Monday, July 16, 2012

David Expressing Sorrow (Psalm 38)




Introductory Prayer
1O LORD, rebuke me not in Your wrath,
         And chasten me not in Your burning anger.
2For Your arrows have sunk deep into me,
         And Your hand has pressed down on me.

The Enemy Within
3There is no soundness in my flesh because of Your indignation;
         There is no health in my bones because of my sin.
4For my iniquities are gone over my head;
         As a heavy burden they weigh too much for me.
5My wounds grow foul and fester
         Because of my folly.
6I am bent over and greatly bowed down;
         I go mourning all day long.
7For my loins are filled with burning,
         And there is no soundness in my flesh.
8I am benumbed and badly crushed;
         I groan because of the agitation of my heart.
9Lord, all my desire is before You;
         And my sighing is not hidden from You.
10My heart throbs, my strength fails me;
         And the light of my eyes, even that has gone from me.

Enemies Without
11My loved ones and my friends stand aloof from my plague;
         And my kinsmen stand afar off.
12Those who seek my life lay snares for me;
         And those who seek to injure me have threatened destruction,
         And they devise treachery all day long.
13But I, like a deaf man, do not hear;
         And I am like a mute man who does not open his mouth.
14Yes, I am like a man who does not hear,
         And in whose mouth are no arguments.
15For I hope in You, O LORD;
         You will answer, O Lord my God.
16For I said, “May they not rejoice over me,
         Who, when my foot slips, would magnify themselves against me.”
17For I am ready to fall,
         And my sorrow is continually before me.
18For I confess my iniquity;
         I am full of anxiety because of my sin.
19But my enemies are vigorous and strong,
         And many are those who hate me wrongfully.
20And those who repay evil for good,
         They oppose me, because I follow what is good.

Concluding Prayers
21Do not forsake me, O LORD;
         O my God, do not be far from me!
22Make haste to help me,
         O Lord, my salvation!

A Prayer of the Penitent
An individual’s lament, a penitential psalm
Psalm 38 clearly shows how righteous persons view their own sin within the broader context of their lives. David’s sins were many (Psalm 38:4), but he could say he followed what was good (Psalm 38:20). The fact that David was a man after God’s own heart illustrates that the righteous person is not sinless but is always eager to correct his errors. In contrast, the wicked person is content to stay in his sins. According to the superscription, this psalm of David was designed as a “remembrance.” This indicates that it was to be recited in connection with the “token portion” of the grain offering (cf. Leviticus 2:2, 9, 16; 5:12). David recognized God’s hand of discipline on his life. The particular sin is not identified, but it was probably different from that of Psalm 51. Like one who could not hear or speak, David would make no defense or try to justify himself (Psalm 38:13–14).


Hughes, R. B., & Laney, J. C. (2001). Tyndale concise Bible commentary. The Tyndale reference library (213). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.