We move on today to Psalm 38 and our thoughts and emotions are forcibly taken into a different direction (remember there is great variation in the Psalms as there is any hymn or song book) as we come to another penitential (or perhaps sorry) Psalm, or as it simply says in the title ‘A petition’.
Here is an urgent appeal for relief from a severe and painful illness, which David sees as God’s “rebuke” for a sin he has committed. You can really feel the desperation, pain, and shame as he speaks out these words.
But do note that when the Lord is offended because of our sin, and his anger and wrath come to the fore (v.1), amazingly it is to the same Lord that we appeal for His presence (v.21), help and salvation (v.22).One writer puts it like this – ‘Only the Lord’s favour can deliver us from the Lord’s disfavour.’
Of course, not all sickness comes as punishment for sin, but some does. Every case of sickness is an opportunity for self-examination (do note SELF-examination rather than examination or judgement of others), and David knew what he had done, and also knew that he needed to confess his iniquity (v.18).
Interestingly in timing, our Bible passage this coming Sunday from 1 Corinthians Ch.11 touches on this issue.
But the joy of the good news of the gospel is that no sin confessed from a genuinely penitent heart is unforgivable. In my last 2 assemblies at St Mary’s RC School (yesterday and a fortnight previous), we have looked at the stories of the sinful woman anointing and washing Jesus’ feet (Luke Ch.7), and Zacchaeus the tax-collector (Luke Ch.19) who was lost in his sinful ways but was found by Jesus and changed his life because of that. The children clearly got the message that Jesus is the most forgiving person ever, and is willing to forgive all who come to Him to say sorry.
And of course we need to keep hearing that message for ourselves, and to tell others. ‘Only the Lord’s favour can deliver us from the Lord’s disfavour.’
In our prayers today, let us pray for our growth as a church, and in particular, think of those who have been on the fringe of our church in recent times – Tracey, Sally, Terry, Mikala and family.