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Psalms 40:6-10 You Don’t Require Burnt Offerings

Posted by adventbiblestudy on January 11, 2014


Psalms 40:6-10 NLTse You take no delight in sacrifices or offerings. Now that you have made me listen, I finally understand– you don’t require burnt offerings or sin offerings(7) Then I said, “Look, I have come. As is written about me in the Scriptures: (8) I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart.” (9) I have told all your people about your justice. I have not been afraid to speak out, as you, O LORD, well know. (10) I have not kept the good news of your justice hidden in my heart; I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power. I have told everyone in the great assembly of your unfailing love and faithfulness.

 

It’s not difficult to see the key words in Psalms 40:6-10 are offerings and the similar words told, speak, and talk. This tells us the parallel chapter will have something to do with telling, or being told about offerings. This is also an easy prophecy to find because Jesus quoted a portion of David’s Psalm. Actually Matthew records two events when Jesus quoted this Psalm. The first account is in Matthew chapter 9, which we will study here. The second is in Matthew chapter 12 you can study on your own. We can’t help but notice the unusual statement in Psalms 40:6. You take no delight in sacrifices or offeringsNow that you have made me listen, I finally understand— you don’t require burnt offerings or sin offerings. Something made David listen. Somehow God caught David’s attention. Looking at previous verses we see God performed many wonders to get David’s attention. Its a shame David didn’t list them. We do find a surprise answer in the parallel chapter. One of God’s wonders is how He wrote His book so texts are weaved together to tell a fuller, more amazing story that teaches us a much deeper lesson most people miss.

 

Matthew 9:9-13 NLTse As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector‘s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him. (10) Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. (11) But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?” (12) When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor–sick people do.” (13) Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”

 

What a wonderful site to see when God’s Word reveals itself, connecting one series of verses to another. In Psalm 40, David used the key words told, speak, and talked to point us to parallel texts. Jesus quoted from Psalm 40 to lead the Pharisees back to scripture so they could learn the lesson we’re about to examine. One of the lessons they should have learned is how to listen which is a lesson we struggle with today. Which leads us to a serious subject. Not many people will be able to see wonders in God’s Word because they have little or no desire to learn. Like the Pharisees, they’ve been taught to separate themselves from the world. They’ve been told they are better than everyone else. Teachers have gone far enough to tell them it could be dangerous for them to listen to other people, or worse yet, someone may have convinced them it’s their job to preach the message they’ve been given by their so called religious leaders. Like the Pharisees any message from God is lost. They can’t see anything new in scripture because they’ve been told they know everything already. How can an infinite God run out of lessons for this lost and sinful world? How can people think for a moment they have all the answers while living in a world of sin? “Healthy people don’t need a doctor–sick people do.” Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” David added vital details to this lesson hundreds of years before Jesus tried to teach the lesson. ” Now that you have made me listen, I finally understand.”

 

The Pharisees already judged the tax collectors, including Matthew, one of the people Jesus called to follow Him and God choose to write one of the gospels. Jesus would not have called Matthew if He didn’t see Matthew’s ability to learn. God placed such a compelling lesson in scripture for a reason. Many Christians have done the same thing throughout history and are still going it today – condemning entire groups of people based on nothing more than their membership in a particular church. Some churches claim they are God’s remnant church and condemn every other church. Jesus’ response hasn’t changed. He always ministered to everyone regardless of where they were in their walk with God. Think of it, who did Jesus call? Jesus called people the church rejected. For the most part, people who followed Jesus were outcasts from the established religion. They could see the God the priests and Pharisees missed.

 

Jesus used extremes to teach a simple lesson. In Matthew 9 the Pharisees condemned an entire group and weren’t afraid to voice their opinion. Looking at Jesus, the Pharisees couldn’t see He is the Son of God. Not even when Jesus sent them back to Psalm 40. Look what they missed. “Look, I have come. As is written about me in the Scriptures: I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart.” Jesus fulfilled this prophecy before their eyes, but they couldn’t see it. They had no way of understanding scripture or prophecy because they didn’t know Jesus. Pride kept the Pharisees from seeing how Jesus was fulfilling prophecy recorded in Psalm 40. “I have told all your people about your justice. I have not been afraid to speak out, as you, O LORD, well know. I have not kept the good news of your justice hidden in my heart; I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power. I have told everyone in the great assembly of your unfailing love and faithfulness.” Its sad to see so many Christians today with little regard or respect for the prophecies Jesus fulfilled and the lessons He tried to teach.

 

We can’t assume we’ve located parallel chapters without comparing introductions and summations. Finding an Old Testament prophecy quoted in the New Testament isn’t enough. We have to first compare surrounding texts and key words and themes both authors repeated in the related texts, then the introductions and summations.

