PSALM 40 begins: “I waited patiently for the Lord; And he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay; and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.”
Whatever kind of a pit, and whether figurative or literal, matters little. What is certain is that this “horrible pit and miry clay” suggests the experience was something extremely depressing. His particular pit might have been a mental depression brought on by grief, physical weakness, loneliness, or any of the evils which afflict mankind.
To find oneself in such a pit is a fearful experience, and even the righteous can be trapped. They may be perfectly aware of the future joys of the kingdom of God to which their footsteps are bent, yet somehow they slip in. They struggle to get out like a spider in a sink, only to fall back. Then the worrying starts. They become mournful and introspective, or fall to brooding on the contrasting fortunes of others more favourably placed.
But what did David do? He waited patiently for the Lord. And he must have prayed, for he says that God inclined unto him and heard his cry. He was wise enough to know that he could not scramble out of that pit on his own. He had to wait and pray.
CATHERINE MORGAN, Think on These Things, pages 7,8.
40I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD. Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies. Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered. Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart. I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O LORD, thou knowest. I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation. Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O LORD: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me. For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me. Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me: O LORD, make haste to help me. Let them be ashamed and confounded together that seek after my soul to destroy it; let them be driven backward and put to shame that wish me evil. Let them be desolate for a reward of their shame that say unto me, Aha, aha. Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: let such as love thy salvation say continually, The LORD be magnified. But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God.