The Book of Psalms Bible Study Psalm 38

Let us conclude this week with Psalm 38

We are called to persevere and endure. When our enemy seems to be bigger, stronger and better equipped than us, when we cry out to G-d for help and He appears to be silent, we must not become discouraged, and we must not give up. Remain faith filled and faithful. 

David wrote this Psalm in another very difficult period of his life. Although in this Psalm G-d appears to be silent we know that G-d did eventually deliver him as history tells us that he lived a full life in years.

Inscription: We are called to remember this psalm. In our lives we are going to go through difficult things, but this psalm can help us to remember that even though G-d may seem silent He remains in control. 

v1: David, from the outset, speaks about G-d’s anger. Therefore, we would glean in this case

that David may have been disobedient and may have moved away from the will of G-d. David does not deny that he is guilty before the L-rd, but he is begging G-d to have mercy on him.

  • Hot displeasure – great fury

v2: David is experiencing hardship/difficulty and he attributes this to the punishment of G-d for the sin that he has committed. Although David feels that G-d is angry David is not avoiding G-d but is pushing into Him through prayer. 

v3: No soundness – physical, emotional or spiritual wellbeing. David is sick to his core because of what he has done. ‘G-d’s anger’ and ‘my sin’ are parallel to one another. When we sin we are inviting the wrath of G-d into our lives. 

v4: David is experiencing serious consequences in his life due to his sin. 

  • Sin brings a heavy burden upon us. Left to ourselves it is a burden that we cannot handle on our own. Sin causes our lives to be out of control. Overwhelming. 

v5: David could be speaking of spiritual/inward blows (his spiritual condition has been affected) or he could be speaking about a physical suffering (oftentimes our spiritual disobedience can manifest itself in physical suffering).

  • Foul and festering – his life is not a pleasing aroma before G-d. 
  • Foolishness – our own foolishness, pursuing our own desires, causes us to sin.

v6: Troubled…bowed down (sin deforms us, twists and shapes us in the wrong way – out of order)…mourning – all of this expresses pressure, anxiety, suffering. David isn’t experiencing the joy of the L-rd.

v7: Loins – the essence of an individual. Also has to do with a mans future/heritage/descendants

  • Inflammation – fire/heat/being burnt up. Everything David wants to pass on to the next generation is being distorted, burnt up, cast into another form.

v8: feeble and severely broken – David is not moving forward. He has been forced to a stop. His life is broken and is not able to reflect zeal for the L-rd.

  • Groan – the only thing that David has the strength to do.
  • Heart – also related to his thoughts. His thoughts are in turmoil. He is not thinking clearly. Sin has clouded his judgement. (Here David is not suffering for obedience, as has so often been the case in previous psalms. Here it is clear that David is suffering from disobedience). 

v9: In this verse David is transparent before G-d. He acknowledges that he can’t hide anything from Him. G-d knows all things. When we pray it is futile and foolish to try to conceal what we have done from Him.

v10: pants – in modern Hebrew this is a word that means ‘dizzy’. David cant see properly and he cant respond properly. He is not in the spiritual condition to make a proper decision.

  • Light – revelation/illumination. David is unable to discern. Sin has blinded him. He feels like he is in darkness.

v11: Those he loves have removed themselves from him as they see G-d’s judgment upon him.

Sin isolates us.

v12: When we sin it not only brings G-d’s judgement down on us but it also empowers our enemies to want to ‘kick us when we are down’. When we are in sin we are spiritually and physically vulnerable.

v13: He is spiritually paralyzed. He cannot hear from G-d, and He feels like he cannot speak properly to G-d. David is in a desperate, broken, horrible spiritual condition due to his sin.

v14: David is not hearing from G-d, and he doesn’t even know the reproofs of G-d. He is in a spiritual state of bankruptcy. Nothing is functioning. David feels completely alone – cut off. 

v15: There is a significant change in this verse. David is alone. He is spiritually confused and does not know what to do and most people at this point would just give up. But David does not do this. At this point he begins to earnestly push into G-d. 

  • David is spiritually so far removed from the purposes of G-d that there is no reason for G-d to step into his life. But, never-the-less, David chooses to put his faith in the L-rd. He chooses to trust in the faithfulness of G-d, the character of G-d.

v16: David knows that G-d doesn’t want David’s enemies to rejoice over his calamity. David also knows that his enemies are G-d’s enemies and G-d would not want these enemies magnified or lifted up either. 

v17: David knows that he is standing on a shaky foundation. It is leading him to stumble, to limp. 

v18: David is not experiencing peace or contentment. Sin has had an effect in his life. 

When we are in G-d’s will we have confidence. When we are outside of G-d’s will we have great fear.

v19-20: Evil = against/contrary to the will of G-d

  • Good = according to the will of G-d. David follows/pursues G-d’s will. 

v21-22. Make haste – respond quickly and respond correctly.

  • My salvation – David understands that the only source in his condition is G-d’s help. Only through Yeshua can we experience deliverance. 

Note: We began by saying that this was a Psalm of remembrance. In this Psalm David teaches us how we should respond when we have messed up. It is important that we remember how David felt in the midst of his sin so that it can deter us from sinning, but if we have sinned and failed G-d miserably we know how to respond – confess our sin to Him and look to Him for our deliverance. We must not turn away from G-d, but we must turn back to Him. Even when our lives seem to be at their lowest ebb our desire must remain – we need to pursue that which is good – G-d’s will – so we can live lives that are pleasing to Him. 

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