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For the director of music. For Jeduthun. A psalm of David.


[Preliminary Comments: From the title, Jeduthun was a musician at the Tabernacle [1 Chron 16:38-41] who was still around at the time of the dedication of the Temple by Solomon [2 Chron 5:12]. He is also referred to in Psa 62 & 77. This is clearly a song for him to use.

This quite remarkable psalm recognises that before a holy God we are lost, helpless and hopeless and with no excuse, and all we can do is plead for His mercy – undeserved good on His part.]



v.1 David had resolved to keep quiet


v.1  I said, “I will watch my ways
    and keep my tongue from sin;
I will put a muzzle on my mouth
    while in the presence of the wicked.”

v.2,3 Yet an awareness growing within him eventually could be held in no longer


v.2  So I remained utterly silent,
    not even saying anything good.
But my anguish increased;
v.3  my heart grew hot within me.
While I meditated, the fire burned;
    then I spoke with my tongue:


v.4-6 As he had thought about life, it seemed fleeting and transient


v.4  “Show me, Lord , my life's end
    and the number of my days;
    let me know how fleeting my life is.
v.5  You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
    the span of my years is as nothing before you.
Everyone is but a breath,
    even those who seem secure.

v.6  “Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom;
    in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth
    without knowing whose it will finally be.


v.7,8 This left him feeling that his only hope was in the Lord, who could save him


v.7  “But now, Lord, what do I look for?
    My hope is in you.
v.8  Save me from all my transgressions;
    do not make me the scorn of fools.

v.9-11 He accepted the Lord's discipline in his life


v.9  I was silent; I would not open my mouth,
    for you are the one who has done this.
v.10  Remove your scourge from me;
    I am overcome by the blow of your hand.
v.11  When you rebuke and discipline anyone for their sin,
    you consume their wealth like a moth—
    surely everyone is but a breath.


v.12,13 So all he could do is plead for mercy [undeserved grace and help]


v.12  “Hear my prayer, Lord ,
    listen to my cry for help;
    do not be deaf to my weeping.
I dwell with you as a foreigner,
    a stranger, as all my ancestors were.
v.13  Look away from me, that I may enjoy life again
    before I depart and am no more.”



[Additional Thoughts: The message is clear, if not unpalatable by those who would make excuses for their sinful attitudes and behaviour: before a holy God, the reality is that everything about our lives – in respect of God – is to do with mercy and grace, a reliance on His undeserved love and goodness.]



Continue to Psa 40