the written scroll it is prescribed for me,
To do your will, O my God, is my delight,
and your law is within my heart!”
I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know.
May all who seek you
exult and be glad in you,
And may those who love your salvation
say ever, “The LORD be glorified.”
(Psalm 40:7-8A, 8B-9, 10, 17)
40:7–8 Noting that Yahweh does not delight in sacrifice alone, the psalmist declares that he desires to do God’s will and follow His law. His commitment to Yahweh goes beyond outward expressions; it extends into his heart.
40:9–10 The psalmist responds to Yahweh’s salvation by proclaiming it to the congregation. He tells of Yahweh’s faithfulness and love—characteristics that reveal His dependability to fulfill His promises.
40:9 in the great congregation The Hebrew word used here, qahal, refers to the people of Israel.
40:10 your loyal love or your faithfulness. The Hebrew term used here, chesed, is one of Yahweh’s essential characteristics. When paired with emeth, the Hebrew word for God’s faithfulness (as it is here), chesed, describes God as absolutely dependable to fulfill His promises
40:17 O my God, do not delay Though the psalmist began by expressing his patience (v. 1), here he asks God to come quickly to his help. In the midst of suffering, he pleads that God will not delay.
This psalm has a special importance in the liturgy and in theology because the Letter to the Hebrews uses these verses as the words of Christ and thereby gives a new answer to the question of who speaks.
Once the earliest Christians had understood the life and death of Jesus as perfect obedience to the will of God, it would have been impossible for them to read verse 8 without thinking of him.
The psalmist, who knows that the conformation of his mind and desire to the will and revelation of God takes the place of sacrifice, is a type for Jesus, whose obedience unto death replaced all ritual sacrifice and accomplished once for all the perfect sacrifice.
The psalmist with his praise and piety still must pray for salvation from suffering and sin. That is where we all are. But our prayers are made in hope, because the sacrifice for sin has been made for us once for all.
– James Mays
May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.