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  Bro. Tom’s Weekly Bible Study
  Week #136
Posted: December 2, 2007

PSALM 38:1-4

We turn out attention this week to the study of a new Psalm.  In Psalm 38 we call attention to the title, which is “A Psalm of David, to bring to remembrance.”  I must admit it is often not good to remember what God has by His own will decreed never to remember.  We often need to remember the cesspool from which God brought us.  Let us look this week at verses 1-4 which says, “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 mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me.”  I have entitled these verses “The Remembrance Of David’s Transgressions”.

            Let us look in verse 1 at ‘The Consequence Of Transgression’.  David uses the name ‘LORD’ in all caps for the name of God. This is the name of the covenant keeping God.  He is the God who keeps His promises even in the area of sin’s consequences.  God will forgive and remove the penalty of our sins but seldom does He ever remove the consequence.  He does often temper the consequences with grace and mercy that we may be able to bear it.

            David speaks to the LORD about His ‘rebuke’ and ‘chastening’ work.  The word ‘rebuke’ means to correct or right a wrong.  He asks not to be rebuked in God’s ‘wrath’.  The word means to chip off in a rage of indignation. When God rebukes us there will be a display of a state of anger but for Him to be fixed in that state is what David fears most of all.  He speaks of being ‘chastened’ in ‘thy hot displeasure’.  The word, ‘chasten’, means to correct with sure blows.  The phrase ‘hot displeasure’ is a fever of poisonous anger.  David pleads that the LORD not stay in the state of hot displeasure.  Let us be assured from the Word of God that the LORD does not wink or overlook our sin.

            Let us look next in verses 2-3 at ‘The Chastening Of Transgressions’.  David speaks of the arrows of God’s judgment for sins.  They are well aimed to hit the area of our life He desires to correct in us.  They ‘stick fast’, gives us the idea of being fixed and unmovable without God’s aid.  If that is not enough in His chastening work the sure hand of God that shot the arrow presses it and causes us a greater pain of sorrow.  Let us take these word pictures as warning to us.  May we not entertain the least of sins.  We do not want our God to prepare His bow of chastening and make us a quiver for His arrows of wrath.  This chastening has left its mark on the ‘soundness’ of David’s flesh.  The word ‘soundness’ has the idea of wholeness and completeness.  David’s health of his flesh was always coming up short.  Oh how often, but not always, it is not a Doctor that we need but an altar we need to bow at.  David says there was no ‘rest’ in his bones.  When there is a severe pain in the bones we can find no place of comfort whether it be sitting, lying, or standing.  When God deals with our sins with His bow of anger there will be no place of rest for our souls but to bow before Him in sorrow of repentance.

            In verse 4 we find ‘The Conviction From His Transgressions’.  David, the night he had an affair with Bathsheba never gave the first thought of reaping the consequences of sin. When he plotted to have her husband murdered to hide his sin he never thought there would be a day of reckoning with his sin.  We never think of such things in our sins but when correction sets in things are so different.  David in verse 4 sees his sins as an ocean going over his head.  The burden of his sins is more than he can bear.  Let us run short accounts with God.  May we sense the work of conviction before our sin and if not let conviction strike us while we are sinning.  Remember, sin leaves us like the troubled sea when it cannot rest.  The water keeps churning up mire and dirt but there is peace and forgiveness when we repent and flee from sin. 

We have been for several weeks studying Psalm 37 where David is comparing the outcome of the wicked and the righteous.  The age-old question is asked, ‘How can the wicked prosper while the righteous suffer loss?’  Let us look this week at Psalm 37 and verses 34-40 of which I have entitled “Their Experiences Are Concluded”.  Have your Bible in hand as we unpack these precious truths. 

In verse 34 I find ‘A Concluding Experience With Truth’.  I tapped into these verses last week but let me tap into them again today.  There are four key words in this verse.  The words are ‘wait’, ‘keep’, ‘inherit’, and ‘see’.  Oh my friend these are powerful words of concluding truths.  We are to ‘wait’ on the Lord.  It demands persistent patience and it is the hardest of all Christian virtues.  While we wait we must ‘keep’ (garrison around) His ways in our life.  David said when we do these things there will be definite conclusions.  For the righteous we will be exalted in an earthly kingdom and we will see the wicked cut off suddenly and without warning.  This is a truth that can be banked on; it will stand true when the world is on fire.  The wicked that have seemingly prospered in the world will be cut off and the righteous who has suffered loss here will be exalted over there.

In verses 35-36 there is ‘A Concluding Experience Of Time’.  David opens the journal of time and tells us what he has been blessed to observe.  He says “I have seen the wicked in great power,” He has certainly in his life with King Saul seen it up close and personal. The wicked, our text says, spread themselves like a ‘great green bay tree’.  I am reminded of Nebuchadnezzar who was a strong high tree only to be cut down to a stump.  In verse 36 we see time is under God’s control.  David said the wicked ‘passed away’ and though you may seek you will seldom find any evidence of their existence. “Men who were in everybody’s mouth but yesterday are forgotten tomorrow, for only virtue is immortal.” (Spurgeon)

We shall never find time to be in man’s favor.  We are old by John that their time is at hand.  This is the time of His coming.  The passing of time brings old age, the break down of the body, and the first death.  Paul tells us to redeem the time for the days are evil.  Let us not waste it for it is so precious. We can never turn back the clock save in our memory.

The only person time is on the side of is the lost sinner who has not yet died and gone to Hell.  If he is still alive it is just a little time he will not spend in Hell.

Let us lastly examine verses 37-40 which I have entitled, ‘A Concluding Experience in Trust’.  In verse 40c we see the little phrase “…because they trust in him.”  The word ‘trust’ has the idea of casting the whole being upon the Lord, all the thoughts, doings, and feelings leaning upon Him completely.  What is to be gained by such an act?  In verse 37 we are told he will be a marked man.  He will have the mark of a ‘perfect’ man. (Mature in his walk) He will be ‘upright’. (Christ-like in his walk) He will be a man of ‘peace’.  This speaks of tranquility, easy yoke, light burden and where none of the circumstances of life ever rob you of your rest.

In verse 38 the wicked transgressor trust in themselves.  They will be cut off and perish forever.

We are told in verses 38-40 that because of their trust in the Lord they will find ‘strength’, ‘help’, and ‘deliverance’ in a time of trouble.  Our question of why do the wicked prosper while the righteous suffer will be made clear in the end of time.  It is answered so well in the words of this song!

            Tempted and tried we’re oft made to wonder, Why it must be thus all the day long, While there are others living about me, Never molested tho’ in the wrong. 

            When death has come and taken our loved ones, It leaves our home so lonely and drear. Then do we wonder why others prosper, living so wicked year after year.

            Faithful till death said our loving master, A few more days to labor and wait.  Trials of the road will seem as nothing as we sweep through the beautiful gate.

            When we see Jesus coming in glory, When He comes from His home in the sky. Then we shall meet Him in that bright morning, We’ll understand is all by and by.

            Farther along we’ll know all about it.  Farther along we’ll understand why.

            Cheer up my brother, live in the sunshine. We’ll understand it all by and by.