 

Once we locate a prophecy Jesus fulfilled, we take the surrounding texts directly related to it. The first step is to highlight key words that are the same, similar, and related. This allows God’s Word to establish both the main theme and guide us to the fulfillment recorded in the New Testament. Some times the fulfillment is repeated. In some cases the prophecy will be fulfilled by Jesus and His disciples. This shows us how close we’re supposed to follow Jesus and what to expect. When this happens we’ll find texts in the chapter containing the prophecy giving us hope and promises of a better life in Heaven. Some times we see the prophecy quoted by Jesus more than once. This calls extra attention to how important the lesson is.

 

When we compare key words in both New and Old Testament chapters, deeper spiritual lessons emerge. One text supports another combining details only God could have placed in His Word. When we consider time between the two books and personalities of the authors, we begin to understand how God communicates with His Spirit and how consistent He is. Once we understand God’s consistency, study becomes easier. We see connecting key words, thoughts, emotions, and lessons on more than a physical level as God’s Spirit guides us into the spiritual aspects of the lesson taught when chapters are studied together. We know we found the right New Testament chapter when we compare the first few verses called the introduction. Like any well composed letters, the first few sentences in God’s letters to us contain the main thought. The last couple of verses are also compared between chapters. This is called the summation. The same is true with letters. The last few sentences contain a short summary of the main point the author is writing about. Parallel chapters will teach the same lesson using either similar or contrasting examples. Even though Psalm 40 is quoted in Matthew 9, to get the fullest understanding of the two chapters we need to compare the introductions to see if they share the same theme.

 

Psalms 40:1-5 NLTse I waited patiently for the LORD to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. (2) He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. (3) He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the LORD. (4) Oh, the joys of those who trust the LORD, who have no confidence in the proud or in those who worship idols. (5) O LORD my God, you have performed many wonders for us. Your plans for us are too numerous to list. You have no equal. If I tried to recite all yourwonderful deeds, I would never come to the end of them.

 

Matthew 9:1-8 NLTse Jesus climbed into a boat and went back across the lake to his own town. (2) Some people brought to him a paralyzed man on a mat. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “Be encouraged, my child! Your sins are forgiven.” (3) But some of the teachers of religious law said to themselves, “That’s blasphemy! Does he think he’s God?” (4) Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you have such evil thoughts in your hearts? (5) Is it easier to say ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up and walk’? (6) So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesusturned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” (7) And the man jumped up and went home! (8) Fear swept through the crowd as they saw this happen. And they praised God for sending a man with such great authority.

 

Could God have put us in a better position to learn how to see a prophecy and its fulfillment? David’s prayer talks about a faithful man patiently waiting for God to lift him out of a pit of despair and place his feet on solid ground. Look at the way David includes the words, “as I walked along.” Compare that to the story in Matthew 9 where Jesus heals a paralyzed man. That man lived years in his own pit of despair. He had to rely on other people to cater to his every need. He had to eat what he was given, wear what he had, look at the scene where he was placed, and talk to those who would listen. What could he talk about living such a restricted life? He was completely restricted. He couldn’t even go to the bathroom on his own. His condition disgusted most people. Its amazing anyone helped or cared for him. Imagine being totally dependent on others. It brings a feeling of worthlessness which becomes a daily battle. The man knew there was more to life. Everyday he saw people walking around, shopping, cooking, smiling, laughing, holding, hugging, making their own decisions. The man longed to live a normal life. Look at who God introduced into the story, religious leaders who create a contrast to teach a spiritual lesson. The religious leaders could walk with no problems. They didn’t have to rely on anyone. They had no need to develop faith in God like the paralyzed man had. Compare the paralyzed man to religion today where the majority of people willing depend on religious leaders for everything. They become spiritually paralyzed. They rely on someone to come along to spiritually feed and cloth them. Spiritually paralyzed people only see the scene someone places in front of them. They have no spiritual freedom. This is the life of most Christians today.

 

We have to look at the full context to understand a few of the spiritual points. Jesus climbed into a boat and went back across the lake to his own town. Jesus came from the other side of the lake where Gentiles lived. This fact is evident when we look at the previous story and see pig farmers lived on the other side of the lake. They certainly weren’t Jews. This was one of the reasons the religious leaders opposed Jesus, He associated with pork eaters. Imagine condemning a man based on who he associated with and what they ate.

