10/23 – Lord, I Confess (Psalm 38)
Introduction — Here David pours out a prayer of raw honesty to the Lord. This psalm is a remembrance of a bitter time when David suffered under the weight of sin. In striking terms, David lays out his confession to the Lord. David pleads for the Lord to show mercy. David feels the heavy hand of the Lord’s justice upon him. David’s mind and body are in torment from this sin. Even those closest to David abandon him during this season of crushing pain. David’s hope seems to fail, yet he brings his heart to the Lord. “All my desire is before You; and my sighing is not hidden from You,” David prays. David’s hope quickens as he recalls the Lord’s faithfulness. “For I hope in You, O LORD; You will answer, O Lord my God.” David confesses his iniquity to the Lord. And David’s hope shines as he pleads to the Lord to remain near and to rescue soon. “Do not forsake me, O LORD; O my God, do not be far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!” Certainly, David confesses his sin to the Lord. But he also confesses his trust in the Lord. David knows the Lord is just. David knows the Lord is merciful. David knows Lord cares about him. David knows the Lord is with him. David knows the Lord hears him. David knows the Lord rescues. David knows the Lord is his salvation.
Those who know the Lord will cry out in trust to the Lord who hears and forgives. They will confess their need for Him and their hope in Him. They will confess their sin to Him. They will proclaim the Lord is their salvation.
For I confess my iniquity; I am full of anxiety because of my sin. (18)
Lord, I confess my need for You. (1-12)
1 O Lord, rebuke me not in Your wrath, and chasten me not in Your burning anger.
Comments: David is under the weight of both his sin and the Lord’s discipline. David, in a place of his own making, needs the Lord to lift the crushing results of sin. David proclaims his deep need for the Lord. That David even prays to the Lord is a gift from the Lord. That David seeks the Lord in this desperate time is a gift from the Lord. So, David pleads for the Lord’s mercy. David knows that the Lord is holy and mighty and fully just in punishing sin. Yet David appeals to the Lord’s grace and patience. “O LORD, rebuke me not in Your wrath, and chasten me not in Your burning anger,” he prays. David confesses his need for the Lord and His mercy. Questions: How about us? Do we seek the Lord when we’re in a tough place of our own making? Do we cry out to Him? Do we see our need for Him?
3 There is no soundness in my flesh because of Your indignation; there is no health in my bones because of my sin.
Comments: In clear terms David sees both who the Lord is and who he is before the Lord. David understands that the Lord is great. He is eternal. He is mighty. He is just. He is holy. He is pure. David also understands that he himself is not so great. He is not mighty. He is not always just. He is not pure. He is a restless sinner who needs the Lord. David needs the peace which only the Lord can give. Questions: Do we see our great need for the Lord? Do we see the greatness of the Lord? Do we realize how much we need His peace?
9 Lord, all my desire is before You; and my sighing is not hidden from You.
Comments: David here states his awareness of the Lord’s awareness about every facet of his life. The Lord knows David. The Lord knows all that David thinks and feels and speaks. The Lord knows the depth of his pain. The Lord knows the cry of his heart. The Lord knows David’s needs. And it seems that David seeks the Lord’s comfort. David, in essence says, “Here’s my heart, Lord. You know me. You know my heart. You know my pain. You know my need. Lord, I need Your comfort.” Questions: Do we seek the Lord’s heart? Do we lay out our hearts to Him?
Lord, I confess my hope in You. (13-22)
15 For I hope in You, O Lord; You will answer, O Lord my God.
Comments: From the beginning of this prayer, David expresses hope in the Lord. In fact, the word LORD (Yahweh) is the first word of the prayer. If David didn’t have hope in the Lord, we wouldn’t talk with the Lord. David states his full trust in the One who knows him best and loves him most. To hope in the Lord is to wait for the Lord. To hope in the Lord is to believe that the Lord is faithful. To hope in the Lord is to know that Lord hears will answer the prayers of those who follow Him. Questions: Do we put our full trust in the Lord? Do we confess our hope in Him as we cry out to Him? Do we tell others about our hope in the Lord?
21 Do not forsake me, O Lord; O my God, do not be far from me!
Comments: David hopes in the Lord’s presence. David hopes in the Lord as his refuge. He hopes for the Lord to be near. He hopes for the Lord to remain near. He hopes for the Lord to never leave his side. Questions: Do we trust that the Lord is near to us? Do we stand amazed in His presence?
22 Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!
Comments: David is not asking the Lord to let him off the hook for his sin, but rather to quickly free him from the hook of his sin. David accepts the Lord’s discipline. David confesses his sin. David lives with the consequences of the sin. But the sin does not define him. The sin does not enslave him. David’s identity is in the Lord of his life. The Lord is his salvation. The Lord is his Savior. David’s hope is in the Lord’s help. David’s hope is in the Lord’s rescue. David’s hope is in the Lord. Questions: Do we seek the Lord’s rescue? Do we cry out to Him to deliver us? Do we turn from our sin? Do we trust Him to save us? Do we confess our need for the Lord? Do we put our hope in the Lord?
