Psalm 38

A Psalm of David. To bring to remembrance.

 1 O LORD, do not rebuke me in Your wrath, nor chasten me in Your hot displeasure!

2 For Your arrows pierce me deeply, and Your hand presses me down.

3 There is no soundness in my flesh because of Your anger, nor any health in my bones because of my sin.

4 For my iniquities have gone over my head; like a heavy burden they are too heavy for me.

5 My wounds are foul and festering because of my foolishness.

6 I am troubled, I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long.

7 For my loins are full of inflammation, and there is no soundness in my flesh.

8 I am feeble and severely broken; I groan because of the turmoil of my heart.

9 Lord, all my desire is before You; and my sighing is not hidden from You.

10 My heart pants, my strength fails me; as for the light of my eyes, it also has gone from me.

11 My loved ones and my friends stand aloof from my plague, and my relatives stand afar off.

12 Those also who seek my life lay snares for me; those who seek my hurt speak of destruction, and plan deception all the day long.

13 But I, like a deaf man, do not hear; and I am like a mute who does not open his mouth.

14 Thus I am like a man who does not hear, and in whose mouth is no response.

15 For in You, O LORD, I hope; You will hear, O Lord my God.

16 For I said, “Hear me, lest they rejoice over me, lest, when my foot slips, they exalt themselves against me.”

17 For I am ready to fall, and my sorrow is continually before me.

18 For I will declare my iniquity; I will be in anguish over my sin.

19 But my enemies are vigorous, and they are strong; and those who hate me wrongfully have multiplied.

20 Those also who render evil for good, they are my adversaries, because I follow what is good.

21 Do not forsake me, O LORD; O my God, be not far from me!

22 Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!

 

“A psalm of David to bring to remembrance.”  What do you suppose he wants to remember from this experience?  It sounds to me like something most people would prefer to forget.  The only benefit to remembering what seems to be a truly terrible experience is so that later on when he is again tempted, and a little voice in the back of his head says, “C’mon, it’s not a big deal.  What’s the worst that could happen?” he will be able to remember and say “That” could happen.  I could be riddled with guilt, separated from God, and left completely exposed to my enemies is what could happen.  Though in truth, I think the worst thing that could happen when we experiment with “harmless” and “victimless” sins is that we “get away with them”.  I think that is the worst, because it desensitizes our consciences, and because it screws up our sense of cause and effect.  I mean would it not have been much easier in the long run if Adam and Eve had dropped stone dead the instant they even touched the forbidden fruit, and God had just started over with Joe and Amy (two entirely random names don’t overthink it).  Instead they lived long enough to infect the rest of humanity ever.

 

The bottom line is sin is never gotten away with, it always brings pain.  Sometimes the worst pain is the delayed pain, or the one that doesn’t hit you directly, but instead makes you watch helplessly as the people you care about are hurt.  My prayer for you (and I hope yours for me) is that you remember this psalm and when that voice in your head says what’s the worst that can happen, you slap it across its metaphoric face and put some Holy Spirit duct tape over its mouth, and if that doesn’t work and you do go forward with it into temptation, that you are caught and punished as fast as possible so that you will have your own psalm of remembrance to write and look back on.

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