Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Psalm 38 - The Leprosy of sin aborred by the righteous.

Here is "The inhabitant saying, I am sick" - David, and every believer with him, and the Head of all believers, David's Son, when he took his place in our world as The Inhabitant who was to heal the sicknesses of others.

One writer vehemently asserts, "It is a prophetic prayer of Christ; it has no personal reference whatever to David" (Tucker); while one of the ancient fathers is content with saying "It would be hard not to apply to Christ a Psalm that as graphically describes his passion as if we were reading it out of the gospels." (Augustine)

We are content to notice that the tone of the voice of he who speaks is none other than that of the speaker in Psalm 6, as verses 1 in both is sufficient to prove. Nor is it unlike Psalm 22, as verses 21 and 22 suggest (Psalm 22:29).

The difficulty in the way of supposing it used by the Lord Jesus, as descriptive of his feelings and state, when he took on our guilt by imputation, is not at all greater than in some passages of Psalms 40 and 49, which almost no one doubts to be his utterances.

There is some light cast on our Lord's feelings under the imputation of our sins, if we consider verse 5 to be a statement of his abhorrence of the sin he bears: "My woulds stink and are corrupt" - i.e., there is inexpressible loathsomeness in my festering wounds, those wounds which I have been subjected to "because of my foolishness", the folly imputed to me (as in Psalm 49:5), the foolishness, the infatuation and sins of my people.

He was weary of wearing that poisoned garment of our sins; he was weary of having our leprosy appearing on his spotless person; he was weary and woe-begone, and longed for the time when he should "appear without sin" (Heb 9:28).

It is thus that we can understand it to have been used by Christ, and yet to be suitable at the same time, hough in a different manner, to Christ's redeemed ones, who feel their personal corruption and guilt.

In either case, the title is appropriate: to bring to remembrance - just as in Psalm 70. It speaks of God apparently forgetting the sufferer, so that a cry ascends, equivalent to, "Lord, remember David and all his afflictions."

What a cry is verse 1: "Lord, rebuke me not" etc, in the lips of the Head or of the members. It conveys a foreboding apprehension of another wave of the wrath to come, ready to break over the already bruised soul.

"If it be possible, let this cup pass!" What a groan is verse 2, "Your arrows stick fast in me" - one of which arrows we saw on the bow in Psalm 7:12 - arrows that drink up the life blood.

What an overwhelming sight verse 4 presents "My iniquities have gone over my head," - like the tide rising while he is within the tide mark. What convulsive agony is depicted in verse 6, "I am racked with pain, I have bowed down greatly. Day by day I go in sadness."

How terrible in their very calmness are verses 9 and 10:
"Lord all my desire is before you and my groaning is not hidden from you.
My heart pants, my strength fails, the light of my eyes no longer remains in me."

Weeping and sorrow have dimmed the eye; a state to which His members have been at times reduced, as when that remarkable disciple in the Highlands of Scotland wept herself blind through sorrow over sin, after her awakening.

Then the gloomy cloud closes around Him, verse 11. "Lovers and friends stand aloof" - there is no sympathy. Nor does this gloom soon pass; for verse 17 renews the sad complaint.
"I am ready to halt" - to fall and be broken.
The keeper of Israel appears to have forgotten me, and does not keep my feet from sliding (Psalm 121:3).

The deliverance is foreseen in verse 21, "Help quickly" - save me from those who are to me like Satan (v20); and the fulness of it at last is implied and wrapped up in "O, LORD my salvation."

If the LORD is my salvation, then He is to me what he was to Moses at the Red Sea (Exodus 15:2) and my triumph is sure and full.

The Head and his members have a salvation from the LORD of wondrous extent - beginning with the resurrection of the Head, and to be completed at the resurrection of all the members. Read, then, in either application, this Psalm describes: The Leprosy of sin aborred by the righteous.

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