Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Psalms 40:2

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

A horrible pit - Literally, the sounding pit; where nothing was heard except the howlings of wild beasts, or the hollow sounds of winds reverberated and broken from the craggy sides and roof.

The miry clay - Where the longer I stayed the deeper I sank, and was utterly unable to save myself. The Syriac and Arabic translate "The pit of perdition, and the mud of corruption." These are figurative expressions to point out the dreary, dismal, ruinous state of sin and guilt, and the utter inability of a condemned sinner to save himself either from the guilt of his conscience, or the corruption of his heart.

Set my feet upon a rock - Thou hast changed my state from guilt to pardon; from corruption to holiness; in consequence of which my goings are established. I have now power over all sin, and can walk steadily in the way that leads to God's kingdom.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

He brought me up also out of an horrible pit - Margin: “A pit of noise.” The word used here means a pit; a cistern; a prison; a dungeon; a grave. This last signification of the word is found in Psalm 28:1; Psalm 30:4; Psalm 88:4; Isaiah 38:18; Isaiah 14:19. It may refer to any calamity - or to trouble, like being in a pit - or it may refer to the grave. The word rendered “horrible” - שׁאון shâ'ôn - means properly “noise, uproar, tumult,” as of waters; of a crowd of men; of war. Then it seems to be used in the sense of “desolation” or “destruction,” as applicable to the grave. DeWette understands it here of a pit, a cavern, or an abyss that roars or is tumultuous; that is, that is impassable. Perhaps this is the idea - a cavern, deep and dark, where the waters roar, and which seems to be filled with horrors. So Rosenmuller understands it. The Septuagint renders it: ἐκ λάκκου ταλαιπωρίας ek lakkou talaipōrias “a lake of misery.” It is a deep and horrid cavern, where there is no hope of being rescued, or where it would seem that there would be certain destruction.

Out of the miry clay - At the bottom of the pit. Where there was no solid ground - no rock on which to stand. See Jeremiah 38:6; Psalm 69:2, Psalm 69:14.

And set my feet upon a rock - Where there was firm standing.

And established my goings - Or, fixed my steps. That is, he enabled me to walk as on solid ground; he conducted me along safely, where there was no danger of descending to the pit again or of sinking in the mire. If we understand this of the Redeemer, it refers to that time when, his sorrows ended, and his work of atonement done, it became certain that he would never be exposed again to such dangers, or sink into such a depth of woes, but that his course ever onward would be one of safety and of glory.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Doubts and fears about the eternal state, are a horrible pit and miry clay, and have been so to many a dear child of God. There is power enough in God to help the weakest, and grace enough to help the unworthiest of all that trust in him. The psalmist waited patiently; he continued believing, hoping, and praying. This is applicable to Christ. His agony, in the garden and on the cross, was a horrible pit and miry clay. But those that wait patiently for God do not wait in vain. Those that have been under religious melancholy, and by the grace of God have been relieved, may apply ver. 2 very feelingly to themselves; they are brought up out of a horrible pit. Christ is the Rock on which a poor soul can alone stand fast. Where God has given stedfast hope, he expects there should be a steady, regular walk and conduct. God filled the psalmist with joy, as well as peace in believing. Multitudes, by faith beholding the sufferings and glory of Christ, have learned to fear the justice and trust in the mercy of God through Him. Many are the benefits with which we are daily loaded, both by the providence and by the grace of God.
Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, 297

I was pointed back to your past life and was shown that God had been very merciful to you in enlightening your eyes to see His truth, in rescuing you from your perilous condition of doubt and uncertainty, and in establishing your faith and settling your mind upon the eternal truths of His word. He established your feet upon the Rock. For a season you felt grateful and humble, but for some time you have been separating yourself from God. When you were little in your own eyes, then you were beloved of God. 2T 297.1

Music has been a snare to you. You are troubled with self-esteem; it is natural for you to have exalted ideas of your own ability. Teaching music has been an injury to you. Many women have confided their family difficulties to you. This has also been an injury to you. It has exalted you and led you to still greater self-esteem. 2T 297.2

