Read this classical penitent prayer of suffering by David to see yet another example of an appropriate, old-school reaction to sin.
Want another example of an appropriate, old-school reaction to sin?
Then pay attention to what David is doing as I summarize each verse of Psalm 38, a classical penitent prayer of suffering.
1. Petitions God to withhold his corrective wrath.
2. Recognizes God is correcting him… and that God has the right to correct.
3. Understands he deserves the illness in his body–the punishment–because his sin was great.
4. Admits he alone cannot deal with the weight of his suffocating guilt.
5. Confesses his sins are loathsome.
6. Grieves over his sins.
7. Uses this period of bodily affliction to cry out to God in mental anguish.
8. Groans that he is broken and devastated by his circumstances.
9. Trusts in God to deliver him.
10. Pants as if barely alive.
11. Sorrows over his abandonment by family and friends.
12. Worries his enemies will destroy him while he is sick.
13. Lays in silence because of sin-induced humiliation.
14. Acknowledges it’s pointless to try to justify his sins.
15. Confident God will answer him.
16. Complains about his persecutors who mock him while he is ill.
17. Admits he doesn’t believe he will recover.
18. Declares he’s deeply troubled by his sins.
19. Despairs over the fact that his enemies ridicule him.
20. Proclaims he’d rather endure the wrath of the world than fail God.
21. Begs God to never forget him or stand aloof.
22. Shouts for God to save him.
So, what do you think about David’s response to his sin and suffering?
Here’s a Few Things We Know
David didn’t waste his physical pain. He understood the corruption his sin caused. He understood God was punishing him. Thus, he trusted God–and God alone–for his salvation…rather than his mind or the world.
And just as David wrote this psalm to remember the conviction his sin brought him, I’d encourage you, too, to write in your journal about what you learn when under heavy or light affliction.