On Monday I felt the Lord God lead me to Psalm 39, that it should be my topic for this week. Because there is so much in it I wanted to break it down into three parts. In the first post, we discussed how important it is for us to watch our words, that what we say is what will happen in our lives – both good and bad. Today I want to talk about repenting of our sins.
I said, “I will watch my ways
and keep my tongue from sin;
I will put a muzzle on my mouth
while in the presence of the wicked.”
So I remained utterly silent,
not even saying anything good.
But my anguish increased;
my heart grew hot within me.
While I meditated, the fire burned;
then I spoke with my tongue:
“Show me, Lord, my life’s end
and the number of my days;|
let me know how fleeting my life is.
You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
the span of my years is as nothing before You.
Everyone is but a breath,
even those who seem secure.
“Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom;
in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth
without knowing whose it will finally be.
“But now, Lord, what do I look for?
My hope is in You.
Save me from all my transgressions;
do not make me the scorn of fools.
I was silent; I would not open my mouth,
for You are the one who has done this.
Remove Your scourge from me;
I am overcome by the blow of Your hand.
When You rebuke and discipline anyone for their sin,
You consume their wealth like a moth—
surely everyone is but a breath.
“Hear my prayer, Lord,
listen to my cry for help;
do not be deaf to my weeping.
I dwell with You as a foreigner,
a stranger, as all my ancestors were.
Look away from me, that I may enjoy life again
before I depart and am no more.”
Repent of Sin
In verse 7 David says: “But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.” We need to remember to put our hope in the Lord. This isn’t an easy concept. It’s easy to say, it’s easy to tell people to do it, but to truly act on it in your own life is the challenge. I keep a journal of my prayers so that later in life I can look back and see how far God has brought us, how He has answered prayer. This year’s prayer journal is actually a word document and, of course, every time I open it, it starts at the beginning which was the past February. I skimmed through it this morning before I started my quiet time and saw that what I was desperately praying four months ago, I’m still praying today. It really hit me that I haven’t changed much over the past four months. I’m still worried about the same thing, still doubting that I’m hearing from God. Why? Because I haven’t been truly putting my hope in the Lord. Hope is defined in the dictionary as, “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen” but it is also defined as “a feeling of trust.” Now, I’ve felt that feeling of expectation and desire, but I haven’t been consistent in my feeling of trust toward God.
The reason this is important in today’s post is that if we don’t have our hope in the Lord, how can we possibly trust that our sins are forgiven? How can we repent of sin if we don’t trust that God has not only forgiven us but isn’t going to punish us every time we do something wrong?
In verse 8 David continued, “Save me from all my transgressions; do not make me the scorn of fools.” So, he first wanted to make it clear that his hope was in the Lord, yet he was asking the Lord to save him from his transgressions, or sins. He was repenting of his sins. In fact, that was why God called David a man after His own heart (Acts 13:22) because even though David messed up a lot and he sinned plenty of times, he was always quick to repent and turn back to following God.
Yes, our sins are forgiven the moment we receive the gift of salvation, but we still need to repent every time we sin. It isn’t so that God will forgive us – that’s already done. It’s so that we acknowledge that we messed up, that we need His forgiveness, and that we need His help to not mess up in this way again. It keeps us humble and focused on the Lord instead of on ourselves.
Now, in verses 10 and 13 David says something that feels a little harsh about God: “Remove Your scourge from me; I am overcome by the blow of Your hand. Look away from me, that I may enjoy life again before I depart and am no more.” It’s clear that David believes his unhappiness and misery is a punishment from God and it probably was at the time. Before Jesus came to the earth, God did punish His people when they sinned because it was the only way they would learn. He wanted them to understand how terrible their sin was to Him.
After Jesus died for our sins He took the punishment of God on Himself. I see no Biblical evidence that God still punishes us (followers of Christ) for our sins. Yes, He’ll punish those who aren’t born-again, and if we’re doing something wrong He’ll allow us to experience the consequences. But He doesn’t actively punish His children for their sins because He doesn’t see our sins anymore; He sees us through the blood of Jesus. However, it certainly feels like He’s punishing us sometimes doesn’t it?
When I was looking back at my prayer journal entry in February I realized that I was still asking God the same thing today: “What are we doing wrong that You refuse to help us?” I was literally asking Him that this morning, four months later! I guess I haven’t gotten it yet into my heart, even though it’s in my head, that God isn’t punishing us for anything. The reason He hasn’t answered our prayers yet is that it isn’t the right time and that may be why He isn’t answering your prayers yet. The hardest part about being a Christian, other than active persecution, is having to wait on God’s timing especially when we are afraid. But God always waits until we get to the point where no one could possibly think we did it ourselves – everyone will know that whatever has happened in our lives is a miracle from God so that He gets all the power and glory.
If we want a closer relationship with the Lord, we must learn to repent of our sins. Not for His sake, because we are already forgiven through the blood of Christ, but for our sake. We need to humble ourselves, learn to despise sin and submit ourselves to Him. And we need to remember that we are forgiven and loved by God, that we can put our hope and trust in Him because He loves us so much and will take care of us.
My last post for the week will be wrapping up this mini-study on Psalm 39. I hope and pray that you guys enjoy it. I’m looking forward to the weekend! God bless!