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38. Psalm 38

1O Jehovah, rebuke me not in thy wrath;

Neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.

2For thine arrows stick fast in me,

And thy hand presseth me sore.

3There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine indignation;

Neither is there any health in my bones because of my sin.

4For mine iniquities are gone over my head:

As a heavy burden they are too heavy for me.

5My wounds are loathsome and corrupt,

Because of my foolishness.

6I am pained and bowed down greatly;

I go mourning all the day long.

7For my loins are filled with burning;

And there is no soundness in my flesh.

8I am faint and sore bruised:

I have groaned by reason of the disquietness of my heart.

9Lord, all my desire is before thee;

And my groaning is not hid from thee.

10My heart throbbeth, my strength faileth me:

As for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me.

11My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my plague;

And my kinsmen stand afar off.

12They also that seek after my life lay snares for me;

And they that seek my hurt speak mischievous things,

And meditate deceits all the day long.

13But I, as a deaf man, hear not;

And I am as a dumb man that openeth not his mouth.

14Yea, I am as a man that heareth not,

And in whose mouth are no reproofs.

15For in thee, O Jehovah, do I hope:

Thou wilt answer, O Lord my God.

16For I said, Lest they rejoice over me:

When my foot slippeth, they magnify themselves against me.

17For I am ready to fall,

And my sorrow is continually before me.

18For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.

19But mine enemies are lively, and are strong;

And they that hate me wrongfully are multiplied.

20They also that render evil for good

Are adversaries unto me, because I follow the thing that is good.

21Forsake me not, O Jehovah:

O my God, be not far from me.

22Make haste to help me,

O Lord, my salvation.

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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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