Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Psalm 38

March 4, 2009 - St. Peter Fuelling
March 11, 2009 - Peace, Berne

March 18, 2009 - St. Paul, Preble

March 25, 2009 - St. John, Bingen

April 1, 2009 - Zion, Friedheim

Lord our God, You did not forget the pierced body of Your Son nor the mockery His love received. Do not abandon us, Your children, weighted down with sins, but give us the fullness of Your mercy in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Sin has its consequences. In the case of King David he suffered physically, emotionally, and of course spiritually because of his sin. Physical sicknesses as well as mental anguish were the things David experienced in his life. Friends and family stood aloof. It appears that this was the opportunity David’s enemies had been waiting for, the chance to destroy him. As he suffers David admits his sin with bitter regret as he cried to the Father for mercy.

David it appears to be suffering from a loathsome disease. His closest friends and nearest relatives became estranged. His enemies had multiplied and became quite bold. Psalm 38 shows us how the “man after God’s own heart” sometimes went to the depths in sorrow and humiliation as he contemplates his own sin. Realizing the guilt of our sin we, like David, ought to confess our sin and turn to God for our salvation.

When sickness and suffering brought on by sin

1. David’s Sin (38:1-4)
We are not sure what sin in David's life triggered the outpouring of Psalm 38. The only clue David gives us – in verse 5 – is that it was an act of "sinful folly." He had ruined and wasted a good part of his life through an act of extreme foolishness. Whatever the sin may be, David is now suffering its consequences.

A. The consequences of it (Vv. 1-3)

Divine Anger Vv.1-2 O LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath. 2 For your arrows have pierced me, and your hand has come down upon me. Arrows of the Almighty's anger have pierced him, and God's powerful hand has struck him down – all on account of his sin.
Daily Anguish V.3 Because of your wrath there is no health in my body; my bones have no soundness because of my sin. Even his body is affected. Because of God's anger against his sin he is ill and sickly (Vs 3a), his muscles and bones are weak and unable to support his frame (Vs 3b). David uses a dramatic metaphor to describe his awful state.
The Consciousness of it (V.4) My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear. Think of a drowning person who is being pulled down by the undertow and beat upon by angry waves. Or, think of a person tottering along under a burden too heavy to bear – he is slowlybeing forced to his knees. The guilt of David's sin has this kind of affect on his life. His foolish sins are pulling him down.

2. David’s Suffering (38:5-8)
Disgusted V.5 My wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly. His wounds are infected (Vs 5)
Distressed V.6 I am bowed down and brought very low; all day long I go about mourning.
Diseased V.7 My back is filled with searing pain; there is no health in my body.

Disturbed V.8 I am feeble and utterly crushed; I groan in anguish of heart.

3. David’s Sorrow (38:9-14) His sorrows were:
Spiritual Vv. 9-10 All my longings lie open before you, O Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you. 10 My heart pounds, my strength fails me; even the light has gone from my eyes. his heart pounds, his eyes have lost their brightness.
Social Vv.11-12 My friends and companions avoid me because of my wounds; my neighbors stay far away. 12 Those who seek my life set their traps, those who would harm me talk of my ruin; all day long they plot deception. To make matters worse, even his friends and family have given up on him. And his enemies, they "set their traps" and "plot deception". David presents a picture of himself as being despised by heaven and cast off by earth, all on account of some sinful folly.

Frequently, but not always, there are easily visible consequences to sins we commit too. For instance, AIDS is an all too real a consequence of homosexual behavior today; adultery can poison a marriage relationship and often contributes to its breakdown; lies and deceit destroy trust and create suspicion; a violent temper can foster hate instead of love.
Silent Vv.13-14 I am like a deaf man, who cannot hear, like a mute, who cannot open his mouth; 14 I have become like a man who does not hear, whose mouth can offer no reply. He has become hard of hearing and his tongue is not able to form words. As David knew first hand, sin is a serious matter. We ignore it only at great personal cost to ourselves.

4. David’s Supplication (38:15-22)

Lord, Hear Me Vv.15-16 I wait for you, O LORD; you will answer, O Lord my God. 16 For I said, Do not let them gloat or exalt themselves over me when my foot slips. Whenever one of our children cry, we inevitably ask, "What's wrong? Let daddy see. Show mommy." A hug, a kiss, a band-aid, sometimes a stitch or two, and it is all better. However, it isn't that easy or that simple to deal with the problem of sin. But David knows where to go for help: I wait for you, O LORD; you will answer, O Lord my God.
Lord Heal Me Vv.17-18 For I am about to fall, and my pain is ever with me. 18 I confess my iniquity; I am troubled by my sin. The consequences of sin are meant to open our eyes to our spiritual plight. They certainly did in David's case. He got down on his knees before the Lord: "I confess my iniquity; I am troubled by my sin.”

Lord, Help Me Vv.19-22 Consider What My Situation Is – Vv.19-20 Many are those who are my vigorous enemies; those who hate me without reason are numerous. 20 Those who repay my good with evil slander me when I pursue what is good. When we, like David, are burdened with the guilt of sin, we know the only possible solution is God and Christ.
Remember what Jesus said: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30We can come to Jesus with the burden of our sin, our guilt, our misery. Only He can provide rest for our souls.
Consider Who My Savior Is – Vv.21-22 O LORD, do not forsake me; be not far from me, O my God. 22 Come quickly to help me, O Lord my Savior. David is a man of God who realizes that his angry Accuser is also the only One Who can possibly save him. His words are the words of a true and strong faith which lets go of everything and clings to the Word and grace of God.

We are not to carry our own burdens, the weight and guilt of our sins. The Lord's Supper reminds us that they are carried by the Lord. David, burdened with guilt, confessed his sin, repented of his sin, earnestly resolved to do what is good (Vs 20), and, despairing of himself, cried for salvation.
We, like David, are burdened with the guilt of sin. What David needed, and what we need, no man can provide. That's why David cried, "Come quickly to help me, O Lord my Savior."
Is that your cry too? Will that be your cry as you journey with the Savior during this pilgrimage of Lent?

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