For I am about to fall, and my pain is ever with me.
I confess my iniquity; I am troubled by my sin.
May are those who are my vigorous enemies; those who hate me without reason are numerous.
Those who repay my good with evil slander me when I pursue what is good. (vv 17-20)
Modern readers are tempted to dismiss this psalm as the product of ancient superstition and ignorance of the source of bodily infirmities. The psalmist attributes the overwhelming pain and agony of his suffering to a personal attack by God due to his sinfulness. We understand disease and the decay of body from a scientific perspective but we should be slow to allow this knowledge to color our understanding of God’s hand on our lives.
O Lord, do not rebuke me in you anger or discipline me in your wrath. (v1)
Our actions have consequences, good and bad. Should the Lord prevent us from suffering the consequence of our choices because of his deep love for us? We do this for our children, more often than not. God wants us to grow and mature in our holiness and sometimes that requires pain to enter our lives. The pain reminds us of the choices that we made and gives us an incentive to make better choices in the future. On the other hand, there are numerous pains that are significantly disconnected by time and distance from their original source and we can mistakenly attribute them to chance or label them unexplainable. Anger with God can mount: why God, why? Why would you allow this into my life now? These moments, when we most desire to understand, are the times when our knees should hit the floor as we seek understanding.
O Lord, do not forsake me; be not far from me, O my God.
Come quickly to help me, O Lord my savior. (vv 21 –22)
Photo by Patrick Denker