This is the fourth of eight penitential Psalms and it is one of the most thorough in regard to describing the inner man’s struggle and depths of despair during a time of deep dark depression. Psalm 6, 25, 32, 51, 103, 130 and 143 are the other seven penitential with Psalm 51 being the most famous also providing the most thorough in regard to the cleansing and repentance of David.
However, the Light of the Lord Jesus Christ definitely shines through here in this most informative Psalm as the Cure for Depression is found in the brief but powerful section of (v.15-18). But, before we cover the Cure for Depression, we must begin with (v.1-5) which show the Cry of the Depressed.
‘O LORD, rebuke me not in Thy wrath, neither chasten me in Thy hot displeasure. For Thine arrows stick fast in me, and Thy hand presseth me sore. There is no soundness in my flesh because of Thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin. For mine iniquities are gone over my head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me.’
This revealing cry from David, uncovers the divine source of David’s troubled soul. He recognizes that the LORD is chastening him severely and the result is ‘no soundness in my flesh...neither is there any rest in my bones BECAUSE OF MY SIN.’ God is chastening, but the cause is this little three letter word SIN!
In (v.4) David uses the word ‘iniquities’ showing the depth of his error, and the weight of these transgressions against God are pulling him down into the deepest despair as this verse is but an introduction to the next section which thoroughly describes the physical and spiritual results of lingering in sin.
The Cost of Lingering in Sin (v.5-14) becomes the focus of David’s expression as he mentions the physical consequences, the spiritual consequences, and the loss of lovers, friends, and kinsmen. His enemies also are actively working against him, and he is relegated to the likeness of someone who is ‘deaf...a dumb man’ showing the magnitude of his troubled soul.
But, The Cure for Depression comes in (v.5-18) bringing us in just a few brief sentences the miraculous working of the Lord through the simplicity that is in Christ Jesus. Yes, it is the precious Blood of Christ that brings cleansing and the only cure-all for the sin sick soul as we learn in I John 1:7-9 ‘The Blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin...If we confess out sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’
There it is, the New Testament promise of God demonstrated here in Psalm 38:18 ‘I will declare mine iniquity, I will be sorry for my sin.’ This tells of the working of God as David declares or confesses his sin having a repentant heart being ‘sorry’ for his sin. God, through the precious Blood of Christ provided cleansing and the cure for David’s soul.
Truly, David’s hope was in the LORD as stated in (v.15) ‘For in Thee O LORD, do I hope: Thou wilt hear, O Lord my God.’ This coupled with his confession and repentant heart in (v.18) is the formula for us as we too have the need of cleansing from sin which if not confessed with a repentant heart will keep us from abiding in Christ and enjoying the sweet fellowship of the Lord!
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