 

Repeated words and terms also identify the context. Jesus repeated the words, “forgive sins,” in Matthew 9 for a reason. Jesus addressed the paralyzed man and his physical condition, but what Jesus really wanted to do was spiritually heal the religious leaders. We see that point emphasized when we compare it to Psalm 40. “Oh, the joys of those who trust the LORD, who have no confidence in the proud or in those who worship idols. O LORD my God, you have performed many wonders for us. Your plans for us are too numerous to list. You have no equal.” Notice how David used the word idols. The religious leaders had their own idols. Jesus used this illustration to make another point. The religious leaders had the worst kind of idol known as self. Jesus wanted them to know they were forgiven and His ministry was to reach out to them. But pride kept them from understanding the miracles He performed and for what purpose. The lessons build throughout the chapter. After looking at the summation we learn an important lesson Jesus taught His disciples – how to look back and compare events.

 

Psalms 40:11-17 NLTse LORD, don’t hold back your tender mercies from me. Let your unfailing love and faithfulness always protect me. (12) For troubles surround me– too many to count! My sins pile up so high I can’t see my way out. They outnumber the hairs on my head. I have lost all courage. (13) Please, LORD, rescue me! Come quickly, LORD, and help me. (14) May those who try to destroy me be humiliated and put to shame. May those who take delight in my trouble be turned back indisgrace. (15) Let them be horrified by their shame, for they said, “Aha! We’ve got him now!” (16) But may all who search for you be filled with joy and gladness in you. May those who love your salvation repeatedly shout, “The LORD is great!” (17) As for me, since I am poor and needy, let the Lord keep me in his thoughts. You are my helper and my savior. O my God, do not delay.

 

Matthew 9:32-38 NLTse When they left, a demon-possessed man who couldn’t speak was brought to Jesus. (33) So Jesus cast out the demon, and then the man began to speak. The crowds were amazed. “Nothing like this has ever happened in Israel!” they exclaimed. (34) But the Pharisees said, “He can cast out demonsbecause he is empowered by the prince of demons.” (35) Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcingthe Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. (36) When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. (37) He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. (38) So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”

 

We can compare the summation of Psalm 40 in a number of ways. The first rule of context tells us to compare the summation to the introduction in the chapter to understand the theme. In Psalm 40, David waits patiently for help from the LORD who lifts him out of a pit of despair. David receives a new song in his heart as he praises God. Many are amazed at what God has done as they learn to put their trust in Him. In the summation to David’s prayer he asks God not to withhold His mercy and proclaims God’s unfailing love. David is surrounded by troubles and lost all courage. He asks God to save him. David’s enemies are humiliated and disgraced.

 

In Matthew’s introduction to chapter 9, Jesus crossed the lake from the Gentle side to the Jewish shore. Some people brought a paralyzed man to Jesus. Instead of only physically healing the man, Jesus tells him his sins are forgiven. This infuriated the religious leaders hanging around to see what Jesus was up to. Jesus asked them a simple question. “Why do you have such evil thoughts in your hearts? Is it easier to say ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up and walk’?” Jesus healed the man who jumped up and walked home. Once again Jesus heals a man in the summation where He casts a demon out of a man. As usual the religious leaders are there opposing Jesus at every step. This time the Pharisees accuse Jesus of using Satan to cast out demons.

 

In both Psalm 40 and Matthew we see problems. God came to David’s rescue and healed through Jesus. Another important step in detailed Bible Study is to compare the sequence of events. This is one example of looking back in scripture, a step that reveals a far deeper spiritual message. In Matthew 9, Jesus returned from the Gentile side of the lake where He cast a large group of demons out of a man into a herd of pigs in the previous chapter. What impression was Jesus making? First He healed a Gentile while reaching out to His family and friends. The man wanted to follow Jesus, but He knew the man would not be accepted on the Jewish side of the lake. Jesus sent the man back to His family. The man was to first tell his family what Jesus did for him. Jesus gave the man explicate instructions for a reason. Witnessing to family builds character as well as benefits the family. Witnessing to family is also practice so to speak. It builds faith and support. The man turned out to be one of the greatest evangelist in the New Testament witnessing to a number of towns and villages who later came to see Jesus. When Jesus arrived on the Jewish side of the lake a group brought a paralyzed man to Him. On the Gentile side of the lake pig herders asked Jesus to leave. When demons cast the pigs into the lake to drown, they blamed Jesus. Money was more important to the pig herders than the miracle Jesus performed. In God’s Word the previous the story sheds light on the next story. Now we can see in God’s written Word why religious leaders opposed Jesus. For the same reason pig herders asked Him to leave – money. This fact is revealed in the key words Jesus used. Priests made a living from sacrifices. Priests taught those sacrifices were necessary to forgive sins. Tradition distorted God’s Word. In Moses’ books sacrifices were referred to as an atonement or reminder of past sins. People were required to place their hands on the animal’s head and transfer their sins to the sacrifice. Priests forgot the sacrifice was only a symbol pointing to a far greater fulfillment. They ignored their own rules of interpreting scripture replacing it with doctrine, a problem running freely throughout history and still remains a favored religious practice today. Jesus repeated the words, “forgive sins,” to draw our attention to this detail. Not only does Jesus show how the religious leaders opposing Him in person had a distorted view of sacrifice, He pointed out how this mistake will be repeated throughout history and reach a climax in our day. “Why do you have such evil thoughts in your hearts? Is it easier to say ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up and walk’? So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Why is spiritual healing missing in churches these days? Jesus provided the answer long before churches lost the ability to heal.

