“My iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am unable to look up; they are more than the hairs of my head; therefore my heart fails me.” (Psalm 40:12)
If we have never felt like the Psalmist, King David, it is doubtful that we have ever drawn near to God and doubtful that we are born of God. Entrance into the kingdom of God is by a broken and contrite heart before God seeking His forgiveness. This verse describes such a one. In our walk with the Lord He will frequently bring us back to this realisation. We are prone to trusting in our own ability to avoid or deliver ourselves from sin but He will endeavour to keep us from that by regular doses of the miry pit clay in a deep pit (v 2).
Anyone who has tried walking in a partially dry clay dam will understand the holding power of wet clay. It sucks off boots and will hold a foot with considerable strength. Add to that a pit and the helplessness of the victim is ensured. This is what King David is describing here. This is how he felt.
We may argue that David had done some grievous sin to provoke this desperate sensation. On another occasion he did sin greatly but that is not what he is describing in this Psalm.
He is describing what the apostle Paul would also describe in his letter to the church in Rome; “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? (Romans 7:24) Paul and David are describing the normal Christian life in which sin in the flesh wars against the Spirit – the new creation in Christ Jesus.
If we can only identify with the words of David and Paul then we should surely examine ourselves to see if we really are in Christ Jesus. We know we are in Christ Jesus when we know the feeling of anguish, sorrow and pain that David and Paul are expressing. This will not be a once in a life time experience but one that will be a regular visitor throughout our Christian life.
Some may attribute this experience to an attack of Satan and put it out of their mind. In so doing they miss the sweetest fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Satan may be the tool the Lord uses but ultimately God sends him on this mission for our blessing. “Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust” (v 4).
There is truth in the statement often made by people who love each other that making up after a ‘fight’ is magic. There is something of the kind when our Holy God has revealed our desperately helpless sinful state afresh and then lifts us out of the “horrible pit” of “miry clay.” Then we will join with David in saying “He has put a new song in my mouth – Praise to our God” (v 3) and with Paul, “I thank God – through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 7:25).”