Psalm 38

A Psalm by David, for a memorial.
1 LORD, don’t rebuke me in your wrath, neither chasten me in your hot displeasure. 2 For your arrows have pierced me, your hand presses hard on me. 3 There is no soundness in my flesh because of your indignation, neither is there any health in my bones because of my sin. 4 For my iniquities have gone over my head. As a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me. 5 My wounds are loathsome and corrupt, because of my foolishness. 6 I am pained and bowed down greatly. I go mourning all day long. 7 For my waist is filled with burning. There is no soundness in my flesh. 8 I am faint and severely bruised. I have groaned by reason of the anguish of my heart. 9 Lord, all my desire is before you. My groaning is not hidden from you. 10 My heart throbs. My strength fails me. As for the light of my eyes, it has also left me. 11 My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my plague. My kinsmen stand far away. 12 They also who seek after my life lay snares. Those who seek my hurt speak mischievous things, and meditate deceits all day long. 13 But I, as a deaf man, don’t hear. I am as a mute man who doesn’t open his mouth. 14 Yes, I am as a man who doesn’t hear, in whose mouth are no reproofs. 15 For in you, LORD, do I hope. You will answer, Lord my God. 16 For I said, “Don’t let them gloat over me, or exalt themselves over me when my foot slips.” 17 For I am ready to fall. My pain is continually before me. 18 For I will declare my iniquity. I will be sorry for my sin. 19 But my enemies are vigorous and many. Those who hate me without reason are numerous. 20 They who also render evil for good are adversaries to me, because I follow what is good. 21 Don’t forsake me, LORD. My God, don’t be far from me. 22 Hurry to help me, Lord, my salvation.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–11

Nothing will disquiet the heart of a good man so much as the sense of God’s anger. The way to keep the heart quiet, is to keep ourselves in the love of God. But a sense of guilt is too heavy to bear; and would sink men into despair and ruin, unless removed by the pardoning mercy of God. If there were not sin in our souls, there would be no pain in our bones, no illness in our bodies. The guilt of sin is a burden to the whole creation, which groans under it. It will be a burden to the sinners themselves, when they are heavy-laden under it, or a burden of ruin, when it sinks them to hell. When we perceive our true condition, the Good Physician will be valued, sought, and obeyed. Yet many let their wounds rankle, because they delay to go to their merciful Friend. When, at any time, we are distempered in our bodies, we ought to remember how God has been dishonoured in and by our bodies. The groanings which cannot be uttered, are not hid from Him that searches the heart, and knows the mind of the Spirit. David, in his troubles, was a type of Christ in his agonies, of Christ on his cross, suffering and deserted.

Verses 12–22

Wicked men hate goodness, even when they benefit by it. David, in the complaints he makes of his enemies, seems to refer to Christ. But our enemies do us real mischief only when they drive us from God and our duty. The true believer’s trouble will be made useful; he will learn to wait for his God, and will not seek relief from the world or himself. The less we notice the unkindness and injuries that are done us, the more we consult the quiet of our own minds. David’s troubles were the chastisement and the consequence of his transgressions, whilst Christ suffered for our sins and ours only. What right can a sinner have to yield to impatience or anger, when mercifully corrected for his sins? David was very sensible of the present workings of corruption in him. Good men, by setting their sorrow continually before them, have been ready to fall; but by setting God always before them, they have kept their standing. If we are truly penitent for sin, that will make us patient under affliction. Nothing goes nearer to the heart of a believer when in affliction, than to be under the apprehension of God’s deserting him; nor does any thing come more feelingly from his heart than this prayer, “Be not far from me.” The Lord will hasten to help those who trust in him as their salvation.

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