TLIC Psalms. March 19. Discipline.

Read Psalm 38:1-8. 1O Lord, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath! 2For your arrows have sunk into me, and your hand has come down on me. 3There is no soundness in my flesh because of your indignation; there is no health in my bones because of my sin. 4For my iniquities have gone over my head; like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me. 5My wounds stink and fester because of my foolishness, 6I am utterly bowed down and prostrate; all the day I go about mourning. 7For my sides are filled with burning, and there is no soundness in my flesh. 8I am feeble and crushed; I groan because of the tumult of my heart.

This isn’t just suffering, this is suffering with guilt and shame. Clearly David has sinned in some egregious way, and against his iniquity has come the hand of God crashing down upon him, crushing him in both body and spirit. There is no soundness in his flesh as well as tumult in his heart.

David’s opening prayer, however, is not a cry for the removal of God’s hand of discipline, but rather that his arrows might not be purely from his anger and wrath without also his mercy.

Rest assured that being in God’s covenant love and faithfulness will never mean that God will not discipline those he loves. Are David’s ailments the natural consequences of his choices? Are they a “messenger from Satan?” Are they psychological manifestations of his guilt? Whatever the cause, they are God’s hand pushing David into the prostrate position of repentance. And so God’s anger IS his mercy. His wrath IS his love and faithfulness.

Can the same be said for us in Christ? Surely our physical suffering is not always a result of our sin, but neither is it never a result of our sin. Too often we can shrug off both our feelings of guilt and the physical pain it brings. We fail to remember that the deep love of Christ in our hearts may also be the tumult in our hearts and the crushing of our flesh.

To live is Christ is to experience the indignation of Jesus over our sin and the brokenness it brings. May our brokenness before Christ always leave us prostrate on the floor before his mercy.

Prayer. Jesus, help me to trust your discipline in my life. I sure don’t like it, but may I hate my sin even more. Amen.


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