To the Chief Musician. To Jeduthun. A Psalm of David. I said, “I will guard my ways, lest I sin with my tongue; I will restrain my mouth with a muzzle, while the wicked are before me.” I was mute with silence, I held my peace even from good; and my sorrow was stirred up. My heart was hot within me; while I was musing, the fire burned.
Then I spoke with my tongue: “Lord, make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days, that I may know how frail I am. Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, and my age is as nothing before You; certainly every man at his best state is but vapor. Surely every man walks about like a shadow; surely they busy themselves in vain; he heaps up riches, and does not know who will gather them.”
And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You. Deliver me from all my transgressions; do not make me the reproach of the foolish. I was mute, I did not open my mouth, because it was You who did it. Remove Your plague from me; I am consumed by the blow of Your hand. When with rebukes You correct man for iniquity, You make his beauty melt away like a moth; surely every man is vapor.
Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry; do not be silent at my tears; for I am a stranger with You, a sojourner, as all my fathers were. Remove Your gaze from me, that I may regain strength, before I go away and am no more. (Psalm 39)
Yearning For Forgiveness
Sin has a troubling effect upon the soul of the righteous. For those who have no desire to serve the Lord or to walk in the paths of holiness, sin is a comfortable companion. Sharing a love for God makes the spirit aware of the sadness that comes when deeds mar the joy of fellowship with the Lord. It hurts deeply as disappointment cloaks the soul with the conduct of disobedience. Life is viewed in a proper setting of brevity and a desire to make things right with God is immediate. The tongue is an unruly evil and can often spew forth unkindness without thought bringing sorrow and pain to self and others. Anger destroys relationships bringing sin into the heart. Forgiveness is the cleansing of the impurity of sin. Yearning for the blessing of God upon a heart caught up in the tangles of sin will only come from a knowledge of His grace and love to forgive. How great is that measure.
David was a man after God’s heart because he knew the power of forgiveness. His greatest act of sin was with Bathsheba but he was a sinful man in other ways. He had to deal with sin as any man and sometimes did not do a very good job at keeping it at bay. Whatever the circumstance surrounding the writing of his psalm, it is clear he is disturbed by his actions and the hurt he may have brought to others. What is more paramount to his heart is what he has done to God. David understood the vertical and horizontal relationship of holiness that required one to love the Lord and also to love his brother. Sin cannot be forgiven if there is hatred toward others. He had harmed a child of God and he wanted forgiveness from his heavenly Father. Looking at the brevity of life David pleaded for the mercy of God to remove his sin far from him. He understood the importance of perspective. Wisdom was needed to guide his speech in dealing with others and he also pleaded for the kindness of God to remove his sin. The two are inseparable.
Love demands chastening. God has always loved His children and through the act of chastening has formed the heart of the faithful to know His love. David felt the sting of the Father’s displeasure but he looked at it as an act of love. He did not rebel against it but embraced it. His relationship with God was one of devotion knowing that everything the Father did was righteous judgment against the frailties of human suffering. Sin will strike the heart with guilt. David left his life in the hands of a righteous God who would purify his soul from the draught of wickedness. He acknowledged his sin. Begging the forgiveness of God he left in the hands of a holy judge. Humility was the strength of his plea of the Lord and David longed for the Lord to look upon him with kindness.
The righteous struggle with sin like David. There are times we take the wrong path, say hurtful words and act in ways of unrighteousness. The joy of forgiveness comes from the right perspective and desire to serve the Lord. Having a heart like David will bring the joy of forgiveness back to the soul of those who are righteous. Jeremy Taylor said, “God hath given to man a short time here upon earth, and yet upon this short time eternity depends.” David understood this. Nothing mattered but receiving forgiveness and David trusted in the Lord to exercise His grace when the heart of David was humbled. The joy of forgiveness will come to all who accept the chastening of the Lord as a means to bring about a heart of humble trust in the mercy of God. Yearning for forgiveness must be paramount in the heart of the righteous.