"I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay" (Psalm 40:1). These are the words of David, the future king, who had found himself in an inescapable dark place. Yet, he went on to testify that the Lord "set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth—praise to our God; many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord" (40:2–3).
David was essentially saying, "God lifted me out of this place where my hope was sinking. He brought me out and put my feet in such a large, firm and wonderful place that it came with a song." Now this was not just an audible song, but a song of praise that is deeper than words—a song that emanates from the whole being of somebody who is fully given to the ways of God.
"Blessed is that man who makes the Lord his trust, and does not respect the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies" (Psalm 40:4). There are all kinds of voices around us and the proud put their objectives and thoughts above the thoughts of God. But God can speak to those who trust Him. He can lift such a man or woman out of a place of uncertainty and bring them into a place of stability.
The next verse gets even better as David says, "Many, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works which You have done; and Your thoughts toward us cannot be recounted to You in order; if I would declare and speak to them, they are more than can be numbered" (Psalm 40:5). David is saying, "God, You are thinking things about each of your children—about our future, about the plans You have for each one of us." Remember that the plans of God go beyond this world—all the way into eternity! There is no end to the thoughts of God toward us and the things we are going to do even in heaven in unison with Him.
Open to the Voice of God
David then goes on to say, "Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; my ears You have opened" (Psalm 40:6). In other words, "You do not want me doing perfunctory religious works. You do not want me to simply perform the same old rituals, as wonderful as any of those things may have been in the past. Instead, You have opened my ears."
"Then I said, 'Behold, I come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me'" (Psalm 40:7). The psalmist was saying, "You opened my ears. I heard something from You, and I moved toward the sound of Your voice."
"I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart" (Psalm 40:8). God took David out of this place of confusion, fear, and difficulty by opening his heart to the voice of the Lord. David did not try to figure it out himself nor did he form a league with the proud who resisted the ways of God. He did not gravitate to lies about the past, the present, or the future. Instead, he said, "God, speak to me. I want to hear Your voice. Do not let me come to You just to have my agenda verified. I want to follow You!"
Stuck When Things Do Not Go as Planned
You and I are living in a similar situation today and it is imperative that we hear and follow the voice of God. The Lord is calling His people into something incredible. He has a path of strength and stability before each of us—a path that carries a brand-new song with it—a song of confidence. This generation surely needs to see that path and hear that song again, as many are losing confidence.
In this psalm, David was speaking of being stuck at a particular time in his spiritual journey. He described this place as a pit. In other words, it was walled before him, too high to climb. His feet felt as if they were in quicksand, and he was sinking deeper and deeper into despair.
When you look at the difficulties facing society today, it is obvious they are causing a lot of people to feel that same way. Perhaps you have been feeling that way, too. We get stuck when things do not go the way we thought they would. We all have this tendency to form a picture in our minds about what our life will look like when we come to Christ. I am sure David did so when Samuel walked into his house and poured a horn of oil on his head. He was saying, in essence, "The Spirit of the Lord anoints you to be the next king of Israel" (see 1 Samuel 16:13). The Spirit of God came upon David, and he was able to go into a battle that even seasoned soldiers could not fight. David defeated a fierce enemy, and he must have thought, "It just does not get any better than this!"
Yet suddenly everything took a negative turn and David found himself being pursued by a king to whom he was loyal. He ultimately ended up in a cave with about 400 discontented, distressed, and indebted men gravitating to him. Surrounded by an army that vastly outnumbered him, in his mind he was probably stuck because things just did not seem to be going right
Stuck in the Past
You and I can also get stuck when we think God can do no better in the future than He has done in the past. For example, in 2004 I had the privilege of speaking in Cardiff, Wales, and surrounding areas, and I visited the church where the Welsh Revival started in 1904. The Welsh Revival spread Pentecost throughout a good part of the world and was responsible for a great ingathering of souls into the kingdom of God and a resurgence of fervor in the Christian Church. That chapel is the site where a little group of people still meet and pray. They mourn and grieve, and they wait for God to do in that building what He did a hundred years ago.
I think of all the people who have been a part of that small group over the years and all that they have missed in the meantime. As they mourned the loss of a past experience, they probably missed the Billy Graham years when the great evangelist preached to more people than any other preacher of all time. They missed seeing David Wilkerson start up Teen Challenge, and multiplied millions of people coming to Christ throughout the world. And they missed seeing Nicky Cruz come to Christ and traveling the world, preaching to more than thirty million people.
The point is, we can get so stuck in the past that we lose sight of the future and the fact that God is thinking things about us and the Church. He has a plan that is so much bigger than our thoughts. He is always on the move!
Stuck When the Future Looks Fearful
We also get stuck when the future looks fearful. The present, though it might be dry, is at least safer than what we perceive lies before us. Think of the children of Israel —taken out of captivity, led through the wilderness, brought right to the border of the Promised Land—yet being fearful. I am sure a lot of them were thinking, "At least we are safe here. Maybe it is a little dry, but the manna is still here. In the place that God wants to lead us, there are giants that look way bigger than us!" They failed to realize that fear is one of the biggest giants of all, and so they chose to live in a wilderness experience.
In contrast, the Lord did something for David that brought him to a new level of worship and produced in him a confidence in God that transmitted to others. As he said, "He took me out of the miry clay and out of this horrible pit, out of this place where I was stuck. He set my feet upon a rock, and He established my steps." In other words, "God did not call me out just to have me stand in one place. No, He laid out a pathway before me. He said, 'This is where I am taking you. This is what I want you to do. This is how My name is going to be glorified!'"
Remember, it was in David's future to be king of Israel. Not only that, but in his actual physical loins was the DNA of the man Jesus Christ who would be born into this world and would redeem mankind through his lineage. My point is that the plan of God is so much bigger than you and I can understand! The only way we can ever begin to lay hold of it is if we allow God to lift us and say, as David did, "My ears You have opened, and You put in my heart a delight to do Your will. Even when it looks fearful, even when I do not understand, even when you are leading me into an unfamiliar place, God, I delight to do Your will because I know You are thinking something about me that I have not considered!"
Open to the Voice of God
Let's look at verse five again: "Many, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works which You have done; and Your thoughts toward us cannot be recounted to You in order; if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered." God is thinking something about this moment in history, and it is time that we ask Him to help us think these thoughts along with Him. I truly believe the greatest days for the Church are just ahead of us.
And so I ask you today: Are you going to stay stuck in the past because the future looks fearful and at least in the present you have a sense of security? Or are you willing to do things God's way—believing that He is going to put a new song in you and cause you to be part of this amazing end-time harvest?
Remember, you do not get this song by sitting in a pit and sinking further into quicksand. You get it by opening your heart to the voice of God. You get it by coming before the Lord and saying, "God, wherever that kind of song comes from, I want it! I am tired of singing the song I am singing down in this pit. I am tired of my song being dictated to me by what I hear on the news or what proud people are speaking. I want the song that comes only from You."
Let God set before you the pathway He has intended for your life!