Psalm 38:1 O LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger, or discipline me in your wrath. 2 For your arrows have sunk into me, and your hand has come down on me. 3 There is no soundness in my flesh because of your indignation; there is no health in my bones because of my sin. 4 For my iniquities have gone over my head; they weigh like a burden too heavy for me. 5 My wounds grow foul and fester because of my foolishness; 6 I am utterly bowed down and prostrate; all day long I go around mourning. 7 For my loins are filled with burning, and there is no soundness in my flesh. 8 I am utterly spent and crushed; I groan because of the tumult of my heart.
At first glance it would appear the psalmist is describing the burden of his sin which has resulted in physical illness, but looking more closely I’m not so sure. V.3 says there is “no soundness in my flesh” which indeed sounds like illness, but then there is “no health in my bones”. Whatever the illness/pain/malady might be, it goes deep – to the writer’s very core.
4 For my iniquities have gone over my head; they weigh like a burden too heavy for me. 5 My wounds grow foul and fester because of my foolishness;
There may indeed be a pain of the flesh involved, but mostly the writer is wounded on the inside. Sin will do that to us. There are a couple of specific examples that come to mind for me this morning.
First, there is just plain guilt. When I’ve done wrong I’ll feel a heaviness on the inside. The psalmist describes it as a “burden too heavy for me”. The only way I know to relieve the burden is confession, to a person and/or to the Lord. When we ask, God will forgive our sins and remove the burden of guilt from our spirits.
The second example that comes to mind is the pain of unforgiveness. This occurs when someone wrongs me and I refuse to let it go. I dwell on it, seething on the inside. In my mind I’ll confront the one who has hurt me, though I’m often reluctant to do so in reality. Unforgiveness steals my joy and makes it very hard for me to be at peace.
So this morning I’m spending some time praying, confessing, asking for grace to let go of past hurts. Oh Lord, hear my prayers. Amen.