 

In the next story Jesus called a tax collector, Matthew to follow Him. One of the similarities to the previous story is opposition form religious leaders, this time Pharisees. Matthew invited Jesus and His disciples to dinner. The Pharisees invited themselves in so they could spread their poison and damper Jesus’ ministry in every way they could imagine. This time they complained about the people Jesus was eating with. The Pharisees showed how they prejudged every tax collector based on their job. This illustrates how judgment will be a problem throughout history. Jesus told the Pharisees, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” When Jesus quoted scripture, He didn’t do it only for the people in front of Him but everyone led to His Word. Jesus sent the Pharisees back to Psalm 40 to learn a lesson, a lesson we need just as much today – maybe more so.

 

What do these stories have in common and how do they relate to Psalm 40? Pig farmers judged Jesus based on their first impression, which was a loss of income. Religious leaders judged Jesus based on their first impression, a loss of income fearing Jesus would teach people the truth about how sins are forgiven. The Pharisees also showed another side of judgment when they condemned all tax collectors. This series of stories shows how wrongful judgment spreads. It also shows a point most people agree with but are afraid to face. Judging any group or individual is the same as judging Jesus or as the pig farmers did, ask Him to leave. Judging destroys faith, the faith to heal both physically and spiritually. If we opened our eyes we would see a world void of physical and spiritual healing. David warned about this in his prayer. “May those who try to destroy me be humiliated and put to shame. May those who take delight in my trouble be turned back in disgrace. Let them be horrified by their shame, for they said, “Aha! We’ve got him now!”

 

In the last story in Matthew 9, Jesus casts a demon out of another man. This time Pharisees accused Jesus of casting out demons through Satan. The demon kept the man from speaking. In all these miracles the religious leaders and Pharisees could not appreciate Jesus’ power or see the message. They refused to look at the scripture Jesus sent them to, “you don’t require burnt offerings or sin offerings.” Then I said, “Look, I have come. As is written about me in the Scriptures: I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart.” I have told all your people about your justice. I have not been afraid to speak out, as you, OLORD, well know. I have not kept the good news of your justice hidden in my heart; I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power. I have told everyone in the great assembly of your unfailing love and faithfulness.” The question is, why don’t people today listen to Jesus’ word and look at scripture He points them to? Why are people like the religious leaders, Pharisees, and pig farmers who judged Jesus and others? Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.” Jesus reached out to hundreds and thousands of people even though He knew only a few would listen and be willing to follow and work. Now we can see the connection between demons and the inability to speak, or teach about Jesus.

 

We’ve only covered a fraction of the lessons taught between these two chapters. Jesus healed other people and taught other lessons. It’s up to you to review the other stories with God’s Spirit to see what lessons are revealed in them and the sequence when compared to previous stories. The stories are there to be discovered and written about. Jesus also did many other things. If they were all written down, I suppose the whole world could not contain the books that would be written. (John 21:25 NLTse). It’s time to start working on that harvest.

 

I know only a few people will ever read this. Fewer people will actually take time to look at the other stories in Matthew 9 and study them through prayer to see the spiritual connections teaching deeper lessons. For the few who’ve read this far, I’ll share one important point. Look at all the characters in the stories and ask what they all have in common.

 

Demon possessed man living among pig farmers.

A paralyzed man.

Tax collectors.

A leader of the synagogue who went to Jesus for help.

A woman with an issue of blood for years.

A demon possessed man who couldn’t speak.

 

One thing all these people shared was they were all rejected by the religious leaders. Jesus placed this sequence here as an illustration. Most people join a church to be accepted. But are they really learning anything, finding what they are looking for, or developing a personal relationship with Jesus? It seems the more you learn about God’s character the less your accepted by church leaders. That’s not always the case, but it’s common in today’s churches. When you find and respond to Jesus’ love from Heaven, rejection can be quite natural. Don’t be offended when people don’t understand. Don’t be surprised when people don’t want to share in your joy. As long as your healed, you can get up and walk home while those other people are stuck looking at the scene they placed themselves in, eating the same food and wearing the same clothes day after day, week after week. Eventually they may see what they are missing. 

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