Psalm 40:2

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 2. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit. When our Lord bore in his own person the terrible curse which was due to sin, he was so cast down as to be like a prisoner in a deep, dark, fearful dungeon, amid whose horrible glooms the captive heard a noise as of rushing torrents, while overhead resounded the tramp of furious foes. Our Lord in his anguish was like a captive in the oubliettes, forgotten of all mankind, immured amid horror, darkness, and desolation. Yet the Lord Jehovah made him to ascend from all his abasement; he retraced his steps from that deep hell of anguish into which he had been cast as our substitute. He who thus delivered our surety in extremis, will not fail to liberate us from our far lighter griefs. Out of the miry clay. The sufferer was as one who cannot find a foothold, but slips and sinks. The figure indicates not only positive misery as in the former figure, but the absence of solid comfort by which sorrow might have been rendered supportable. Once give man a good foothold, and a burden is greatly lightened, but to be loaded and to be placed on slimy, slippery clay, is to be tried doubly. Reader, with humble gratitude, adore the dear Redeemer who, for thy sake, was deprived of all consolation while surrounded with every form of misery; remark his gratitude at being born up amid his arduous labours and sufferings, and if thou too hast experienced the divine help, be sure to join thy Lord in this song. And set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. The Redeemer's work is done. He reposes on the firm ground of his accomplished engagements; he can never suffer again; for ever does he reign in glory. What a comfort to know that Jesus our Lord and Saviour stands on a sure foundation in all that he is and does for us, and his goings forth in love are not liable to be cut short by failure in years to come, for God has fixed him firmly. He is for ever and eternally able to save unto the uttermost them that come unto God by him, seeing that in the highest heavens he ever liveth to make intercession for them. Jesus is the true Joseph taken from the pit to be Lord of all. It is something more than a "sip of sweetness" to remember that if we are cast like our Lord into the lowest pit of shame and sorrow, we shall by faith rise to stand on the same elevated, sure, and everlasting rock of divine favour and faithfulness.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 2. An horrible pit. Some of the pits referred to in the Bible were prisons, one such I saw at Athens, and another at Rome. To these there were no openings, except a hole at the top, which served for both door and window. The bottoms of these pits were necessarily in a filthy and revolting state, and sometimes deep in mud. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay; one of these filthy prisons being in the psalmist's view, in Isaiah 38:17 , called "the pit of corruption," or putrefaction and filth. John Gadsby.

Verse 2. An horrible pit; or, as it is in the Hebrew, a pit of noise; so called because of waters that falling into it with great violence, make a roaring dreadful noise; or because of the strugglings and outcries they make that are in it; or because when anything is cast into deep pits, it will always make a great noise; and where he stuck fast in miry clay, without seeming possibility of getting out. And some refer this to the greatness of Christ's terrors and sufferings, and his deliverance from them both. Arthur Jackson.

Verse 2. Three things are stated in verse two. First, resurrection as the act of God, He brought me up, etc. Secondly, the justification of the name and title of the Sufferer, and set my feet upon a rock. Jesus is set up, as alive from the dead, upon the basis of accomplished truth. Thirdly, there is his ascension, He establisheth my goings. The Son of God having trodden, in gracious and self renouncing obedience the passage to the grave, now enters finally as Man the path of life. "He is gone into heaven," says the Spirit. And again, "He ascended on high, and led captivity captive." Arthur Pridham in "Notes and Reflections on the Psalms," 1869.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 2.

  1. The depth of God's goodness to his people. It finds them often in a horrible pit and miry clay. There is a certain spider which forms a pit in sand, and lies concealed at the bottom, in order to seize upon other insects that fall into it. Thus David's enemies tried to bring him into a pit.
  2. The height of his goodness. He brought me out and set my feet upon a rock. That rock is Christ. Those feet are faith and hope.
  3. The breadth of his goodness establisheth my goings, restored me to my former place in his love, showing me still to have been his during my low estate. He was the same to me, though I felt not the same to him. My goings refer both to the past and the future.
  4. The strength of his goodness established my goings, making me stand firmer after every fall.

George Rogers.

Verse 2-3. The sinner's position by nature, and his rescue by grace.

Verse 2-3. By one and the same act the Lord works our salvation, our enemies' confusion, and the church's edification. J. P. Lange's Commentary.