Psalms 38

Psalm 38

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Do Not Forsake Me, O Lord

A Psalm of David, for the memorial offering.

38   O LORD, rebuke me not in your anger,
    nor discipline me in your wrath!
  For your arrows have sunk into me,
    and your hand has come down on me.
  There is no soundness in my flesh
    because of your indignation;
  there is no health in my bones
    because of my sin.
  For my iniquities have gone over my head;
    like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me.
  My wounds stink and fester
    because of my foolishness,
  I am utterly bowed down and prostrate;
    all the day I go about mourning.
  For my sides are filled with burning,
    and there is no soundness in my flesh.
  I am feeble and crushed;
    I groan because of the tumult of my heart.
  O Lord, all my longing is before you;
    my sighing is not hidden from you.
  My heart throbs; my strength fails me,
    and the light of my eyes—it also has gone from me.
  My friends and companions stand aloof from my plague,
    and my nearest kin stand far off.
  Those who seek my life lay their snares;
    those who seek my hurt speak of ruin
    and meditate treachery all day long.
  But I am like a deaf man; I do not hear,
    like a mute man who does not open his mouth.
  I have become like a man who does not hear,
    and in whose mouth are no rebukes.
  But for you, O LORD, do I wait;
    it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.
  For I said, “Only let them not rejoice over me,
    who boast against me when my foot slips!”
  For I am ready to fall,
    and my pain is ever before me.
  I confess my iniquity;
    I am sorry for my sin.
  But my foes are vigorous, they are mighty,
    and many are those who hate me wrongfully.
  Those who render me evil for good
    accuse me because I follow after good.
  Do not forsake me, O LORD!
    O my God, be not far from me!
  Make haste to help me,
    O Lord, my salvation!


Psalm 38 Commentary

by Hank Workman

The effects of sin are devastating.  Beside the spiritual aspect of it bringing a wall between ourselves and God, it also plays against us emotionally, mentally and sometimes physically.  This is particularly true when our sin can go on for an extended time before we are caught or feel so convicted we repent.

There is something the Holy Spirit does within each of us as we do what we shouldn’t and live with our own mindset as to what we want.  His conviction assaults our minds.  The relentless love of the Father continues to bring the reality of our sin.

The problem is many a time we relegate those thoughts of our wrongdoing to the back and continue forward.  His words and presence still is active but with each dismissal of His voice and rebuke our hearts grow harder.  Sometimes His voice becomes distant.  Our sin has blocked out His penetrating words.  This is why we watch so many who have once tasted of the Lord be swept away by their own desire and ultimately fall out of relationship with Jesus.  We look and wonder how this happened but it was one step at a time, one dismissal of His Word at a time.

David pours out his heart before God over his sin.  This is godly sorrow in action.  He recognizes what he’s done and where he finds himself.  Like a child asking to not be punished for his wrongdoing, he is engulfed in sorrow, grief and even is physically is struggling.  The voice of God has gone silent and he feels alone, isolated.  His separation is a yawning chasm.  And these are the things he’s experiencing personally.  There’s a whole realm of what his sin has done to others.

We know from our own experience, Jesus will go to whatever extreme necessary to reach us.  His Spirit will work boldly in our lives even when we are ignoring Him.  His love for us is so great, He has never written us off or given up even in our selfish pursuits.  Instead many times He allows the sin we have allowed to take over, driving us finally to repentance.  For many, and yes even maybe for us in the past or even in the current, His love allows things to go from bad to worse so we will turn.

The beauty of Jesus is when we turn and when we repent with godly sorrow, He is quick to forgive.

Where do you find yourself this day?  Has a mindset, a behavior or action been what’s driving you toward separation?  Are you sensing the sting of your own sinfulness and feel completely isolated?  Repent.  Admit your wrong.  Be honest with Jesus who has possibly allowed you to find yourself at this moment in all the wreckage where you’re ready to get things on track.  He’s waiting.  His Spirit is pleading.

Psalm 38 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

Once again, the psalmist is upset with his enemies and those who do evil. However, picking up from yesterday’s blog, the writer is primarily concerned with his own relationship with God. In fact, the first half of the psalm contains agonizing statements as a result of his sin. It’s called conviction.

For my iniquities are gone over my head; As a heavy burden they weigh too much for me.  5  My wounds grow foul and fester Because of my folly.

Psalms 38:4-5 NASB

Ask yourself, do you feel conviction over your sin? I can always tell when the Lord is seeking to change me in some way because He brings the same thoughts to my mind day after day. It’s kind of like a bottle that keeps building with pressure. It’s strong enough to cause alarm but tender enough to meet me where I am. I can’t escape it. Sometimes I decide to act on that conviction and sometimes (to my shame) I don’t. But just as the psalmist describes, that weight becomes too much to bear. Eventually, those wounds will grow foul and fester as God will force us to deal with it.

You know, there are some today who feel conviction but never do anything about it. They refuse to repent and then take action. So, as their body is rotting away with festering wounds, they just try and cover them up with bandages. The problem is, the next day they are open and bleeding again. Not only that, they are contagious. Our sinful rebellion impacts everyone around us. David was a man who loved the Lord but his life is an illustration of how our sin can have horrific consequences for the loved ones around us. The turmoil his family endured was partly due to David’s downfalls.

Because of the Lord’s heavy conviction and discipline, the psalmist repents.

For I am ready to fall, And my sorrow is continually before me.  18  For I confess my iniquity; I am full of anxiety because of my sin.

Psalms 38:17-18 NASB

Have you confessed the sin you are currently being convicted over? Furthermore, have you taken action steps to turn from it? Are you still the same person you were last year or are you growing in your faith? These may seem like basic questions but to be honest, I see so many Christians today who simply “feel sorry” for their sin and never do anything about it. Where do you need to put actions steps behind your feelings?

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