Psalm 38 provides us with a very raw and honest insight into the tormented soul of King David as he faces God’s chastisement. Accepting of God’s discipline, it is a prayer for mercy and declaration of resolve that his single hope is in the Lord.
Psalm 38 is one of the seven penitential Psalms (6, 32, 38, 51,102,130 and 143); it is full of grief and complaint from the beginning to the end. David’s sins and his afflictions are the cause of his grief and the matter of his complaints. What these exactly are we are not told. He has a litany of complains about :
- God’s displeasure, and of his own sin which provoked God against him (v. 1-5).
- His bodily sickness (v. 6-10).
- His friends avoiding (v. 11).
- The enemies who plot against him, pleading his good conduct towards them, yet confessing his sins against God (v. 12-20).
Ouch! This man is in need of some serious help and it is quite understandable why his friends may have deserted him. But there is still someone he and we all can turn to at his lowest ebb, at times of great distress.
David concludes the psalm with earnest prayers to God for his gracious presence and help (v. 21-22).
21 Do not forsake me, O Lord!
O my God, be not far from me!
22 Make haste to help me,
O Lord, my salvation!