Summary: The purpose of this message is to show us the brevity of life and encourage us to pursue things of everlasting value.
A. Many commentators believe Psalm 39 is a continuation of Psalm 38.
1. It is easy to see why, in Psalm 38:
a. We find that David is being chastised of God for sin
b. He finds himself alienated from God and friends
c. His sorrow, conviction of sin, ways heavy upon him
d. His enemies have taken advantage of the moment to pour buckets of coals upon his head: vexing him and treating him in a multitude of evil ways.
e. He cries out to God.
2. In psalm 39 he picks up where he left off
a. With conviction heavy upon him he decides not to let his mouth get the best of him – thus adding to his sin
- Maybe he thought of the words his son would write years later In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise. Prov 10:19
b. And he surely did not want to sound as if he was accusing God of anything, in front of the wicked (v. 1)
c. But he can only keep silent so long, until the words want to escape like a exploding volcano, so he goes to the one that already knew his heart - GOD! (vv.2-3)
d. Maybe Michael Wilcock in his commentary on Psalms 1-72, said it quite simply, concerning these first three verses: “loyalty” to God “says be quiet” while “perplexity” of soul “says Speak.”
3. Though we cannot say with certainty the two psalms are connected we can say that He was in a terrible fix, and did not understand his entire situation.
B. Thus we are brought to his words, a prayer if you would, found in Psalm 39:4-13
1. And it centers around verse 4 & 5, LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am. Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.
a. Some would say that David was asking God how many more days he would have to live in this state, wishing death would take him out of it.
b. But I believe the last verse of the Psalm, where it says O spare me, that I may recover strength, before I go hence, and be no more (Psalm 39:13), makes this an inadequate answer.
2. In light of the rest of the text I believe David was saying – “Life is so short, why put so much time into the things that will perish, they are vanity. I’m just a traveler passing through this world. Grant me time to get things back on course – that I might live for you with all my heart, soul and strength with all the time I have left.”
Having taken A Contextual Look at the Psalm we now need to take
II. A PERSONAL LOOK AT PSALM 39, Psalm 39:4-8 LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am. Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah. Surely every man walketh in a vain shew: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them. And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee. Deliver me from all my transgressions: make me not the reproach of the foolish.