Psalm 39

Prayer for Wisdom and Forgiveness

To the Chief Musician. To Jeduthun.  A Psalm of David.

1 I said, “I will guard my ways, lest I sin with my tongue;  I will restrain my mouth with a muzzle, while the wicked are before me.”  2 I was mute with silence I held my peace even from good;  and my sorrow was stirred up.  3 My heart was hot within me;  while I was musing, the fire burned, then I spoke with my tongue:

4 “LORD, make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days, that I may know how frail I am.  5 Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, and my age is as nothing before You;  certainly every man at his best state is but vapor.  Selah  6 Surely every man walks about like a shadow;  surely they busy themselves in vain;  he heaps up riches, and does not know who will gather them.

7 “And now, Lord, what do I wait for?  My hope is in You.

8 Deliver me from all my transgressions;  do not make me the reproach of the foolish.  9 I was mute, I did not open my mouth, because it was You who did it.  10 Remove Your plague from me;  I am consumed by the blow of Your hand.  11 When with rebukes You correct man for iniquity, You make his beauty melt away like a moth;  surely every man is vapor.  Selah  12 “Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear to my cry;  do not be silent at my tears;  for I am a stranger with You, a sojourner, as all my fathers were.  13 Remove Your gaze from me, that I may regain strength, before I go away and am no more.”

The following commentary is from Warren W. Wiersbe’s book ‘BE Worshipful’.

Both 38 and 39 record David attempting to remain silent in a time of trial, lest he say something that would offend believers or give ammunition to unbelievers (38:13-14;  39:1-3, 9……)  David doesn’t seem to be gravely ill, but he has been visited by some “stroke” from the Lord because of his sins (vv. 9-11)……It appears that the wicked (“the foolish,” v. 8) were blaspheming God and maligning David in his affliction, and the king was greatly concerned lest he bring reproach on the name of the Lord……Recorded in this psalm are four progressive stages in David’s overcoming his difficult experience.

       1.  He Was Silent—a Burning Heart (vv. 1-3).  Seeing the prosperity of the wicked and hearing their blasphemous words so angered David that he wanted to retaliate and say something to defend God, but he deemed it best to keep quiet……There is “a time to keep silence, and a time to speak”(Eccl. 3:7), and wise is the person who knows the difference.  David didn’t argue with God (v. 9) or with those who reproached him, but he did pray to the Lord.

         2.  He Was Despondent—a Burdened Heart (vv. 4-6).  When we find ourselves burying our true feelings and creating physical and emotional pain for ourselves, then it’s time to talk to the Lord and seek His help……If you measure the length of life, you may become despondent, but if you look around you and measure the depth of life, you are appalled.  Life is swift, life is short, and for most people, life is futile.  In modern vocabulary, people are living for the image and not the reality.

           3.  He Was Confident—a Believing Heart (v. 7).  This is the central verse in the psalm and the turning point in David’s experience.  “If life is short and goes past so swiftly,” asks David, “what am I waiting for?  If the world is nothing but a shadow image, let me give myself to the Lord, who is the foundation of all that is real and lasting.”……The main concern is not how long we live but how we live……In turning by faith to the Lord, David moved from hopelessness to hope and from paralysis to action.

         4.  He Was Repentant—a Broken Heart (vv. 8-13).  We begin with David the sinner and listen to his prayer for forgiveness (vv. 8-9).  Like every truly convicted sinner, his mouth had been stopped (Rom. 3:19), and he admitted his guilt before God (see 1 Sam. 3:18; Lam. 1:21).  We don’t know the particular sins that had brought this stroke from the Lord, and we don’t have to know.  We do know that God listens to the cry of the brokenhearted (51:17) and forgives when we confess (1 John 1:9)……

          Next, David the sufferer pleaded with God to remove the stroke and heal his body (vv. 10-11……).  He used three images to get his point across:  a plague or sickness, draining away his life;  the blow of God’s hand, like a loving parent disciplining a child; the rebuke of His Word, which cut deeply into David’s heart……

           Finally, David the sojourner prays for God’s direction as he makes his pilgrim way through life with its joys and sorrows……We are not strangers to God, for He knows us and we know Him, but we are strangers with God as His welcomed guests……He hears our prayers and cries, and He sees our tears……His closing prayer was that God would turn away His frowning face and give him strength to return to life with its duties  and burdens and then one day enable him to pass into eternity.

I wish everyone a very blessed day.


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