A Glimmer of Hope (By Chris Barnes)
Text: Psalm 38
OBSERVE: Psalm 38 is a psalm of David and one that is riddled with guilt. This guilt was bred through pain and darkness as David experiences the spiritual and physical effects of his sin. We do not know when this petition happened in David’s life, as there are no certain clues to a specific time or event. What we do observe in this psalm is the enormous depth of David’s trouble followed by a glimmer of hope. This glimmer of hope is found in verse 15: “For in You, O Lord, I hope; you will hear, O Lord my God”.
INTERPRET: Within the depth of David’s trouble, we can see that David was aware of God’s deep displeasure with his condition. Knowing this, David follows a wise path by crying out to God, drawing near to the Lord. In the first two verses, it becomes clear that David is pierced to the heart by God’s displeasure which leads to David becoming overwhelmed by his sins. David not only sensed God’s displeasure with him spiritually, but also physically. This was likely the physical toll of stress during this time of deep spiritual anguish. David felt oppressed under the weight of his sin and hoped that an honest and heartfelt telling of his misery would move God to compassion. David called out to God with full transparency as his one and only hope, holding nothing back from God.
This cry is followed by a glimmer of hope. Despite his spiritual depression, David clung to hope in the Lord his God. Though he did not feel it, in faith he said “You will hear”. David chose to allow his affliction to press him toward God rather than from away from God. The psalm ends with a heartfelt cry from David as he needed to sense God’s presence. It is likely that the absence of that sense was David’s greatest trial in this dark time.
APPLICATION: This psalm was manifested out of David’s anguish over his sin. Nowhere in this psalm does David declare to be innocent. David pressed his anguish and need for help before God with urgency and looked to the Lord as his only salvation. If the Israelites had followed this example, it is safe to say that they would not be living in exile during Ezekiel’s life.
As sinners today, we can learn from David’s petitionary blueprint. We need to be pierced to the heart by anguish over our sin, we need to acknowledge the harm that our sin can have on all aspects of our life and we need to reveal everything to our God. All of this is possible when we have hope in our Lord Jesus; who will hear us. We need to press our anguish over sin and stress our need for the Lord with urgency; and look to the Lord Jesus as our only hope for salvation.
REFLECTION: Read Psalm 38 from your own heart and make a wholehearted petition to Jesus.
PRAYER: Jesus; do not forsake me a sinner; forgive my sin which makes me so far from you! Make haste to help me as only you can, O Lord, my salvation. Thank you so much for your willingness to suffer the cost to rescue a sinner like me. You are my only hope. AMEN.
SONG: To Rescue A Sinner Like Me by Rich Abante
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In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.