Children of Character (By: Chris Barnes)
TEXT: PSALM 38
OBSERVE: In verses 1-4 of psalm 38, we see David appealing to God to avoid chastisement for a sin that he committed. In verses 5-8, we see that the mental anguish is so severe that David described it in terms of physical disease. In verses 10-20, we are told about the desertion of friends and the opposition of enemies. Then in the final two verses, we see David pleading for help from his Lord and Savior.
INTERPRET: There are many scholars who believe that this is a psalm that David wrote after the murder of Uriah. The story can be found in the book of 1 Samuel. This is when King David saw a woman that he wanted to marry who was already married. The woman’s name was Bathsheba and her husband’s name was Uriah, who was a soldier. At that time the army was fighting David’s enemies so David sent Uriah to fight on the front lines, so that he would be killed. Uriah was killed before long and David then married his widow.
For many years David would bear the stigma of this sinful, adulterous conspiracy with Bathsheba. Even though he was forgiven, his reputation was stained in the sight of many. David was also God’s chosen one, so this act was a very poor witness of his great God. Within this psalm David describes the absolute agony of living with the results of his poor character.
APPLY: To avoid such pain, scripture tells us to guard our heart (Proverbs 4:23), to walk wisely (Ephesians 5:15), and to follow in Jesus’ steps (1 Peter 2:21). It takes just a small moment of weakness to damage our good name and more importantly, our testimony of Jesus. Instead, we should be seeking to use each moment to bring glory to God, because that is the ultimate purpose/calling we have as his children.
This is where our character becomes so vital. Our calling is very important, but it is grossly hindered without being paired with the proper character. We are called to be witnesses for God, but we can’t shine the light if we don’t let the light shine into our own lives. We are called to help others with their struggles, but it is difficult to help them avoid tripping if we ourselves do not try to avoid the same pitfalls. We are called to walk alongside others towards Jesus, but we can’t do this unless we ourselves are following his steps in obedience. If we take care of our character, our reputation will take care of itself. More importantly, we will glorify God. In doing so, we will fulfill our ultimate calling as God’s children.
PRAYER: Holy Lord, you are holy and righteous and good; and your desire is that we become holy and good like you. May our lives reflect a character that is separate from this world as we seek to be a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a people belonging to you. AMEN.
SONG: Build My Life
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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.