Written of Me in the Scroll: Psalm 40


Psalm 40

 

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

1 I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he inclined to me and heard my cry.
2 He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
    out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
    making my steps secure.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
    a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
    and put their trust in the Lord.


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4 Blessed is the man who makes
    the Lord his trust,
who does not turn to the proud,
    to those who go astray after a lie!
5 You have multiplied, O Lord my God,
    your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
    none can compare with you!
I will proclaim and tell of them,
    yet they are more than can be told.

6 In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted,
    but you have given me an open ear.
Burnt offering and sin offering
    you have not required.
7 Then I said, “Behold, I have come;
    in the scroll of the book it is written of me:
8 I delight to do your will, O my God;
    your law is within my heart.”

9 I have told the glad news of deliverance
    in the great congregation;
behold, I have not restrained my lips,
    as you know, O Lord.

10 I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart;
    I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
    from the great congregation.

11 As for you, O Lord, you will not restrain
    your mercy from me;
your steadfast love and your faithfulness will
    ever preserve me!
12 For evils have encompassed me
    beyond number;
my iniquities have overtaken me,
    and I cannot see;
they are more than the hairs of my head;
    my heart fails me.

13 Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me!
    O Lord, make haste to help me!
14 Let those be put to shame and disappointed altogether
    who seek to snatch away my life;
let those be turned back and brought to dishonor
    who delight in my hurt!
15 Let those be appalled because of their shame
    who say to me, “Aha, Aha!”

16 But may all who seek you
    rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation
    say continually, “Great is the Lord!”
17 As for me, I am poor and needy,
    but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
    do not delay, O my God!

  

The Old Testament Testifies to Christ

To those who do not believe in Jesus Christ, the Bible is just  classic literature; but to the disciples of Christ, the Bible is God’s word, a way of life, and the testimony of Christ. The whole Bible is telling the story of one man: Jesus Christ. Although Psalm 40 was written by David, a thousand years later the New Testament writer of Hebrews quoted verses 6-8 as referring to Jesus: “Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “‘Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure.’ Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’”

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“In Christ, we see the predestined end of history and the direction of the whole world. Our prayers and praise are not based on the expectations of our own hearts, but on the faithful promises of God.

In order to understand the mystery of the Scriptures, we must be illuminated by the Holy Spirit. The Old Testament was written in preparation for the coming of Jesus, the source of our salvation hope. The New Testament tells us to rejoice and be glad, for this hope he has come. Our salvation is secure, for the rock of our salvation is Christ.

The difficulties we encounter (as well as the temptation to sin we fall into as we endure these hardships) make it clear we are not our own savior. Our righteous deeds cannot save us. As verse 6 says: “‘Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, in burnt offerings and sin offerings, you have taken no pleasure.’” The sacrifice God wants is a perfectly obedient heart—and this eternal atonement was offered by Christ, who prepared and laid down his body for us.

We can joyfully come praise the Lord, for he showed, from the beginning, the things that are yet to come. In ancient times, he spoke of things that had not yet been done. Christ was from the beginning, and he is the true God who became flesh. In all our trials, we see the hope embodied in Christ. In Christ, we see the predestined end of history and the direction of the whole world. Our prayers and praise are not based on the expectations of our own hearts, but on the faithful promises of God.

The Sin-Bearing Lamb

 Christians live in a duality of time and space. We know that from eternity God has all authority and power. Yet looking at life, sin seems to be in power in this world. Every day, countless bad news streams in. We seem to see a living hell on earth, and as we look closely at our hearts, we find them full of indifference, selfishness, laziness, pride, and adultery. These sins haunt and chase us, chilling our hearts.

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“In modern Chinese society, every few days some breaking news we do not know how to respond to is brought to our attention. Opinions surround us, and we feel forced to take part.

In modern Chinese society, every few days some breaking news we do not know how to respond to is brought to our attention. Opinions surround us, and we feel forced to take part. Our conscience is not free and peaceful, and we cannot handle the anger and helplessness in our hearts. But the vanity and suffering of life and the ugliness and sin of the world make even more clear how greatly we need a Savior. Where sin abounds, grace abounds.

In a society filled with sin and affliction, we feel this same way as we read the laments of the Psalms. We pray with urgency: “Lord, be gracious and deliver me; help me quickly.” In the midst of trouble, we must humble ourselves. Weeping, we are willing to confess we are poor and needy sinners. At the same time, we deeply understand that God is our help in time of need: “Lord, do not leave me to myself, but give me an obedient and submissive heart. May I more and more see how ‘in the scroll of the book it is written’ of Christ: your salvation has been accomplished and your sacrifice is perfect.” (v. 7)

Christ has already borne ugliness, misery, and the burden of sin in this life. He is the sin-bearing Lamb; he tasted death; he bore our burdens; he rose victoriously. Because of this, when we come to face the hardships of our circumstances and the evil of our own hearts, we are to cry out to him. One pastor said, “I confess that, if I had not experienced the painful desperation of isolation, I would not have come to God in frantic prayer. I would never have experienced the power of the gospel and of God’s service to us.”

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“Christ has already borne ugliness, misery, and the burden of sin in this life. He is the sin-bearing Lamb; he tasted death; he bore our burdens; he rose victoriously.

Lord, in the midst of a suffering world and in the throes of the battle of the flesh, help us to see the suffering Christ, the one who“learned obedience through what he suffered” and was made perfect. Let us focus our hope on Christ, the Almighty who was, is, and will be forever, the Son of Man who daily carries our burdens. What he has done is written “in the scroll,” and the salvation he has obtained is sure. (v. 7) Let us rejoice and be glad!

Brother Fan is a pseudonym for a preacher at an urban house church in southwest China.

