Our parents, our teachers, our coaches, our friends, the bullies, our enemies, our friends who betrayed us, God Himself, and the list goes on, and on, and on. We always find someone to blame for the adversities that we encounter and the problems that we face in our lives.
As we learned with the Psalms of Lament, most of the time, people around us cause our trials. They do not like us, and they oppose us and want to defeat us for many reasons. The problem is that many times the tribulations that we are facing are not caused by outside sources, but inside. We are suffering as the consequence of things that we did.
Psalm 38 tells us about this. In this psalm David comes to the conclusion that some of his problems are not caused by Saul or any other enemy, but by his own sins. Do not misunderstand me, the problems and trials that David was facing were real and painful, but they were only the result or the natural consequence of something that David did.
David understood that God was allowing and using people and circumstances to punish him for things that he did. He opens the Psalm with these words: “Psa. 38:1-2 O LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath. For your arrows have pierced me, and your hand has come down upon me.”
In this Psalm we learn with David how to handle this kind of situation, how to understand what is going on, and react in the right way, and to take the higher path. We need to understand that sometimes we cannot blame our enemies for our difficulties, but only ourselves. What should we do? Let us see what David did.
1 – Recognize – The first attitude is to recognize our sins, and our wrongdoings. David did this many times in this Psalm: “Psa. 38:4-5 My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear. My wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly.” David uses the expressions “my guilt has overwhelmed me” and “my sinful folly”, to describe his acceptance of responsibility to what is going on with him. Yes, the enemies are still going after him and he is still being betrayed by his friends, but he is just reaping what he sowed.
2 – Confess – The second attitude that we learn with David in this kind of situation is to confess. We recognize our sins and now we need to come before the Lord and say it. This is what he did: “Psa. 38:18 I confess my iniquity; I am troubled by my sin.” The word confess means: “To announce (always by word of mouth to one present); specifically, to expose, predict, explain” Confession is when we come before the Lord and expose what we did, and agree with Him that whatever we did was wrong, and we are sorry.
3 – Ask for mercy – The next thing that we see David doing here in this psalm is asking for mercy. Throughout this whole psalm we have David asking for the Lord to have mercy on him. Here are the final verses of this Psalm: “Psa. 38:21-22 O LORD, do not forsake me; be not far from me, O my God. Come quickly to help me, O Lord my Savior.” David knows that the Lord is merciful and full of grace, and it is to this God that he presents his petitions.
My friends, sometimes we will suffer at the hands of people who are evil and do not like us, but sometimes our sufferings and trials will bring the discipline of the Lord because of our own sins and wrongdoings. Like David we should recognize them, confess, and ask for mercy.
Have a blessed week,