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Weds 10 March - Psalm 38

Psalm 38

Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger
    or discipline me in your wrath.
Your arrows have pierced me,
    and your hand has come down on me.
Because of your wrath there is no health in my body;
    there is no soundness in my bones because of my sin.
My guilt has overwhelmed me
    like a burden too heavy to bear.

My wounds fester and are loathsome
    because of my sinful folly.
I am bowed down and brought very low;
    all day long I go about mourning.
My back is filled with searing pain;
    there is no health in my body.
I am feeble and utterly crushed;
    I groan in anguish of heart.

All my longings lie open before you, Lord:
    my sighing is not hidden from you.
10 My heart pounds, my strength fails me;
    even the light has gone from my eyes.
11 My friends and companions avoid me because of my wounds;
    my neighbours stay far away.
12 Those who want to kill me set their traps,
    those who would harm me talk of my ruin;
    all day long they scheme and lie.

13 I am like the deaf, who cannot hear,
    like the mute, who cannot speak;
14 I have become like one who does not hear,
    whose mouth can offer no reply.
15 Lord, I wait for you;
    you will answer, Lord my God.
16 For I said, ‘Do not let them gloat
    or exalt themselves over me when my feet slip.’

17 For I am about to fall,
    and my pain is ever with me.
18 I confess my iniquity;
    I am troubled by my sin.
19 Many have become my enemies without cause;
    those who hate me without reason are numerous.
20 Those who repay my good with evil
    lodge accusations against me,
    though I seek only to do what is good.

21 Lord, do not forsake me;
    do not be far from me, my God.
22 Come quickly to help me,
    my Lord and my Saviour.

- - -

Meditation on Psalm 38

“LORD hear me” (verse 1)

“LORD you know me” (verse 9)

“LORD answer me” (verse 15)

“LORD I need you” (verse 21)

Here is David confessing his sins but he is also suffering physically, emotionally and spiritually. It sounds as if he is in desperate trouble. He seems to have some serious illness, he is deeply aware of his sin and he is descending into a downward spiral.

There are those who would draw the following conclusion – sin leads to serious suffering which leads back to sin and we get caught in a vicious cycle.

Whilst suffering may be the result of some sin, that is not God’s ‘modus operandi’. Remember the man born blind? Read John 9:1-3.

Throughout this Psalm, David is being totally honest with God.
Remember Job? He was being totally honest with God when he poured out his heart and soul. His three friends had all kinds of reasons and answers, some of which contained elements of truth but they didn’t truly represent the character of God. And God was angry with them and He blessed Job in the end after much agony and suffering.

Verses 1-5. LORD hear me

David is telling it as it is. Notice in verse 1 there is no reference to ‘punishment’. No, David sees his predicament as God’s ‘discipline’.  Be encouraged - read Hebrews 12:5-6. 

Just think how much worse it is, and will be, for those who have no thought of God – for them it will be punishment that leads to judgment. 

But David is really going through the wringer – ‘your arrows have pierced me’; ‘no health in my body’; ‘no soundness’; ‘festering wounds’; ‘bowed down’; ‘very low’; ‘searing back pain’; ‘no health in my body’; ‘crushed’; ‘I groan’.

Today we would probably say, ‘Call the medics, including the psychiatrists!’

Verses 5-12. LORD you know me

“You know… 

  • everything about me – my sighing, my pounding heart, my lack of strength, my poor eyesight
  • about my friends – they are nowhere to be seen
  • about my enemies – they are waiting to trap me; they want to ruin me”


How low can anyone get?
BUT … as we have noted before, David knows who to turn for help. He talks to the LORD.

Verses 13:20. LORD answer me

Where else can he turn? Where could he go but to the Lord?

He has almost got to the point of despair.

  • “I cannot hear”
  • “I cannot speak”

He doesn’t want to respond to his accusers, his enemies. All he can now think of is how the Lord is going to respond, if at all. “LORD, I will wait for you; you will answer me, LORD my God.” Notice the relational note in this prayer – “… MY God.”

He comes back to the main cause of his situation – “I confess my iniquity; I am troubled by my sin.”
Remember John Bunyan’s ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’? The ‘slough of despond’ was a fictional bog into which Christian sinks under the weight of his sins and his sense of guilt for them. David seems to be sliding in that bog.

Been there?
Done that?
Got the T-shirt?

Don’t despair …

Verses 21-22. LORD I need you

Like David, we can come to the Lord who loves us and we can pray as did David…

  • “do not forsake me”
  • “do not be far from me”
  • “come quickly to help me”

Who is he talking to?

MY God… MY Lord … MY Saviour.

‘What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear.’

(Roger Purdom)


Daily Readings

Thursday 11 March - Psalm 39

Friday 12 March - Psalm 40

Saturday 13 March - Psalm 41

Sunday 14 March - Psalm 42

Monday 15 March - Psalm 43

Tuesday 16 March - Psalm 44


New International Version - UK (NIVUK)
Holy Bible, New International Version® Anglicized, NIV® Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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