Psalm 38: Praying the Psalm

O Lord, rebuke me not in your anger,
nor discipline me in your wrath!

Lord, is it right to ask you not to be angry and hold back your wrath when I am worthy of judgment?

For your arrows have sunk into me,
and your hand has come down on me.

Do I realize all judgment comes from you as you use many people and circumstances as “arrows” and your “hand” to punish me? Am I willing to accept your judgment at the hands of sinners like myself? Is this what you did when you used Babylon, Egypt, and Assyria to judge the Israelites?

There is no soundness in my flesh
because of your indignation;
there is no health in my bones
because of my sin.

Do I admit I am the cause for my own punishment and not you, God? Do I take responsibility for my sin? While you may not strike me down with ill-health in this life, do I realize death is the equitable consequence for my sin?

For my iniquities have gone over my head;
like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me.

How often do I get in over my head and compound one sin with another finding myself buried under my many lies and deceits? I know they will be a weight on me, so why do I still do them? I wonder, who else but me can bear my burdens?

My wounds stink and fester
because of my foolishness,

I can blame no one else. Why, Lord, am I always drawn to sin?

I am utterly bowed down and prostrate;
all the day I go about mourning.
For my sides are filled with burning,
and there is no soundness in my flesh.
I am feeble and crushed;
I groan because of the tumult of my heart.

It is right, Lord, even though my sin and their consequences are oppressive I don’t feel any better knowing that? How long must I be crushed? How long before my mourning is turned to joy?

O Lord, all my longing is before you;
my sighing is not hidden from you.

I’m not going to lie, Lord, but exposing my longings, desires, struggles, and failures to you every day is humbling, painful, and is the most difficult thing for me to do. I know I should do it, yet, I don’t want to. I also know you seek to purge me of sin and of my hesitancy to tell you my sin. If you want me to be an open book to you Lord, I need your strength, I need your wisdom, and I need your light to shine on the darkness within me so I will see and fully admit my failures to myself and then to you.

My heart throbs; my strength fails me,
and the light of my eyes—it also has gone from me.

But when I speak of my sin to you, I faint. I become like Adam and Eve in the garden, hiding from you, hoping you will not see me. Such constant hiding has driven all joy from me.

My friends and companions stand aloof from my plague,
and my nearest kin stand far off.
Those who seek my life lay their snares;
those who seek my hurt speak of ruin
and meditate treachery all day long.
But I am like a deaf man; I do not hear,
like a mute man who does not open his mouth.
I have become like a man who does not hear,
and in whose mouth are no rebukes.

I know there are some who speak ill of me, and ones I once held as friends are now secretly hoping for me to fail. But I am blind to their desires. I don’t hear their taunts. But not only am I deaf and blind to their words, I have also lost my ability to see or hear you. Open my eyes Lord. Open my ears.

But for you, O Lord, do I wait;
it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.
For I said, “Only let them not rejoice over me,
who boast against me when my foot slips!”
For I am ready to fall,
and my pain is ever before me.

You know I no longer have words to say, so now I wait in silence. I wait for you to redeem me, to answer me, and to keep my enemies from rejoicing. But most of all, sadly, I wait for my inevitable failure and to be finally tossed aside forever.

I confess my iniquity;
I am sorry for my sin.

Even though I constantly confess my sin to you, there is part of me that wonders if I am truly sorry? I mean, how can I be truly sorry if I continue to pursue the same wicked desires? I think I’m sorry. I think I repent. But inevitably I return to the same sins, just as a dog returns to its vomit.

But my foes are vigorous, they are mighty,
and many are those who hate me wrongfully.
Those who render me evil for good
accuse me because I follow after good.
Do not forsake me, O Lord!
O my God, be not far from me!
Make haste to help me,
O Lord, my salvation!

There are some who do not want to see me saved; they want to see me continue to fail. In my pain, in my loneliness, in my state of abandonment, I ask that you do not leave me alone. Nothing and no one can save me and lift my burden, except you. Do not delay. Please hurry.

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