We do not know the exact occasion of this Psalm of David, but we know that it was written when he was facing some type of sickness. He sings this song as part of a memorial offering; he wants God to remember him in his suffering.
(1-8) Sickness and sin
David is seriously ill. It would appear that he has some sort of open sores (v. 5), severe pain in his stomach or groin that made it difficult for him to stand upright (v. 6-7), weakness (v. 8, 10), heart problems (v. 10), and vision problems (v.10.) David sees a strong connection between his sickness and his sin. Although not all sickness is the direct result of some specific sin, there are many sicknesses that are. Several examples include Herod for his pride, those partaking of the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner, Ananias and Saphira, and James 5:13-16. Although David sees a connection between his sickness and his sin, he grieves over his sin more than anything. David is not burdened because of the consequences of his sin; he is burdened because of his sin. David’s conviction is a greater burden than his sickness.
(9-14) The attacks of the enemy
Ungodly people attack when we are weak. David is under attack once again from some unnamed source. He is not just under attack, but all his supporters have abandoned him. He is abandoned, alone, sick, broken, and under attack. In response to these attacks, he continues as if he never heard them. He is intimately acquainted enough with his sins that he does not even respond to defend himself or point out the error of his attackers. His own grief over his sin is more painful than anything anyone else could say.
(15-22) Pleas for help
As his memorial offering goes up in smoke, David’s prayer for help ascends to God. He finds hope in God alone, not in himself. He is ready to quit, but that will not stop him from repenting for his sin. David’s repentance stands in stark contrast with his enemies. They show no remorse for or acknowledgement of their sin. There is no brokenness in their lives. David prays that God would move quickly for his help.
Sickness, pain, anxiety, depression, and the attacks of others can all be used by the Lord for our good. It can cause us to run to Jesus and search our souls.
Will you prioritize your soul more than your body?
Will you search your life for sin?
Will you repent of this sin?
Do you need to stop listening to the enemies of your soul?
Do you need to stop defending yourself?
Will you surrender your life to Jesus?
“A Song for the Sick” – Psalm 38