ODJ: Covering David

May 6, 2018 

READ: Psalm 40:1-17 

My sins pile up so high I can’t see my way out (v.12).

During their 1987 Joshua Tree tour, the band U2 closed their shows with “40”, their take on David’s 40th psalm. You might say U2 did a ‘cover’ of King David’s song.

Psalm 40 is a peek inside David’s prayer life. We tend to think of spiritual warfare as primarily mystical—happening in the spiritual world. And it is! But spiritual warfare also takes place in the arena of life’s practicalities as seen in David’s song.

After praising God, the psalmist alludes to a time when God “made [him] listen” (v.6)—apparently gaining his attention through a crisis when he’d cried from “the pit of despair” (vv.1-2). This crisis was probably due to David’s sin, because he reflects on the inadequacy of “sacrifices or offerings” (v.6). But though David had been unfaithful, God remained faithful (v.10).

Then David asked for God’s continued help. Why? Because David was still David—he was human. “Troubles surround me—too many to count! My sins pile up so high I can’t see my way out” (v.12). David had only One to turn to in his spiritual struggles—God.

The letter to the Hebrews in the New Testament encourages believers to “come boldly to the throne of our gracious God” (Hebrews 4:16). Keep in mind, the context here is our temptation—our sin! We need real, practical help in our spiritual warfare. Mercifully, we have a great “High Priest” (Jesus), who “understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin” (v.15).

Just as God’s intervention covered David, the mediation of our High Priest Jesus covers us. We can pray boldly, as David did, “O my God, do not delay” (Psalm 40:17). His “unfailing love and faithfulness” are present with us (v.10).

—Tim Gustafson

365-day plan: Esther 5:1-14

Read 1 John 5:14 and consider what happens when we seek God in prayer. 
What kinds of things do you ask God for? How do your requests compare to David’s in Psalm 40?