Psalm 40:8

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 8. I delight to do thy will, O my God. Our blessed Lord alone could completely do the will of God. The law is too broad for such poor creatures as we are to hope to fulfil it to the uttermost: but Jesus not only did the Father's will, but found a delight therein; from old eternity he had desired the work set before him; in his human life he was straitened till he reached the baptism of agony in which he magnified the law, and even in Gethsemane itself he chose the Father's will, and set aside his own. Herein is the essence of obedience, namely, in the soul's cheerful devotion to God: and our Lord's obedience, which is our righteousness, is in no measure lacking in this eminent quality. Notwithstanding his measureless griefs, our Lord found delight in his work, and for "the joy that was set before him he endured the cross, despising the shame." Yea, thy law is within my heart. No outward, formal devotion was rendered by Christ; his heart was in his work, holiness was his element, the Father's will his meat and drink. We must each of us be like our Lord in this, or we shall lack the evidence of being his disciples. Where there is no heart work, no pleasure, no delight in God's law, there can be no acceptance. Let the devout reader adore the Saviour for the spontaneous and hearty manner in which he undertook the great work of our salvation.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 8. I delight to do thy will, O my God. The will of God to redeem sinners by the incarnation and death of Jesus Christ, was most grateful and pleasing to the very heart of Christ. It is said, Proverbs 8:31 , when he was solacing himself in the sweetest enjoyment of his Father, whilst he lay in that blessed bosom of delights, yet the very prospect of this work gave him pleasure, then his "delights were with the sons of men." And when he was come into the world, and had endured many abuses and injuries, and was even now come to the most difficult part of the work; yet, "how am I straitened, or pained (saith he), till it be accomplished!" Luke 12:50 . Two things call our thoughts to stay upon them in this point. First. -- The decency of it -- why it ought to be so.

  1. -- It became Christ to go about this work with cheerfulness and delight, that thereby he might give his death the nature and formality of a sacrifice. In all sacrifices you shall find that God had still a regard, a special respect to the will of the offerer. See Ex 35:5,21 Leviticus 1:3 .
  2. -- It ought to be so in view of the unity of Christ's will with the Father's.
  3. -- This was necessary to commend the love of Jesus Christ to us for whom he gave himself. That he came into the world to die for us is a mercy of the first magnitude; but that he came in love to our souls, and underwent all his sufferings with such willingness for our sakes, this heightens it above all apprehension.
  4. -- It was necessary to be so for the regulating of all our obedience to God, according to this pattern; that seeing and setting this great example of obedience before us, we might never grudge nor grumble at any duty of suffering that God should call us to. Secondly. -- Let us consider and examine whence it came to be so pleasant and acceptable to Jesus Christ, to come into the world and die for poor sinners.
  5. -- That in his sufferings there would be made a glorious display and manifestation of the divine attributes:
  6. -- Another delightful prospect Christ had of the fruit of his sufferings, was the recovery and salvation of all the elect by his death; and though his sufferings were exceedingly bitter, yet such fruit of them as this was exceedingly sweet.
  7. -- Add to this, the glory which would redound to him from his redeemed ones to all eternity, for it will be the everlasting employment of the saints in heaven to be ascribing glory, praise, and honour to the Redeemer. Did Christ find pleasure in abasement and torment, in suffering and dying for me, and can I find no pleasure in praying, hearing, meditating, and enjoying the sweet duties of communion with him? Did he come so cheerfully to die for me, and do I go so dead heartedly to prayers and sacraments to enjoy fellowship with him? Was it a pleasure to him to shed his blood, and is it none to me to apply it, and reap the benefits of it? O let there be no more grumblings, lazy excuses, shiftings of duty, or dead hearted and listless performances of them, after such an example as this. Be ready to do the will of God, be ye also ready to suffer it. And as to sufferings for Christ, they should not be grievous to Christians that know how cheerfully Christ came from the bosom of the Father to die for them. What have we to leave or lose, in comparison with him? What are our sufferings to Christ's? Alas! there is no compare; there was more bitterness in one drop of his sufferings than in a sea of ours. To conclude: your delight and readiness in the paths of obedience is the very measure of your sanctification. Condensed from John Flavel.

Verse 8. Now, saith Christ, I delight to do thy will, O my God; it is the joy and rejoicing of my heart to be seeking and saving lost sinners. When Christ was an hungry, he went not into a victualling house but into the temple, and taught the people most part of the day, to show how much he delighted in the salvation of sinners, etc. Christ did so much delight, and his heart was so much set upon the conversion and salvation of the Samaritans, that he neglected his own body to save their souls, as you may clearly see in John 4. Thomas Brooks.

Verse 8. To do. It was Jesus who was the doer of the work. The Father willed it; but he did not do it. It was Jesus who did it, who wrought it out; who brought it in; who carried it within the veil, and laid it as an acceptable and meritorious offering at the feet of his well pleased Father. The work then is done; it is finished. We need not attempt to do it. We cannot do it. We cannot do that which is already done; and we could not do it, though it were yet undone. There is much that man can do, but he cannot make a propitiation. James Frame.

Verse 8. Thy will. The covenant between the Father and the Son, as elsewhere, so it is most clearly expressed Hebrews 10:7 , from Psalms 40:7-8 , "Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God." And what will? Psalms 40:10 , "The will by which we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." The will of God was, that Jesus should be offered; and to this end, that we might be sanctified and saved. It is called "The offering of the body of Jesus Christ," in answer to what was said before, "A body has thou prepared me," or a human nature, by a synecdoche. "My will," says God the Father, "is that thou have a body, and that thy body be offered up; and all to this end, that the children, the elect, might be sanctified." Says the Son to this, "Lo, I come to do thy will;" -- "I accept of the condition, and give up myself to the performance of thy will." John Owen.

Verse 8. Thy law is within my heart. The law of God is not to be kept in books, but in the midst of our heart, that we may rightly understand the same, admire it, and observe it. Martin Geier.

Verse 8. Thy law is within my heart. The will of God in which Christ delighted, was (as appears by the coherence, and the quotation of Hebrews 10:5 ) that Christ should make his soul an offering for sin, as more acceptable to God than all other burnt offerings and sin offerings. This law was in his heart, ([m $wtb), in the midst of his bowels. He did as much delight in it as we do in following those inclinations which nature has implanted in our hearts, as we do in eating and drinking. So he expresses it John 4:34 , "My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work." He was as willing to bleed and die for thee as thou art to eat when hungry. He was delighted as much to be scourged, wounded, crucified, as thou delightest in meat when most delicious. David Clarkson.

Verse 8. Within my heart, margin, my bowels. The intestines or viscera are here mentioned as the place of the most profound spiritual occupation. Franz Delitzsch.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 6-8. The Lord gives an ear to hear his word, a mouth to confess it, a heart to love it, and power to keep it.

Verse 8. To do thy will, O God.

  1. The will of God is seen in the fact of salvation. It has its origin in the will of God.
  2. The will of God is seen in the plan of salvation. All things have proceeded, are proceeding, and will proceed according to that plan.
  3. It is seen in the provision of salvation, in the appointment of his own Son to become the mediator the atoning sacrifice, the law fulfiller, the head of the church, that his plan required.
  4. It is seen in the accomplishment of salvation.