Psalm 40 (a new favorite ..)
If you’ve grew up in a church or are familiar with most ministries you’ll notice that the topic of tithe and offering often comes up. And it can be something that is miss represented.
In the old testiment you understand that the tithe and offerings are required under the law. Yet many often argue that if we are under grace, should there still be a need for tithes and offerings? The simple answer to this question is yes. Although we won’t have all the time to determine this line by line at the moment. I’d like to show how Psalm chapter 40, also supports the fact that the tithe and offering isn’t what’s most important. What’s truly important is your heart.
In addition to tithe, the 40th chapter of Psalm speaks on the proper relationship with our Father (God). Let’s take a moment and dig deeper.
In Psalm 39, David cries out to God. Feeling the reproach of unrighteousness, dealing with the sins of his forefathers. He feels as though he is cursed. Many of us have felt this way also. Feeling as though you are working with the sense of productivity and promise, yet there is nothing to show. You may plant, tillage, toil and water. And when it comes to harvest your crop it may become blown away. For David directly, the sin of his forefathers are the wrongs of the Hebrew people. If you’re not Hebrew, then the wrongs of every man/woman is that of our forefathers Adam and Eve.
Being pressed with this perplexed weight, David finally surrenders from doing it himself. And in doing so writes chapter 40.
I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord. (Psalms 40:1-3 KJV)
He felt that the Lord was not inclined to his prayer. Many of us have felt that way before. Yet after he prayed, he waited patiently for the response. That’s a great example of what we should do. Upon waiting he was taken out of his sadness and shame and placed on a foundation. The foundation of “The Rock” a foundation of righteousness. One of the results of being placed on this “sound foundation” is that of joy and gladness. At the end it speaks of having all to see a great example and as a result, many would do the same. They’ll seek the Lord, trust in the Lord and recover the same righteousness and joy.
As an example and a way of confirming the revelation that he recieved, David restates the conclusion of it all.
Blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies. (Psalms 40:4 KJV)
David understands the importance of trusting and relying on God. When you’re walking or standing on a foundation. This could be a sidewalk, a deck or “The Rock”. You’re inevitably placing all your weight and trust on this structure. There is no way you can stand on a rock and not fully depend on it to withhold your position. Gravity or the invisible force of the world makes it impossible. You’re either standing, supported on the structure or you’re not.
Recall that during Psalm 39, that David felt as though God was not answering his prayer. After silencing himself to listen and wait on the response of God. David comes to a conclusion in verse 5 of chapter 40.
Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered. (Psalms 40:5 KJV)
Take into account the next time you communicate with your Father, and feel as though you’ve recieved no aswer. Know that He thinks of your constantly, 24/7/365.
What’s most important for us to understand is that we are on the heart of God at all times. We are in his thoughts always. In the law of receprocity there is always a cycle. In exchange for such conciousness. God asks that we incline our hearts, open up to listen to Him. Good communication consist of dialogue, not a lecture or one way conversation. In other words when you communicate with God, don’t make it a list of demands and then end the circuit. Instead speak, and then wait and listen for him to speak back.
Understand that whatever He speaks, is like a “law”. And those that love him obey his direction.
Sacrifice and offering You do not desire, nor have You delight in them; You have given me the capacity to hear and obey [Your law, a more valuable service than] burnt offerings and sin offerings [which] You do not require. (Psalm 40:6 AMP)
In the New Testament the “Laws” of God are to be written on our hearts not stone tablets. The stone tablet was a metaphor of the hard listening of the Hebrews. Their hearts were like stone. The bible says that they were “stiffed necked”. Since they didn’t desire a “one on one” relationship and guidance, then the Lord placed the instructions on tablets. Remember that the children of Israel were given an option to either allow the Holy Spirit to lead them as individuals, or for God to lead one person (Moses) and have him represent them.
And Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him out of the mountain, Say this to the house of Jacob and tell the Israelites: You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will obey My voice in truth and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own peculiar possession and treasure from among and above all peoples; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests, a holy nation [consecrated, set apart to the worship of God]. These are the words you shall speak to the Israelites. So Moses called for the elders of the people and told them all these words which the Lord commanded him. And all the people answered together, and said, All that the Lord has spoken we will do. And Moses reported the words of the people to the Lord. And the Lord said to Moses, Behold, I come to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you and believe you and remain steadfast forever. Then Moses told the words of the people to the Lord. (Exodus 19:3-9 AMP)
Yet the Lord had a delight in loving your fathers, and He chose their descendants after them, you above all peoples, as it is this day. So circumcise the foreskin of your [minds and] hearts; be no longer stubborn and hardened. (Deuteronomy 10:15-16 AMP)
A common word for stiff necked is to be hard headed. Meaning that you’re instructed or lead to do one thing. Knowing that you’re lead, you still choose to do another. Knowing that you’ve read books on properly how to manage finances and yet still decide to purchase a new pair of shoes not in your budget.
The King James Version of Psalm 40:6 reads the following;
Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. (Psalms 40:6 KJV)
I want to show that the word used for “opened” in the Hebrew is difined this way; to dig, to hew stone, to hollow out. The Hebrew word for ear used is defined here; the organ of hearing, by extension, and hence, responding, obeying.
Is there a correlation to not hearing, not believing and not obeying?
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. (Revelation 2:7 KJV)
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it. (Revelation 2:17 KJV)
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. (Revelation 2:29 KJV)
And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. (Mark 4:9 KJV)
He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. (Matthew 11:15 KJV)
So we understand that everyone there had a physical ear. But as far as listening to the Holy Spirit for guidance, that ability may of been lacking. In the books of Revelations, Mark and Matthew, the same person says this over and over. And that person is Jesus.
