Psalms 38: A Pitiful Place to Be
Very often, when I get letters, there are people who are in the pit of despair. They think that life has dealt them such a raw deal that there is no hope. David, in Psalms 38, is in that place, but his way of looking at his situation is much different from the letters I get. Maybe this is why David has victory and many others do not. Let’s look at his situation.
Verse 1-8 David is aware of God’s displeasure with Him. In this case, David’s sin has caused his trouble. Not all cases of sickness and trouble are a result of a person’s sin. Sometimes, it is the result of another sinning against him/her, and other times it is the result of a sinful and broken world. However, this situation is one that David attributes directly to his unconfessed sin against God. Let’s take it apart.
In verse 1, David is fearful of God’s anger. He feels intense guilt, because of his sin (V.2). In verse 3, David connects God’s displeasure directly to his sin, by showing the broken aspects of his body. David says, “There is no soundness in my flesh…neither is there any rest in my body.” This is a result of his broken relationship with God. In verse 4, David implies that the weight of his sin and his responsibility for it has overwhelmed him. He says, “Like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me.”
People are often in that “state of mind” when they write to me. They are depressed, overwhelmed, sick, and tired. They are often lost. As a Biblical Counselor, it is my job to point them to Jesus, and help them to re-establish that life giving, not life zapping, relationship. David, just like some of my clients, describes how he feels in verses 5-6. He sees how his foolish behavior has worn him out. He says, “my wounds”—presumably from others—“stink and fester, because of my foolishness.” David has been wounded by others because he has not acted wisely. What should he have done? He is crushed and devastated.
Davis turns to God as his only option. Why does he finally do this? Because he finds that all his earthly remedies have not worked. What were the Earthly remedies? Verses 11-12 tell us. Friends and family, they are a good source of counsel if they are Godly, however, they are limited in their ability to help. Sometimes they will abandon you, much like David’s friends. Enemies, we all have them, and without God’s help, we may be destroyed (v.12). With no friends around, David had no resources other than God. David’s response to his situation is helplessness (v.13-14), and he can only look up. Look what happens when he does. In verses 15-22, David finally stops looking around him, and starts reaching out to the only one who can help him. He gives up his pride, and confesses his sin to the Lord.
He cries out to God, confesses his sin, and asks God for mercy and grace. David doesn’t assume that God doesn’t love him as some people often do. David assumes that God is a loving and gracious God, and not a mean spirited dictator. Where are you today? Are you lost in your troubles? Can you set your pride down and open yourself to God? Leave the pity party, and ask God to help! He’s waiting for you to do that.
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