Word Study for Psalm 38
0 memorial (zakar—to name, mention; to remember; to recollect; to proclaim; to bring to mind; piercing)
1 wrath (qesep—anger; fury; strong displeasure; frustration; judgment)
2 pressed down (nahat—descend; bring down; strike; pierce; flatten)
3 health (salom—peace; prosperity; well-being; wholeness; ease; safety)
4 burden (massa—load; that which causes hardship or distress; weariness)
6 bent over (awah—warped; crooked; twisted; irritated; distorted; agitated; ruined)
6 mourning (qadar—grow dark; foul; turbid; gloom)
8 benumbed (pug—to turn cold; to grow weary; to be cold; weak; paralyzed; powerless)
8 crushed (dakah—to be broken to pieces; despondent; destroyed)
12 lay snares (naqas—control; set traps; seize; strike; knock; hit)
15 hope (yahal—await; expect; hope in; hope for)
18 confess (nagad—to be in front; to be in sight; propose; announce; report; make conspicuous)
21 forsake (azab—to leave; abandon; reject; desert; relinquish; let go; give up)
22 make haste (hus—go quickly; rush; hurry; go quickly; swoop down)
22 salvation (tesuah—deliverance; safety; rescue; victory; Savior; help; desire)
Application for Psalm 38
Let’s be honest in our prayers to the Lord.
Let’s see our need for the Lord.
Let’s cry out to the Lord.
Let’s know that the Lord knows everything about us.
Let’s keep turning to the Lord.
Let’s confess our sins to the Lord.
Let’s trust the Lord to rescue those who turn to Him.
Let’s proclaim that the Lord is our salvation.
Gospel Connections for Psalm 38
Jesus is my Lord. Jesus took God’s wrath on my behalf. He was pierced through for my transgressions. He carried the weight of my sin. He endured the pain of my sin. He suffered the consequences of my sin. He groaned. He cried out to the Father. He was badly crushed. Friends abandoned Him. Loved ones fled from Him. His enemies tried to trap Him. His enemies sought to kill Him. When falsely imprisoned, Jesus, the sinless, innocent Son of God stood silent before His accusers. When facing the certainly of the cross, Jesus entrusted Himself to the Father. And on the cross, Jesus bore my sin. Jesus became my sin. Jesus took away my sin. Jesus is my judge. Jesus is my defendant. Jesus is my hope. Jesus is my salvation. Jesus is my light. Jesus is my life. Jesus is my Lord.
Thoughts and Quotes for Psalm 38
In one long glorious acknowledgment of failure, he laid himself bare before God. ~ John Grisham, The Testament
God's people are the stage upon which His forgiveness becomes visible. They are never more authentic than when they ask for forgiveness and forgive others. ~ Matt Chandler
Open confession is good for the soul. ~ Scottish proverb
I must confess, I was born at a very early age. ~ Groucho Marx
The gospel frees us to confess our sins without fear of condemnation. ~ Michael Horton
It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one. ~ George Washington
It is none other than Jesus Christ who openly suffered the shameful death of a sinner in our place, who was not ashamed to be crucified for us as an evildoer. And it is nothing else but our community with Jesus Christ that leads us to the disgraceful dying that comes in confession, so that we may truly share in this cross. The cross of Jesus Christ shatters all pride. ~
Question: How art thou righteous before God?
Answer: Only by true faith in Jesus Christ; that is, although my conscience accuse me that I have grievously sinned against all the commandments of God, and have never kept any of them, and that I am still prone always to all evil, yet God, without merit of mine, of mere grace, grants and imputes to me the perfect satisfaction, righteousness and holiness of Christ, as if I had never committed nor had any sin, and had myself accomplished all the obedience which Christ has fulfilled for me, if only I accept such benefit with a believing heart.
— Question 60, from the (1563).
A young couple were on their honeymoon. The husband was sitting in the bathroom on the edge of the bathtub, saying to himself, “Now how can I tell my wife that I’ve got really smelly feet and that my socks absolutely stink? I’ve managed to keep it from her while we were dating, but she’s bound to find out sooner or later that my feet stink. Now how do I tell her?”
Meanwhile, the wife was sitting in the bed saying to herself, “Now how do I tell my husband that I’ve got really bad breath? I’ve been very lucky to keep it from him while we were courting, but as soon as he’s lived with me for a week, he’s bound to find out. Now how do I tell him gently?”
The husband finally plucks up enough courage to tell his wife and so he walks into the bedroom. He walks over to the bed, climbs over to his wife, puts his arm around her neck, moves his face very close to hers and says, “Darling, I’ve a confession to make.”
And she says, “So have I, love.” To which he replies, “Don’t tell me, you’ve eaten my socks.”
~ retrieved from http://www.homileticsonline.com/ on October 17, 2016
About 500 years ago, a Roman Catholic monk was feeling terribly alienated from God. He was being crushed by his sense of sinfulness, and was trying to find something to ease the pressure. He tried to do more and more good works, but discovered that he could never do enough to save himself. He tried confession, and confessed frequently, often daily, and for as long as six hours at a stretch.
The problem was that he could never be sure that he had confessed everything, and often he would remember additional sins as he was walking out of the confessional. When he realized that his entire self — his entire being — was corrupt and in need of forgiveness, he came right up to the edge of despair.
Then this monk opened the Scriptures and experienced a breakthrough. He discovered that the God who judged him and rightfully damned him for his sins was the same God who graciously sent Jesus Christ to save him from his sins. The way to be saved, then, was somehow to GRASP Christ; grasp this one who died on the cross for all humankind. What the monk found was that only One thing was capable of grasping Christ: faith. Faith alone. Or, in the original words of this monk named Martin Luther: sola fide. When Luther the monk went public with this breakthrough, he started the Protestant Reformation. sola fide, faith alone, became the essence of this movement which sought to re-form the Christian church.
~ retrieved from http://www.homileticsonline.com/ on October 17, 2016
If our trouble be the fruit of God’s anger, we may thank ourselves; it is our sin that is the cause of it. Are we restless? It is sin that makes us so. ~ Matthew Henry