Holy God, I ask today that I may see more clearly Your presence in my world.
Read Psalm 38:1-22
 A psalm of David. A petition.
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Sin has its seasons. When we sow sin in our lives we enjoy its pleasure for a season. Unfortunately, sowing is followed by the season of reaping, and that brings pain. The psalmist (David) is reaping the pain of sin in his life.
I read this psalm slowly, allowing myself to be soaked by this deluge of desperation. How different from the serene, comprehensive confidence of Psalm 37 and the calculating matter-of-factness of reading in Proverbs! If I am passing through sunny times, I give thanks. If I am myself distraught, I follow this psalm’s thread towards the exit from my labyrinth.
I count the over 50 references to “I,” “me” and “my.” I note the references to the Lord; and also references to other people—lively, vigorous enemies (19) and also, more disappointingly, peers, friends and neighbors (11) who stand aloof. I go through the psalm again, noting the words which show how the psalmist’s whole life aches—flesh, bones, wounds, back, desire, groans, heart, strength.
I read the psalm again, noting the words like “because” and “for,” by which the psalmist seeks an explanation for his condition. On the one hand his sins are like an overwhelming flood, an intolerable load; on the other hand is God’s anger, his arrows, his heavy hand, his indignation. From the psalmist’s rotting, septic flesh right into his guilty heart, here is a person in desperate trouble. Unlike some other psalms, there is in this psalm no clear emerging from the tunnel of suffering into bright sunlight. However, we can trace how, like a hand-held compass trembling northwards, the psalmist starts by looking to God (1,2), returns again in verse 9 and determines not to criticize his friends or enemies even when they talk big against him (12–16), but to wait for God’s answer (15; I remember Jesus’ greater silence; 1 Pet. 2:23). And finally, like Peter, the psalmist takes his eyes off the wind and waves and cries, “Lord, save me!” (Matt. 14:30).
What season is it in relation to sin in your life? Be honest!
Holy Spirit, bring to my awareness any unconfessed sin in my life. Give me the grace to agree with You about it and to turn from it.
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