Although we do not know the exact background of Psalm 39 it appears to go alongside Psalms 37 and 38. In this Psalm David deals with the triumph of the wicked and the suffering of the righteous. He also continues the idea found in Psalm 38 of being silent in the face of his enemies. The Psalm was written to the choirmaster, Jeduthun (1 Chronicles 16:41.) David wrote the words, and Jeduthun would develop the music, teach the choir, and then with the choir use this song in the worship of God.
(1-3) Silence does not work
As David contemplates the success of his enemies, he resolves to remain silent. He cannot quiet his mind, but maybe he can resolve to not speak his mind. He says nothing, good or bad, but this does not work. His thoughts set his soul on fire to the place where he has to speak.
(4-6) David’s prayer for wisdom
Instead of speaking out against his enemies or going to his friends, David instead turns to the Lord. He knows reality in his head, but he needs God’s grace for it to take hold of his inmost being. David knows that life is short, and all that he might accumulate in life will not matter at the end of the day. However, this knowledge has not taken complete hold of his heart.
(7-11) David’s need of grace
David is keenly aware that logic will not fix his struggle. He needs God’s grace. His hope is entirely in the Lord. He is waiting for God to act. He needs God to remove his sins from him. So much of his struggle is God’s discipline. This discipline has made him realize what he is apart of from God’s grace. The only difference between him and his enemies is the grace of God.
(12-13) Pleas for help
David closes this song with a prayer for help. He is struggling, crying, and broken. He asks God to come through for him and remove His hand of discipline.
In the Christian life we are going to encounter difficult circumstances. People will hate us, and we will fall into sin. God in His love will discipline us for our sin to bring us back to Himself. When in these circumstances we must be very careful that we do not sin with our mouths. We can lash out a people or speak harshly of God. As good as it is to keep our mouth shut, this will not solve the inner turmoil of our hearts. We must vent to God and express to Him our inmost thoughts.
As we speak with God, we must realize that head knowledge will not deliver us. David knows what he needs to know. There is a difference between knowing something in our heads and believing it in our hearts. David comes before the Lord so that God might work mightily in his life. We must seek God for the faith to believe what we already know in our heads to be true. We need His strength and grace to live the Christian life.
Is there a difference between what you know in your head and what you see in your life?
Will you come to Jesus Christ for His grace and faith?
Will you come to Jesus for victory over sin?