David speaks of two very important things in these two chapters (39-40). David speaks out about how we need to be careful to what we say. Now when I was serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the country of Honduras I always found that teaching this to children was far easier than adults. It seems so simple for the innocent… don’t say bad words, don’t say bad things about others… etc. So we can take a page out of this chapter and put it permanently in our mental library. Don’t swear or speak evil of anyone. Pretty simple!
Then David goes on to speak about how his “heart had failed him” and because of this his only way to lift himself up again, was through the Lord. This reminded me of a scripture in Luke which speaks of the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world; “And there shall be signs in the sun and the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and looking after those things which are coming on the earth…” (Luke 21:25-26)
This hit me hard, because I feel like we are currently living in a world where the hearts of men are failing, and the world is falling down around us. But we can be like David and ask for the Lord to send us help, so that he can lift us up again, no matter what we have done. Through our diligence and the help of the Lord, He can help keep our hearts from failing us.
Chapter 39: Control thy Tongue
To the chief Musician, even to Jeduthun, A Psalm of David.
David opens this Psalm with a promise that he made to the Lord; “…I will take heed to my ways, that I sin no with my tongue…” (Psalms 39:1). In other words David shouldn’t be swearing or saying anything evil. This would include gossiping about other people or saying “bad” words.
David says that altogether man is full of vanity; “Excessive pride in or admiration of one’s own appearance or achievements.” We need to avoid this.
Chapter 40: Thy Lord be magnified
To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.
David tells us that the Lord helped him out of a horrible pit, and that the Lord is filled with loving kindness. David tells us of when he was in the moment of pain and anguish and when he looked up to the Lord for help…
“Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O Lord; let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me….innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me… my heart faileth.” (Psalms 40:11-13)
He then asks the Lord; “…make haste to help me.” (Psalms 40:13) David was desperate, afterall his heart had failed him and he felt like there was no way out of his sin, except it is through the Lord.