Psalm 38 — Let Loneliness Lead you to the Lord — Reading the Psalms


A Psalm of David, to bring to remembrance.

1 O LORD, rebuke me not in thy wrath:
Neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.
2 For thine arrows stick fast in me,
And thy hand presseth me sore.
3 There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine indignation;
Neither is there any health in my bones because of my sin.
4 For mine iniquities are gone over mine head:
As an heavy burden they are too heavy for me.
5 My wounds stink and are corrupt,
Because of my foolishness.
6 I am pained and bowed down greatly;
I go mourning all the day long.
7 For my loins are filled with burning;
And there is no soundness in my flesh.
8 I am faint and sore bruised:
I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart.
9 Lord, all my desire is before thee;
And my groaning is not hid from thee.
10 My heart throbbeth, my strength faileth me:
As for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me.
11 My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my plague;
And my kinsmen stand afar off.
12 They also that seek after my life lay snares for me;
And they that seek my hurt speak mischievous things,
And imagine deceits all the day long.
13 But I, as a deaf man, hear not;
And I am as a dumb man that openeth not his mouth.
14 Yea, I am as a man that heareth not,
And in whose mouth are no reproofs.
15 For in thee, O LORD, do I hope:
Thou wilt answer, O Lord my God.
16 For I said, Lest they rejoice over me:
When my foot slippeth, they magnify themselves against me.
17 For I am ready to halt,
And my sorrow is continually before me.
18 For I will declare mine iniquity;
I will be sorry for my sin.
19 But mine enemies are lively, and are strong:
And they that hate me wrongfully are multiplied.
20 They also that render evil for good
Are adversaries unto me, because I follow the thing that is good.
21 Forsake me not, O LORD:
O my God, be not far from me.
22 Make haste to help me,
O Lord my salvation.

How does it feel to be hurt by sin? Reading this psalm well conveys the disabling trouble. Feeling stuck and struck by arrows; feeble in flesh and bone; in over our heads under the drowning weight of sin; our sins become heavy burdens that weigh us down and overwhelm our walk.

In the midst of these troubles others look and reel back. A heart thus overwhelmed is no attractive thing; it is a heart from which we recoil and avoid. Thus, in his troubles, David feels even more lonely and abandoned. Not only avoided, but actively averse to his steps, David’s enemies try to hurt rather than help.

As deaf men we do not hear their taunts, nor open our mouths against them. Our ears are spent in listening for the Lord; our lips crying to our creator. “Wretched man that I am. Who will deliver me from this body of death?” Sorrow surrounding us, and drowning in iniquity, we declare this iniquity before God, praying for his salvation.

Let loneliness lead you to the Lord. Let the drowning destruction of sin drive you to God. Leave off of sin and seek not sinners for support. All they can offer is more sin and the expectation to abandon you in the end. Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord that in him we can be saved and secure.


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