    


We are using the Psalms to guide our prayers for China

In 2022, our prayer movement is turning to the scriptural prayers found in the Psalms as we pray for the Chinese church. When you join our prayer movement, you will receive weekly prayer emails and a monthly newsletter so that you too can pray for our brothers and sisters in China.

  

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LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA

With rising pressure and persecution in China, there are two challenges imperative for church leaders. The first challenge is for current leaders to love Christ above all else, and not to stray into legalism or love of the world. The second challenge is to raise up the next generation of leaders, who will humbly model Jesus even if current leaders are arrested.

WILL YOU JOIN US IN PRAYING FOR LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA? PRAY FOR:

  1. Current leaders to grow in their daily walks with Christ
  2. Current leaders to shepherd and raise up new leaders
  3. New leaders who love Christ and will model him to the world
  4. New leaders to love and care for the church

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ABOUT LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

About Shenyang

Shenyang is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Liaoning Province. It is known for its rich history and cultural heritage, including the Shenyang Imperial Palace, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Shenyang is also a hub for China’s heavy industry, with companies such as the China First Automobile Group and the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation having their headquarters in the city.

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About Qingdao

Qingdao is a city located in eastern China and is famous for its beaches, beer, and seafood. The city is home to several landmarks, including the Zhanqiao Pier and the Badaguan Scenic Area. Qingdao is also a major port and has a thriving economy, with industries such as electronics, petrochemicals, and machinery.

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About Xiamen

Xiamen is a city located in southeastern China and is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful coastal scenery, including Gulangyu Island, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city is also a hub for China’s high-tech industry, with companies such as Huawei and ZTE having research and development centers in Xiamen.

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About Chongqing

Chongqing is a city located in southwestern China and is a major economic center in the region. The city is known for its spicy cuisine, especially its hot pot dishes, and is also famous for the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric dam. Chongqing is also home to several historic sites, including the Dazu Rock Carvings, which are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

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About Nanjing

Nanjing is a city located in eastern China and is the capital of Jiangsu Province. It is one of China’s ancient capitals and has a rich cultural history, including the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum, the Nanjing City Wall, and the Confucius Temple. Nanjing is also a modern city with a thriving economy and is home to several universities, including Nanjing University and Southeast University.

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About Changchun

Changchun is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Jilin Province. It is known for its rich cultural heritage and is home to several historical landmarks such as the Puppet Emperor’s Palace and the Jingyuetan National Forest Park. Changchun is also a hub for China’s automotive industry, with several major automobile manufacturers having their headquarters in the city.

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About Guangzhou

Guangzhou, also known as Canton, is a city located in southern China and is the capital of Guangdong Province. It is one of the country’s largest and most prosperous cities, serving as a major transportation and trading hub for the region. Guangzhou is renowned for its modern architecture, including the Canton Tower and the Guangzhou Opera House, as well as its Cantonese cuisine, which is famous for its variety and bold flavors. The city also has a rich history, with landmarks such as the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, and the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees. Additionally, Guangzhou hosts the annual Canton Fair, the largest trade fair in China.

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About Kunming

Kunming is a city located in southwest China and is the capital of Yunnan Province. Known as the “City of Eternal Spring” for its mild climate, Kunming is a popular tourist destination due to its natural beauty and cultural diversity. The city is home to several scenic spots, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Stone Forest, Dian Lake, and the Western Hills. Kunming is also famous for its unique cuisine, which features a mix of Han, Yi, and Bai ethnic flavors. The city has a rich cultural history, with ancient temples and shrines like the Yuantong Temple and the Golden Temple, and it’s also a hub for Yunnan’s ethnic minority cultures, such as the Yi and Bai peoples.

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About Shenzhen

Shenzhen is a city located in southeastern China and is one of the country’s fastest-growing metropolises. The city is renowned for its thriving tech industry, with companies such as Huawei, Tencent, and DJI having their headquarters in Shenzhen. The city also has a vibrant cultural scene, with numerous museums, art galleries, and parks. Shenzhen is also known for its modern architecture, such as the Ping An Finance Center and the Shenzhen Bay Sports Center. Despite its modernization, Shenzhen also has a rich history and cultural heritage, with landmarks such as the Dapeng Fortress and the Chiwan Tin Hau Temple.

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About Chengdu

Chengdu is a city located in the southwestern region of China, and the capital of Sichuan province. It has a population of over 18 million people, and it is famous for its spicy Sichuan cuisine, laid-back lifestyle, and its cute and cuddly residents – the giant pandas. Chengdu is home to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, where visitors can observe these adorable creatures in their natural habitat. The city also boasts a rich cultural heritage, with numerous temples, museums, and historical sites scattered throughout its boundaries. Chengdu is a city of contrasts, with ancient traditions coexisting alongside modern developments, making it an intriguing and fascinating destination for visitors to China. 

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About Beijing

Beijing is the capital city of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 21 million people. The city has a rich history that spans over 3,000 years, and it has served as the capital of various dynasties throughout China’s history. Beijing is home to some of the most iconic landmarks in China, including the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven. The city is also a hub for political, cultural, and educational activities, with numerous universities and research institutions located within its boundaries. Beijing is renowned for its traditional architecture, rich cuisine, and vibrant cultural scene, making it a must-visit destination for travelers to China.

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About Shanghai

Shanghai is a vibrant and dynamic city located on the eastern coast of China. It is the largest city in China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 24 million people. Shanghai is a global financial hub and a major center for international trade, with a rich history and culture that spans over 1,000 years. The city is famous for its iconic skyline, which features towering skyscrapers such as the Oriental Pearl Tower and the Shanghai Tower. Shanghai is also home to a diverse culinary scene, world-class museums and art galleries, and numerous shopping districts. It is a city that is constantly evolving and reinventing itself, making it a fascinating destination for visitors from around the world.

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