If you’ve ever wondered about he success of Joshua in the Old Testament, here is the answer.
“See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared. Pay attention to him and listen to what he says. Do not rebel against him; he will not forgive your rebellion, since my Name is in him. If you listen carefully to what he says and do all that I say, I will be an enemy to your enemies and will oppose those who oppose you. My angel will go ahead of you and bring you into the land of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites and Jebusites, and I will wipe them out. Do not bow down before their gods or worship them or follow their practices. You must demolish them and break their sacred stones to pieces. (Exodus 23:20-24 NIV)
What about the success of Joseph in the Old Testament?
And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphenath-paneah and he gave him Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, to be his wife. And Joseph made an [inspection] tour of all the land of Egypt. (Genesis 41:45 AMP)
But the Lord was with Joseph, and he [though a slave] was a successful and prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all that he did to flourish and succeed in his hand. [Gen. 21:22; 26:27, 28; 41:38, 39.] (Genesis 39:2-3 AMP)
His Egyptian name means; “He whom hears and speaks to God”. The Holy Spirit was with Joseph and the Holy Spirit spoke to him constantly. In doing such he became successful and prosperous. This was a by product of the proper relationship. The angel that went before Joshua was a form of the Holy Spirit, and he had to listen and obey that direction.
Remember that God initially wanted to have all of the children to have a “one on one” relationship. So that he could lead them individually instead of as a people.
Also remember that everything that Jesus did, was not written on a stone tablet. He was led by the Holy Spirit. His day by day walk was instructed. This obedience enabled him to walk in such favor and power. Is there any irony that you’ll find all these examples of the Love that Jesus had for God that he would obey his commands. That these examples of Love are found in the book of John; “The disciple whom Jesus Loved”
So Jesus answered them by saying, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, the Son is able to do nothing of Himself (of His own accord); but He is able to do only what He sees the Father doing, for whatever the Father does is what the Son does in the same way [in His turn]. The Father dearly loves the Son and discloses to (shows) Him everything that He Himself does. And He will disclose to Him (let Him see) greater things yet than these, so that you may marvel and be full of wonder and astonishment. Just as the Father raises up the dead and gives them life [makes them live on], even so the Son also gives life to whomever He wills and is pleased to give it. (John 5:19-21 AMP)
If you [really] love Me, you will keep (obey) My commands.
The person who has My commands and keeps them is the one who [really] loves Me; and whoever [really] loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I [too] will love him and will show (reveal, manifest) Myself to him. [I will let Myself be clearly seen by him and make Myself real to him.]
Jesus answered, If a person [really] loves Me, he will keep My word [obey My teaching]; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home (abode, special dwelling place) with him. (John 14:15, 21, 23 AMP)
This is because I have never spoken on My own authority or of My own accord or as self-appointed, but the Father Who sent Me has Himself given Me orders [concerning] what to say and what to tell. [Deut. 18:18, 19.] (John 12:49 AMP)
Another way of putting it, if you want to be great, successful, have peace etc. Then you must lean and stand on your foundation. Depend on the Lord. Do this by opening your ear. Opening your heart.
So Jesus answered them by saying, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, the Son is able to do nothing of Himself (of His own accord); but He is able to do only what He sees the Father doing, for whatever the Father does is what the Son does in the same way [in His turn]. (John 5:19 AMP)
Example: Obedience to the faith thru corresponding action. Knowing that I am the righteousness of God. And receive all His finished works thru Jesus.
This is the agreement (testament, covenant) that I will set up and conclude with them after those days, says the Lord: I will imprint My laws upon their hearts, and I will inscribe them on their minds (on their inmost thoughts and understanding), (Hebrews 10:16 AMP)
But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel: After those days, says the Lord, I will put My law within them, and on their hearts will I write it; and I will be their God, and they will be My people. (Jeremiah 31:33 AMP)
This was the plan in both the New and Old Testament. Yet the initial Hebrews were so hardened from slavery that The Lord did a metaphor of their Hearts and placed the laws on stone tablets, because at that moment their hearts were like stone towards him. If the commands are in your heart, the guidelines or what you should do for today. Then by obeying you show your love. An example could be that God placed on your heart to escort an elderly couple to the shopping mall. No matter the size, big or small, that voice is who you should obey.
If you [really] love Me, you will keep (obey) My commands. (John 14:15 AMP)
So let us be truly successful and not ignore the callings and things that The Lord places on our hearts to do.
In other words if he tells you to move to a smaller city then do so. Because of your obedience you know he will blessed you and the situation. If he tells you to start a business, then do so. If he tells you to write a book, then commit, just as he has committed to you and do so. Because once it is all said and done, you will be more blessed than ever before. Joseph was in a pit, much like the one that David described in Psalm 40 and he arose to great success because he was placed on the Rock. Listening and obeying the Holy Spirit.
In conclusion, as a result of the obedience and close relationship. Psalm 40 ends with this;
Let them be put to shame and confounded together who seek and require my life to destroy it; let them be driven backward and brought to dishonor who wish me evil and delight in my hurt! Let them be desolate by reason of their shame who say to me, Aha, aha! Let all those that seek and require You rejoice and be glad in You; let such as love Your salvation say continually, The Lord be magnified! [As for me] I am poor and needy, yet the Lord takes thought and plans for me. You are my Help and my Deliverer. O my God, do not tarry! [Ps. 70:1-5; I Pet. 5:7.] (Psalm 40:14-17 AMP)
Do not hesitate Father to show your self. Make sure that I am still enough to be aware, listen and obey (act).