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PSALM 38

Posted on June 4, 2013 at 3:50 PM

Matthew Henry wrote concerning Psalm 38:

This is one of the penitential psalms; it is full of grief and complaint from the beginning to the end. David’s sins and his afflictions are the cause of his grief and the matter of his complaints. It should seem he was now sick and in pain, which reminded him of his sins and helped to humble him for them; he was, at the same time, deserted by his friends and persecuted by his enemies; so that the psalm is calculated for the depth of distress and a complication of calamities. He complains, I. Of God’s displeasure, and of his own sin which provoked God against him (v. 1-5). II. Of his bodily sickness (v. 6-10). III. Of the unkindness of his friends (v. 11). IV. Of the injuries which his enemies did him, pleading his good conduct towards them, yet confessing his sins against God (v. 12-20). Lastly, he concludes the psalm with earnest prayers to God for his gracious presence and help (v. 21, v. 22). In singing this psalm we ought to be much affected with the malignity of sin; and, if we have not such troubles as are here described, we know not how soon we may have, and therefore must sing of them by way of preparation and we know that others have them, and therefore we must sing of the by way of sympathy.A psalm of David to bring to remembrance.

 

O Lord, rebuke me not in thy wrath: neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.

2 For thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore.

3 There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin.

4 For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me.

5 My wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness.

6 I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long.

7 For my loins are filled with a loathsome disease: and there is no soundness in my flesh.

8 I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart.

9 Lord, all my desire is before thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee.

10 My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me.

11 My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my sore; and my kinsmen stand afar off.

12 They also that seek after my life lay snares for me: and they that seek my hurt speak mischievous things, and imagine deceits all the day long.

13 But I, as a deaf man, heard not; and I was as a dumb man that openeth not his mouth.

14 Thus I was as a man that heareth not, and in whose mouth are no reproofs.

15 For in thee, O LORD, do I hope: thou wilt hear, O Lord my God.

16 For I said, Hear me, lest otherwise they should rejoice over me: when my foot slippeth, they magnify themselves against me.

17 For I am ready to halt, and my sorrow is continually before me.

18 For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.

19 But mine enemies are lively, and they are strong: and they that hate me wrongfully are multiplied.

20 They also that render evil for good are mine adversaries; because I follow the thing that good is.

21 Forsake me not, O LORD: O my God, be not far from me.

22 Make haste to help me, O Lord my salvation.

 

Before we begin looking at the message in these words, let us break it down so we can focus on sections at a time.

God’s Retribution - 38:1-3

Sin’s Ramifications - 38:4-10

Other’s Reactions - 38:11-12

Personal Repentance - 38:13-20

Protective Request - 38:21-22

Ultimately, people fail to acknowledge God the Father, Christ the Son, and God the Holy Spirit because said people view themselves in a light where the ideal of sin and a supernatural Savior dying yet living again fades. Everyone thinks they are a good person and their decisions are validated because God is a loving god that just wants happiness for all. This is why the first three verses may not make sense to you if you are more in love with the thought of being a good person because David was admitting his sinful mistakes and need for punishment-just not punishment administered in anger.

O Lord, rebuke me not in thy wrath: neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.

2 For thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore.

3 There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin.

How many times have you lost sleep at night over something you did that was wrong? Verse 3 rings true, folks.

 

I went to a funeral many years ago and the well-meaning preacher read that the wages of sin are death. The majority of the mourners while knowing the scripture felt like the preacher meant their loved one died from a sin. Now, even the most educated theologians with degrees adorning their walls can never know the will of God. He has given us his Word-and we know, love, fear i.e. respect him, but only our arrogance can claim to know all God’s mysterious ways. I say this because as scripture shows, in the past God used sickness to punish sin, but not always.

Ole Herod (ACTS 12:21-23):

21 And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them.

22 And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man.

23 And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.

Abusing The Lord’s Supper (Acts 11:29-32):

29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.

32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

Now back to Psalm 38:4-10:

4 For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me.

5 My wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness.

6 I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long.

7 For my loins are filled with a loathsome disease: and there is no soundness in my flesh.

8 I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart.

9 Lord, all my desire is before thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee.

10 My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me.

     To fully understand, we have to be broken perhaps mentally and physically like David. He was chosen by God to be the king of Israel. He rose to power as most of you know, but sinned against God with another man’s wife. David’s family life spiraled out of control worse than Days of Our Lives. I say this only to say, “We need to be more like David.” Not sinful and broken, but humble with our eyes on God alone. Verses 4-10 show us David’s condition. Yet, he still focuses on the only one that can save him. Matthew Henry commentated, “ Nothing will disquiet the heart of a good man so much as the sense of God’s anger, which shows what a fearful thing it is to fall into his hands. The way to keep the heart quiet is to keep ourselves in the love of God and to do nothing to offend him. He acknowledges his sin to be the procuring provoking cause of all his troubles, and groans more under the load of guilt than any other load.”

     Was the physical failings punishment from God? I don’t know. I do know that God is the greatest parent of all. Today, a lot of kids are falling away from church into darkness and evil. Why? I don’t blame them believe it or not. Hey, Mommas, Daddys, get off your butts and raise your kids. Stop tanning with them, buying alcohol, hanging out like an older, creepy, fraternity brother and lead them by example as opposed to running with them. How can I be so self-righteous and be as I am sure some are saying “judgy”? Read one example of how God, the great parent disciplines his children. If he does it right, Momma and Daddy, shouldn’t we follow his lead?

Hebews 12:5-11 NLT

5 And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children?[a] He said,

“My child,[b] don’t make light of the LORD’s discipline,

and don’t give up when he corrects you.

6 For the LORD disciplines those he loves,

and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”

7 As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? 8 If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. 9 Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever?[d]

10 For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. 11 No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.

     In times of trouble, we often find who our real friends are. Verses 11-12 paint a very sad picture of David’s Facebook page so to speak:

11 My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my sore; and my kinsmen stand afar off.

12 They also that seek after my life lay snares for me: and they that seek my hurt speak mischievous things, and imagine deceits all the day long.

     If it were not bad enough to have your friends and family distance themselves from you, those other people who are out to get you constantly lay traps for you and run their mouths against you. What is the most natural, fleshy response? I know some of you have already got the torches and the butter socks ready, but that response is not the way at all. Verses 13:20 show the way:

But I, as a deaf man, heard not; and I was as a dumb man that openeth not his mouth.

14 Thus I was as a man that heareth not, and in whose mouth are no reproofs.

15 For in thee, O LORD, do I hope: thou wilt hear, O Lord my God.

16 For I said, Hear me, lest otherwise they should rejoice over me: when my foot slippeth, they magnify themselves against me.

17 For I am ready to halt, and my sorrow is continually before me.

18 For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.

19 But mine enemies are lively, and they are strong: and they that hate me wrongfully are multiplied.

20 They also that render evil for good are mine adversaries; because I follow the thing that good is.

     These seven verses can be summed up simply by reciting the old nursery rhyme about stones and sticks. David by comparing himself to a deaf man that does not speak is paralleling Christ’s behavior by staying quiet before His accusers. It is hard for us to stay quiet and not lash out like a wild cobra. If we have been wronged, we want to charge out fighting with words and weapons to avenge our self-perceived “good honor.” In reality, we honor God through these times by not engaging in such useless verbal tirades. In other words, we simply stay quiet. Psalm 38 ends with David praying for protection. That friend, in this day and time is what we should do as well. Pray.

 

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