Grove City College’s Dr. Schaefer, one of many esteemed members of Biblical and Religious Studies (BARS), delivered the message at Chapel on March 23. The message was based on Psalm 40:1-10, and Hebrews 10:5-10. Because the content of chapels was something that appealed to me when considering admissions, and because it is what many students here consider a highlight of their experience, the “Spring Chapel” series will summarize several of these chapels and relay what I as a student see as the key takeaways.
The connection that Dr. Schaefer draws between these passages is that Hebrews is a quotation of Psalm 40. Psalm 40 seems initially like a normal psalm of thanksgiving, but it is actually a lamentation. It is an expression of a clear and present crisis that David is experiencing. As he experiences this, he remembers a time of rescue; the specific instance isn’t clear, but David is recalling a time that he experienced helplessness and hopelessness and God faithfully drew him up out of this pit.
Verses 4-5 show David recognizing that in the midst of life and myriad experiences, hope can only be found in the one living God. The “multiplied wonderful deeds” inspire David to show that hope is trusting.
Verses 6-8 should be read as telling of God’s desire that the people of God reflect on their relationship with Him. The language is strong “here I am” and “I have come,” signifying the “here I am, I have come to do your will,” mentality that God desires his people have. This was certainly David’s spirit in writing Psalm 40.
Verses 9-10 contain David’s proclamation of God’s deliverance. David makes this proclamation as a covenant person in the covenant assembly bringing forth witness testimony to God’s goodness. This highlights the importance of the proclamation of the word in verses 3, 5, 9, and 10. Faith comes by hearing the good news of God and his covenant mercies; just like David, we are to proclaim these mercies to one another because it is how we grow in union and communion.
Throughout the whole of Psalm 40, Dr. Schaefer pointed out that it is God’s magnificent splendor that calls His people together in worship. Worship is meant to be personal, but not kept private; God’s desire is for deeply felt, sincere, corporate worship.