Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sin Really is Bad for Us

[A Psalm of David, to bring remembrance]

1 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.

—Psalm 38 KJV Bible

This lament of this psalm of David focuses on David’s sin and God’s chastening as the cause of the distress. The psalm has three sections, each beginning with an address to God. In the first section, David describes his sufferings because of his sin. In the second, David describes his loneliness because of his sin. Finally, David confesses to God his sin. The psalm superscription says that the psalm is to bring to remembrance. This could mean to remind God of His mercy or to remind David of his sin.

This is the third of seven Penitential Psalms or Psalms of Confession. These songs are confessions of sin and expressions of humility before God. The full list of seven includes Psalms 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, and 143. It is said that in the early church believers used these psalms individually and corporately when expressing sorrow to God for their sins.

In verses 1 through 8, David describes his sufferings because of his sin. In verse 3, David mentions his “sin,” but he does not mention what that sin is. It is thought this sin is different from David’s sin of Psalm 51, which was his sin with Bathsheba.

In verses 9 through 14, David describes the loneliness of his sin. In verse 11, David describes himself using the Hebrew “nega,” meaning plague, sore, stroke, stricken, stripe, or wound. This word was typically used for leprosy, suggesting that David’s friends avoided him as if he were a leper. In verse 12 through 14, David records the accusations of his enemies and then does not try to defend himself against the accusations.

In verses 15 through 22, David confesses to God his sin. In verse 18, David confesses that his sin is the cause of his anxiety.

Father, when will I realize that sin, while pleasurable at the time, is so bad for me? It hurts me. It separates me from others. Most importantly, it separates me from You. Father, I confess to You my sin. Please take it away and return me to Your presence.


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