March 15 2023
Today, Wednesday March 15
“Hear My Prayer, O LORD”
"And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You. Deliver me from all my transgressions; Do not make me the reproach of the foolish. I was mute, I did not open my mouth, Because it was You who did it. Remove Your plague from me; I am consumed by the blow of Your hand. When with rebukes You correct man for iniquity, You make his beauty melt away like a moth; Surely every man is vapor. Selah
"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. Remove Your gaze from me, that I may regain strength, Before I go away and am no more."
In Psalm 39 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). Also, the old problem of the prosperity of the wicked is in the picture (v. 1). 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 that we notice in David's overcoming his difficult experience that we might relate to in our own lives
In verses 1-3, David was silent, and he had a burning heart. In verses 4-8, David seems to be despondent, and he has a burdened heart. In verse 7, David becomes confident as he turns to the Lord with a believing heart and finds hope. Now in verses 8-13, David was repentant with a broken heart.
David acknowledges his sin and prays for deliverance. “Deliver me from all my transgressions”. He prays for forgiveness (vv. 8-9). When we feel God’s chastening hand upon us and He confronts us with our sin by His Word and His Holy Spirit, we tend to start making excuses for our sins and blame others. Sometimes we even blame God like Adam and Eve did when God found them hiding and trying to cover up their guilt.
But when we are finally broken over our transgressions and admit our sin, like David, our mouths are stopped. Romans 3:19 says it so clearly. ”Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God”. Like every truly convicted sinner, David’s mouth had been stopped, and he admitted his guilt before God. “I was mute, I did not open my mouth, Because it was You who did it” (v. 9).
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. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart-- These, O God, You will not despise” (Psalm 51:17). God always forgives us when we confess our sins (1 John 1:9). David was especially concerned that he does not give occasion to "the foolish" to ridicule his faith (Psalms 14:1; 69:7; 74:22; 79:4).
Next, David the sufferer pleaded with God to remove the stroke and heal his body (vv. 10-11; see 32:4; 38:2). 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, that cut deeply into David's heart. C. S. Lewis was correct when he wrote in The Problem of Pain, "God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to arouse a deaf world." The human body ages, decays, and dies; and the material wealth we gather gradually loses its value, like a moth silently destroying a garment. Vanity of vanity, all is vanity—unless we put our faith and hope in God.
Finally, David the sojourner prays for God's direction as he makes his pilgrim way through life with its joys and sorrows. The world is a "vain show" (v. 6)—John Bunyan called it "Vanity Fair"—and God's people are aliens and strangers here (Ps.119:19; Gen. 23:4; Lev. 25:23; 1 Chron. 29:15; Heb. 11:13; 1 Peter 1:1; 2:11).
In his closing prayer David asks God to 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. The phrase "no more" doesn't suggest annihilation or the absence of an afterlife, but that David would "no more" be on his earthly pilgrimage. "I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever" (Psalm 23:6).
What is the Lord saying to you today in your pain? God hears our prayers and cries, and He sees our tears.