Summary: David gives a late life confession of sin and faith.
March 14, 2004 Psalm 38
1 A psalm of David. A petition. O LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath.
2 For your arrows have pierced me, and your hand has come down upon me.
3 Because of your wrath there is no health in my body; my bones have no soundness because of my sin.
4 My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear.
5 My wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly.
6 I am bowed down and brought very low; all day long I go about mourning.
7 My back is filled with searing pain; there is no health in my body.
8 I am feeble and utterly crushed; I groan in anguish of heart.
9 All my longings lie open before you, O 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 neighbors stay far away.
12 Those who seek my life set their traps, those who would harm me talk of my ruin; all day long they plot deception.
13 I am like a deaf man, who cannot hear, like a mute, who cannot open his mouth;
14 I have become like a man who does not hear, whose mouth can offer no reply.
15 I wait for you, O LORD; you will answer, O Lord my God.
16 For I said, “Do not let them gloat or exalt themselves over me when my foot slips.”
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 are those who are my vigorous enemies; those who hate me without reason are numerous.
20 Those who repay my good with evil slander me when I pursue what is good.
21 O LORD, do not forsake me; be not far from me, O my God.
22 Come quickly to help me, O Lord my Savior.
Years ago I walked into the house of a real elderly lady had been a member of the congregation for her whole life - just the nicest gal. She always welcomed me with a smile and loved the devotions. But one month I decided to talk about the fact that we were all sinners - and that we needed the grace of God. Instead of just talking about it and having her listen, I openly asked her if she was a sinner. I was shocked when this elderly lady actually didn’t really consider herself a “sinner.” Why not? She wasn’t committing the sins that were being committed on TV. She was just keeping to herself, saying her prayers, and being a nice old grandma. Somehow she had lost the whole concept of sin and grace in the mix - assuming that in her old age she never committed any real sins.
In today’s Psalm, David was apparently also an old man. Yet even in his old age he still reflected a deep sense of sin and grace throughout his entire life. His attitude is a Christian one - one that is a model for us as Christians - both young and old - to follow. Even though you may not be at his stage of life, as fellow Christians we can learn something from -
The Confessions of an Old Man
I. I feel like God is shooting at me
Dr. Brug of the People’s Bible speculated that David wrote this Psalm with the background of 1 Kings chapter one in mind. After I looked at it, the speculation seems very plausible. At that point in David’s life we are told that David was old and well advanced in years - so that his circulation wasn’t working very well - he couldn’t keep himself warm. Psalm 38 also mentions some other things that had gone with David’s body by this time in his life -
vs. 3 - there is no health in my body; my bones have no soundness
vs. 6-7 - 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.
vs. 10 - My heart pounds, my strength fails me; even the light has gone from my eyes. (Ps 38:10)
vs. 13-14 I am like a deaf man, who cannot hear, like a mute, who cannot open his mouth; I have become like a man who does not hear, whose mouth can offer no reply.
When you compare the condition of David’s body at this time with the statue of him in Europe - or more assuredly the Word of God - you can see the tremendous change that took place. When Jesse went to get David in from the fields 1 Samuel says that, “He was ruddy, with a fine appearance and handsome features.” (1 Samuel 16:12) With God’s strength he had killed the lion and the bear and Goliath as well. Songs were sung of him, “David has killed his tens of thousands.” He was well known as a man of bloodshed - who had to conquer the kingdom of Israel through warfare. (1 Samuel 18:17) But now David had taken a turn for the worse. This young stud had turned into an old and nearly blind, deaf, and lame old man. He couldn’t do too much of anything.