Psalm 40 (Part One)

Lord,  I was sinking deep;
There was no hope for me
Until You heard my prayer for help
And picked me up and rested me upon a rock.

Lord, You picked me up
And put me on a rock
Where I can sing
A song of praise
For all that You have done,
All You’ve done.

Lord, on this rock I stand
And sing a song of praise
To thank You for the way You guide me
And to thank You for the many gifts You give.

Lord, You picked me up
And put me on a rock
Where I can sing
A song of praise
For all that You have done,
All You’ve done.

Lord, may this song I sing
Be heard by everyone
Who needs to be told all about Your love
And goodness and to put their trust in You.

Lord, You picked me up
And put me on a rock
Where I can sing
A song of praise
For all that You have done,
All You’ve done.

About this Song:
Early in 1985, Dr. Don Runion, the pastor of Mt. Vernon Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia, preached a four-part series on a portion of the fortieth Psalm. I can’t recall whether “From the Mire to the Choir” was the name of the first sermon or of the whole series, but it was a catchy title–one I didn’t need to write down to remember. Don did such a terrific job that I felt led to write a song based on each of the four sections he covered.

Just as Don preached only on the first eleven verses, I limited my song set to the same ones.

I was about to insert the appropriate lyrics beneath each of the verses listed below, but then realized I couldn’t. Although the song matches the whole content of the first three verse of Psalm 40, they don’t match stanza to verse.

Here are the verses I used for this song:

1 I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 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.
3 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.

King David must have been in humongous trouble. “Mud and mire” makes me think of quicksand. Not something someone can necessarily get out of without help.

But he didn’t start this psalm of praise by complaining about the “slimy pit” and the “mud and the mire.” He began by acknowledging God’s response to his cries for help.

Isn’t God’s help more important than the problems He helps us with?

God didn’t simply set David on solid ground again. Solid ground might have been at the same level as the top of the pit.

Instead, he set him on a rock. And a rock would be elevated–especially if it was so large that David couldn’t have climbed up on it by himself. Apparently it formed a natural pulpit.

Not a pulpit for preaching, however, but for composing a new song and singing praise to the Lord for His miraculous intervention in the midst of David’s otherwise insoluble problem.

But wouldn’t you know David realized that his song had an evangelistic function? “Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.”

Shouldn’t that be the desire of every Christian musician–to write songs that show what God has done in their lives, to stand on the rock where God has placed them, and to use those songs to “preach” God’s Good News to everyone who will listen?

We’ll look at Psalm 40 (Part Two) next Wednesday.

If you’d like to share any thoughts about Psalm 40, please leave a comment.

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I have free lead sheets (chords, notes, & words) for many of my songs. To see which ones (not including today’s, unfortunately) and print or download any of them, GO HERE.

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Best regards,
Roger

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About Roger E. Bruner

Roger Bruner worked as a teacher, job counselor, and programmer analyst before retiring to write Christian fiction full-time. A guitarist and songwriter, he is active in his church choir, church praise team, and nursing home ministry. Roger also enjoys reading, web design, mission trips, photography, and spending time with his wonderful wife, Kathleen. Roger’s young adult novels, Found in Translation and Lost in Dreams, came out in 2011. The Devil and Pastor Gus just came out, and he has eight unpublished manuscripts.
This entry was posted in Don Runion, King David, Mire, Quicksand, Rescue and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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