Lord, thank You for Your everlasting love that surrounds me.
Read Psalm 39
For the director of music. For Jeduthun. A psalm of David.
1 I said, “I will watch my ways
and keep my tongue from sin;
I will put a muzzle on my mouth
while in the presence of the wicked.”
2 So I remained utterly silent,
not even saying anything good.
But my anguish increased;
3 my heart grew hot within me.
While I meditated, the fire burned;
then I spoke with my tongue:
4 “Show me, Lord, my life’s end
and the number of my days;
let me know how fleeting my life is.
5 You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
the span of my years is as nothing before you.
Everyone is but a breath,
even those who seem secure.[b]
6 “Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom;
in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth
without knowing whose it will finally be.
7 “But now, Lord, what do I look for?
My hope is in you.
8 Save me from all my transgressions;
do not make me the scorn of fools.
9 I was silent; I would not open my mouth,
for you are the one who has done this.
10 Remove your scourge from me;
I am overcome by the blow of your hand.
11 When you rebuke and discipline anyone for their sin,
you consume their wealth like a moth—
surely everyone is but a breath.
12 “Hear my prayer, Lord,
listen to my cry for help;
do not be deaf to my weeping.
I dwell with you as a foreigner,
a stranger, as all my ancestors were.
13 Look away from me, that I may enjoy life again
before I depart and am no more.”
a Psalm 39:1 In Hebrew texts 39:1-13 is numbered 39:2-14.
b Psalm 39:5 The Hebrew has Selah (a word of uncertain meaning) here and at the end of verse 11.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhen life is broken, where do you turn? Do you have a source of hope?
Something was very wrong. In the second half of the psalm we read of unspoken sin that shattered David’s life—“Save me from all my transgressions” (8)—so that the Lord’s judgment had come like a scourge (10). Life was too difficult to bear and the pain raised questions about hope and meaning. Does God care?
The intense language in verse 3—“my heart grew hot within me… the fire burned”—is evocative and captivating. We recognize his struggle but his silence about any particular sin leaves room for our hearts to resonate with his. Notice his urgency. First he tried to maintain stoic silence, but it failed. Then he considered lifelong priorities, but it all seemed empty—a mere breath.
What do you make of his struggle? Is there a resolve? In verse 7 do we hear a hint of faith, “My hope is in you”? Yet by the end in verse 12 we hear a “cry for help” and a request in verse 13 for God to “Look away from me” so that life can be endured. Life in a broken world is painful.
This psalm is a lament and it stirs up more questions than answers about trusting God. But don’t miss the permission it gives us to be direct and honest with him in our own hard times.
Lord, help me in all ways to put my trust in You.