Psalms of Honesty and Truth
When we are broken, with spirits crushed, that’s when God seems to finally have our undivided attention. This psalm is a lament of a broken heart who repents and admits that God is our only hope. We can learn a lot from this repentant heart. The first lesson is to be quiet. Listen. Realize to Whom you are talking…God eternal. He is God and we are not. We are but a mere breath in the scheme of creation, but we are His child. He is our hope.
We begin with David the sinner and listen to his prayer for forgiveness. Like every truly convicted sinner, his mouth had been stopped, and he admitted his guilt before God. We don’t know the particular sins and we don’t have to know. We do know that God listens to the cry of the brokenhearted and forgives when we confess. David was especially concerned that he not give occasion to “the foolish” to ridicule his faith,
David the sufferer pleaded with God to remove the stroke and heal his body. He used three images to get his point across: a plague or sickness, draining away his life; the blow of God’s hand, like a loving parent disciplining a child; the rebuke of His Word, which cut deeply into David’s heart. C. S. Lewis was correct when he wrote in The Problem of Pain, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to arouse a deaf world.”
The human body ages, decays, and dies; and the material wealth we gather gradually loses its value, like a moth silently destroying a garment. Jim Elliot’s often quoted statement certainly applies here: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” Vanity of vanity, all is vanity–unless we put our faith and hope in God.
Psalm 39, New Living Translation
I said to myself, “I will watch what I do
and not sin in what I say.
I will hold my tongue
when the ungodly are around me.”
2 But as I stood there in silence—
not even speaking of good things—
the turmoil within me grew worse.
3 The more I thought about it,
the hotter I got,
igniting a fire of words:
4 “Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
Remind me that my days are numbered—
how fleeting my life is.
5 You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.
My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
at best, each of us is but a breath.” Interlude
6 We are merely moving shadows,
and all our busy rushing ends in nothing.
We heap up wealth,
not knowing who will spend it.
7 And so, Lord, where do I put my hope?
My only hope is in you.
8 Rescue me from my rebellion.
Do not let fools mock me.
9 I am silent before you; I won’t say a word,
for my punishment is from you.
10 But please stop striking me!
I am exhausted by the blows from your hand.
11 When you discipline us for our sins,
you consume like a moth what is precious to us.
Each of us is but a breath. Interlude
12 Hear my prayer, O Lord!
Listen to my cries for help!
Don’t ignore my tears.
For I am your guest—
a traveler passing through,
as my ancestors were before me.
13 Leave me alone so I can smile again
before I am gone and exist no more.
What do we learn?
–Stop thinking of what to say and just be quiet…and listen for understanding from God.
Allow God to speak to you even now, in the quiet of this hour.
In Jesus Name, Amen