O Lord, do not rebuke me in Your wrath, nor chasten me in Your hot displeasure! For Your arrows pierce me deeply, and Your hand presses me down.
There is no soundness in my flesh because of Your anger, nor any health in my bones because of my sin. For my iniquities have gone over my head; like a heavy burden they are too heavy for me. My wounds are foul and festering because of my foolishness.
I am troubled, I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long. For my loins are full of inflammation, and there is no soundness in my flesh. I am feeble and severely broken; I groan because of the turmoil of my heart. Lord, all my desire is before You; and my sighing is not hidden from You. My heart pants, my strength fails me; as for the light of my eyes, it also has gone from me.
My loved ones and my friends stand aloof from my plague, and my relatives stand afar off. Those also who seek my life lay snares for me; those who seek my hurt speak of destruction, and plan deception all the day long. But I, like a deaf man, do not hear; and I am like a mute who does not open his mouth. Thus I am like a man who does not hear, and in whose mouth is no response.
For in You, O Lord, I hope; You will hear, O Lord my God. For I said, “Hear me, lest they rejoice over me, lest, when my foot slips, they exalt themselves against me.” For I am ready to fall, and my sorrow is continually before me. For I will declare my iniquity; I will be in anguish over my sin. But my enemies are vigorous, and they are strong; and those who hate me wrongfully have multiplied. Those also who render evil for good, they are my adversaries, because I follow what is good.
Do not forsake me, O Lord; O my God, be not far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation! (A psalm of David. To bring to remembrance. Psalm 38)
The Struggles Of A Man Of Faith
Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen, but it can be a harsh lesson to learn and keep focused when sin assaults the spirit with deadly force. No one is immune from the tentacles of temptation, despair, and hopelessness. It consumes the soul with guilt and the foreboding judgment of a wrathful God. Sin easily entangles the unwary and can destroy hope, but it can overpower the godly and the righteous. Of all the great men and women who have walked before the Lord in faithfulness, none remained aloof and untouched by the tragedy of sin. The sweet psalmist of Israel sang his heart away with the dread of the wrath of God and the consequence of his foolishness and rebellion. David was a man of faith struggling to face the reality of his sin.
There are elements of sin that are very clear. It brings the hot displeasure of God like arrows piercing deeply within the soul and like the heavy hand of the Lord pressing upon the weakness of the soul. The faithful heart feels the pain of sin, recognizing that God has been offended. There is fear in the soul because of the hurt that has been done to the heart of the Almighty. Godly sorrow comes from a broken and contrite heart aware of what sin does to the righteous character of a Holy God. There are no excuses for sin. It is not a matter of a simple mistake or sowing of wild oats. Sin is the repudiation of the righteous character of a jealous God who has blessed humanity with His grace, His love, and His mercy. David was troubled. His grief was overwhelming because he had sinned against God. He did not grieve because he got caught in whatever unrighteousness that tore at his soul. David was hurt deeply that he had hurt God deeply. As the man of God stood before his Lord, he was feeble, severely broken, and groaning because of the turmoil of his heart. A man of faith was seeking forgiveness.
Sin is not a surprising event but a harsh reality that all men suffer. Jesus was and will only be the one man who never sinned against His Father. The greatest of men who walked faithfully before the Lord were guilty of sin. David was a man after God’s own heart, and what made his character so powerful was his deep humility to face his own failures and the willingness to acknowledge his failures were his own. His desire was for the Lord. David said his heart was weak and his strength failed, and the light had gone from his eyes because he faced his sin and failure. His friends forsook him, but he knew God would never leave him. All of his hope was in a compassionate and loving Father who would welcome him home and take away his guilt.
Faith is hoping in the Lord and finding in a sorrowful heart of repentance that God will forgive, He will remove sin as far as the east is from the west, and joy will return to the soul. David was a man of faith who struggled with sin. He knew the depths of eternal sorrow, and that is what made him a man of great faith. Sin would not have dominion over the heart of David. He pleaded with the Lord for grace from a heart that was broken and filled with anguish. All of his hope lay in the promise of God who would not forsake him. His psalm began with God’s chastening hot displeasure and ends with the song of hope in the nearness of God and the Lord of salvation. Thank God for his wrath and chastening to prick the soul of sin. Thank God for godly desire that brings a faithful man back to a compassionate Father who will forgive and save.