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Commentary » Psalms 40:11-Psalms 40:17 »

David’s Plea With The Lord For Mercy

Corrie ten Boom in The Hiding Place relates an incident that taught her always to be thankful. She and her sister, Betsy, had just been transferred to the worst German prison camp they had seen yet, Ravensbruck. Upon entering the barracks, they found them extremely overcrowded an … More

The tone of the Psalm changes dramatically to that of urgent prayer (vv. 11-12). David is no longer thinking about the past, but of the present troubles, he is facing. Facing trouble was certainly nothing new for him. He faces it as a fugitive from Saul and he faced it as a fugitive from his son, Absalom. It would seem that this Psalm was written during the time he was going through difficult hours. He explains how the Lord never fails to have pity on him (v. 11). He says that his sins even outnumber the hairs of his head (v. 12). He cries out for the Lord to hurry and help him (v. 13). We find him taking comfort in the following thoughts:

1. God is mighty (v. 14). It seems that David was writing this during Absalom’s rebellion against him. If so David’s counsels had gone over to the other side and it was as if everyone was against him.
2. God is magnified (vv. 15-16). Our tendency is to scale God down to our size and make Him just a little bigger than we are. We need to think of Him in all of His greatness.
3. God is merciful (v.17). In our society people are always crying out for justice when we should be crying out to God for mercy. The reason the Lord came to this earth is that we are poor and needy, David asks the Lord to “Please hurry and help.”


As I face trials and suffering in my life, I need to think of how I can use these experiences to give thanksgiving. An example was when I was held up at gunpoint in Paupa New Guinea and afterward, we prayed and thanked the Lord we were still alive 

Psalms 40:11-17 (English Standard Version)

As for you, O LORD, you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me! For evils have encompassed me beyond number; my iniquities have overtaken me, and I cannot see; they are more than the hairs of my head; my heart fails me. Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me! O LORD, make haste to help me! Let those be put to shame and disappointed altogether who seek to snatch away my life; let those be turned back and brought to dishonor who delight in my hurt! Let those be appalled because of their shame who say to me, "Aha, Aha!" But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation say continually, "Great is the LORD!" As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God!

View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »