Monday, April 03, 2017

Psalm 38 - The effects of sin in a believer's life

 King David, despite his periods of failure was a man who was really in touch with God. He is called ‘a man after God’s own heart’ in 1 Samuel chapter 13 verse 14 and in Acts chapter 13 verse 22. It appears that he knew the way that God thought and was happy to talk honestly with him. The question is, am I, are you?

In the first four verses of this psalm David asks the LORD not to rebuke him or to correct him. David knew that God was extremely angry about his sin. If David did not understand the seriousness of his offence God would be forced to correct him in a very severe way. There is no indication given in the psalm of the nature of David’s sin. Some writers, such as A G Clarke, feel that the psalm was written at the time when Absalom, David’s son, rose up against him and attempted to take the throne of Israel. Whatever the nature of David’s sin was, God was angry about it.

God is grieved when we sin. The good news is that a believer has automatic recourse to God. If we confess our sins then we receive forgiveness, 1 John chapter 1 verse 9.  1 John chapter 2 verses 1 & 2 teach that the Lord Jesus acts in our behalf in heaven even before we recognise and confess our sin. Christian’s today also have ongoing access to God to help us live to please Him. This is described as coming to the ‘throne of grace to find grace to help in time of need, Hebrews chapter 4 verse 16.

It is noticeable in this psalm that David tells his readers that he is going through physical and mental pain and agony because of his sin, verses 3, 5, 6 & 7. This tells us that moral sin can affect us physically as well as mentally and spiritually. Beware the psalmist is saying. Disobeying God has dramatic and painful effects in the life of a believer. Verses 5 to 8 talk about this.

After telling us how God feels about his sin and how he is suffering for his sin David advises that his sin is affecting the people he has contact with. His nearest and dearest cannot bring themselves to come near to him so they stand aloof, verse 11. They treat him as if he will contaminate them if they come too close. In the New Testament Christians are told not mix with believers who have sinned, 1 Cor. chapter 5 verses 5 & 11 and 2 Thess. chapter 3 verse 6. The reason for this is so that the offender will see the error of their ways, repent and come back to the Lord and the fellowship of his people.

David’s enemies also took advantage of the situation. They were delighted to see one of God’s people fall and were keen to goad him and to try to trip him up, verses 12, 16, 19 & 20.

As we conclude please note the lessons that David learned.

1.   To listen and hope in God and not to listen to men.
2.   To confess his sin and to experience personally the saving presence of God.

I trust that the Lord will help us to learn these lessons today.

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