In your own family you have occupied a dignified and rather haughty position. There are defects in your wife, of which you are aware. They have led to bad results. She is not naturally a housekeeper. Her education in this direction must be acquired. She has improved some, and should apply herself earnestly to make greater improvement. She lacks order, taste, and neatness in housekeeping and also in dress. It would be pleasing to God if she should train her mind upon these things wherein she lacks. She does not have good government in her family. She is too yielding, and fails to maintain her decisions. She is swayed by the desires and claims of her children, and yields her judgment to theirs. Instead of trying to improve in these respects, as it is her duty to do, she is glad of an opportunity or an excuse to release herself from home cares and responsibilities, and permits others to perform the duties in her family that she should educate herself to love to do. She cannot perform her part as a wife and mother until she shall educate herself in this direction. She lacks confidence in herself. She is timid and retiring, and distrustful of herself. She has a very poor opinion of what she does, and this discourages her from doing more. She needs encouragement; she needs words of tenderness and affection. She has a good spirit. She is meek and quiet, and the Lord loves her; yet she should make thorough efforts to correct these evils which tend to make her family unhappy. Practice in these things will give her confidence in her own ability to perform her duties aright. 2T 297.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, 745

There are, thank God, brighter and more cheering pictures which the Lord has presented to us. Let us group together the blessed assurances of His love as precious treasures, that we may look upon them continually. The Son of God leaving His Father's throne, clothing His divinity with humanity, that He might rescue man from the power of Satan; His triumph in our behalf, opening heaven to man, revealing to human vision the presence chamber where Deity unveils His glory; the fallen race uplifted from the pit of ruin into which sin had plunged them, and brought again into connection with the infinite God, and, having endured the divine test through faith in our Redeemer, clothed in the righteousness of Christ and exalted to His throne—these are the pictures with which God bids us gladden the chambers of the soul. And “while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen,” we shall prove it true that “our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” 5T 745.1

In heaven God is all in all. There holiness reigns supreme; there is nothing to mar the perfect harmony with God. If we are indeed journeying thither, the spirit of heaven will dwell in our hearts here. But if we find no pleasure now in the contemplation of heavenly things; if we have no interest in seeking the knowledge of God, no delight in beholding the character of Christ; if holiness has no attractions for us—then we may be sure that our hope of heaven is vain. Perfect conformity to the will of God is the high aim to be constantly before the Christian. He will love to talk of God, of Jesus, of the home of bliss and purity which Christ has prepared for them that love Him. The contemplation of these themes, when the soul feasts upon the blessed assurances of God, the apostle represents as tasting “the powers of the world to come.” 5T 745.2

Just before us is the closing struggle of the great controversy when, with “all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness,” Satan is to work to misrepresent the character of God, that he may “seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.” If there was ever a people in need of constantly increasing light from heaven, it is the people that, in this time of peril, God has called to be the depositaries of His holy law and to vindicate His character before the world. Those to whom has been committed a trust so sacred must be spiritualized, elevated, vitalized, by the truths they profess to believe. Never did the church more sorely need, and never was God more solicitous that she should enjoy, the experience described in Paul's letter to the Colossians when he wrote: We “do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.” 5T 746.1

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7, 229

Many are utterly discouraged. Because they have been despised and forsaken they have become stoical. They are looked upon as unable to comprehend or to receive the gospel of Christ. Yet by the miracle of divine grace they may be changed. Under the ministration of the Holy Spirit the stupidity that makes their uplifting appear so hopeless will pass away. The dull, clouded mind will awake. The slave of sin will be set free. Spiritual life will revive and strengthen. Vice will disappear, and ignorance will be overcome. Through the faith that works by love the heart will be purified and the mind enlightened. 7T 229.1

There are others among the colored people who have quick perceptions and bright minds. Many of the colored race are rich in faith and trust. God sees among them precious jewels that will one day shine out brightly. The colored people deserve more from the hands of the white people than they have received. There are thousands who have minds capable of cultivation and uplifting. With proper labor, many who have been looked upon as hopeless will become educators of their race. Through the grace of God the race that the enemy has for generations oppressed may rise to the dignity of God-given manhood and womanhood. 7T 229.2

The Lord desires the desert places of the South, where the outlook appears so forbidding, to become as the garden of God. Let our people arouse and redeem the past. The obligation to work for the colored people rests heavily upon us. Shall we not try to repair, as far as lies in our power, the injury that in the past has been done to these people? Shall not the number of missionaries to the South be multiplied? Shall we not hear of many volunteers who are ready to enter this field to bring souls out of darkness and ignorance into the marvelous light in which we rejoice? God will pour out His Spirit upon those who respond to His call. In the strength of Christ they may do a work that will fill heaven with rejoicing. 7T 230.1

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Ellen G. White
That I May Know Him, 67.3

From the light of His exalted purity the world's Redeemer could see that the maladies from which the human family were suffering were brought upon them by transgression of the law of God. Every case of suffering He could trace back to its cause. He read the sad and awful history of the final end of unrepenting sinners. He knew that He alone could rescue them from the pit into which they had fallen. He alone could place their feet in the right path. His perfection alone could avail for their imperfection. He alone could cover their nakedness with His own spotless robe of righteousness. TMK 67.3

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