God often contends with His children to awaken their consciences and to set their sins in order before them for their humiliation.
If we are truly penitent for sin,
we will make a particular acknowledgment of what we have done amiss and God will then restore the joy of salvation, with patience to bear our affliction.
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 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Psalm 38 – The Cry of the Needy Penitent
A long drawn-out sigh of pain. Some think it should be classed with Psalms 32 and 51, as belonging to the time of David’s fall and repentance. It is filled with a sense of God’s judgments and the profound consciousness of sin. Perhaps David was suffering physically, or he may be describing his spiritual maladies in terms borrowed from that source. His friends stood apart and his enemies were near. But it was wise to refrain from man and to wait only on God. When we are buffeted and derided, the true attitude is our Lord’s. As the dumb sheep before her shearers, He opened not His mouth!
In Psalm 38:15 the tone becomes calmer. The soul begins to recover its center of gravity in God. Notice the fourfold repetition of For, Psalm 38:15-18. Faith marshals her arguments. Out of “stony griefs” she builds “Bethels.” Like Samson, she finds honey in the lion’s carcass. But God will not forsake. He never for a moment withdraws His close attention. The Refiner sits by the crucible, and will cool down the heat the moment it has done its work. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Psalm 38:9—Lord, all my desire is before Thee.
God knows our desires. We cannot always put them into words; we dare not trust them to the ears of our dearest, but they lie open to Him—the ideal we desire in our holiest moments; the thorn in the flesh from which we long to be delivered; the prayer for one who is dearer to us than life. “Lord, all my desire is before thee.”
Think of the desires of the saints—for the realization of their ideals; for the salvation of men; for the glory of the Redeemer; for the Divine answer to the scoff, the sneer, the taunt of infidelity; for the coming of the King, the restoration of his ancient people, the setting up of the millennial reign.
“Lo, as some ship, outworn and overladen,
Strains for the harbour, where her sails are furled;
Lo, as some innocent and eager maiden
Leans o’er the wistful limit of the world:
So even I, and with a pang more thrilling;
So even I, and with a hope more sweet,
Yearn for the sign, O Christ! of thy fulfilling,
Faint for the flaming of thine advent feet.”
And remember, He who implanted the desire does abundantly above all we ask or think. There is always a defect in every earthly joy, a something which shows itself for a moment to elude us.
“It blossoms just beyond the paths I follow,
It shines beyond the farthest stars I see;
It echoes faint from ocean caverns hollow,
And from the land of dreams it beckons me.”
But it never can be thus with any desire that God has taught us to cherish. Of these, as the ages pass, we shall say: It was a true report that I heard, but the half was not told. The desire which is directed to God cannot miss gratification. —Our Daily Homily