Better Than Ourselves

13 Look away from me, that I may enjoy life again
    before I depart and am no more. Psalm 39:13

To close out Psalm 39, David realizes all too well that his life is frail at best. He does not need or want to be scrutinized by the Lord any more because he realizes the weight of his sin. It’s both a prayer and a cry for help.

The verse is similar to Isaiah 6:5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”

What was God’s response? When one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. 7He touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.” Isaiah 6:6-7

In today’s vernacular it would be: “oh no. You’re not getting off the hook that easily. I have work for you.”

Despite David’s sins and sorrows, God used David mightily. He didn’t let him off the hook just because David told Him to go away. He knows us better than we know ourselves.

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A Question

12 “Hear my prayer, Lord,
    listen to my cry for help;
    do not be deaf to my weeping.
I dwell with you as a foreigner,
    a stranger, as all my ancestors were. Psalm 39:12

This is an interesting verse in light of what is now happening on the United States-Mexican border. Streams of kids are coming in across the border, and are being escorted to many different States. There’s a debate among Believers what we should be doing about the problem.

  • Some say “kick ’em out; they’re invading our land.”
  • Others say we need to do what we can do help them because they are very vulnerable now.

People are very passionate about this issue. We can all acknowledge that God has always had a heart towards orphans, widows, aliens (foreigners). But we also know that politicians aren’t above manufacturing crises like this.

So then, what do you think the best response we should have as Believers?

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Save Me From Myself

8 Save me from all my transgressions;
    do not make me the scorn of fools.
9 I was silent; I would not open my mouth,
    for you are the one who has done this.
10 Remove your scourge from me;
    I am overcome by the blow of your hand.
11 When you rebuke and discipline anyone for their sin,
    you consume their wealth like a moth—
    surely everyone is but a breath. Psalm 39:8-11

Throughout these Psalms we see David having peaks and valleys, and often within the same verse! As he previously began to examine his life and the shortness of it, now he focuses on his sin. While he acknowledges his sin, he just doesn’t want to be scorned because of it. It seems like he wants to sin and skate free too. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your viewpoint), sin has consequences. Some of those consequences are in real time as the sin occurs, and some are delayed.

I had a friend in Alaska who always said to me when asked how I could pray for him. “Save me from myself” was his standard answer. More than 25 years have passed and I continue to remember those words as if they were spoken yesterday. David, in essence, is praying that prayer. He knows himself all too well and wants to be delivered from it! Consider a similar passage in Romans 7 where Paul says the same thing:

15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. Romans 7:15-20

Sometimes asking God to save us from ourselves is a very fitting prayer.

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In Christ

7 “But now, Lord, what do I look for?
    My hope is in you. Psalm 39:7

Even as we count our fleeting days, it’s imperative that we rely on Christ to see us through those days. We can easily become discouraged and saddened by the events of our lives and all the horrific things happening in the world. We can even become depressed that we have not done the best with our gifts and talents up to this point in our lives.

Let’s not forget, our hope is in Christ. Our hope isn’t in systems or politicians or even family members.

Our hope is in Christ.

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Epiphanies

6 “Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom;
    in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth
    without knowing whose it will finally be. Psalm 39:6

This verse completes the previous two verses by acknowledging what is obvious about what is happening all around us: people clamoring about trying to get ahead without considering the consequences of thinking ahead. When people have those “epiphanies” about where did the time go, they then realize how much of life they wasted.

Legend has it that Admiral Rickover, when interviewing junior officers, asked them two questions: (1) have you given 100% in everything you did? and (2) why not?

Those really aren’t bad questions in moving forward with our lives. We cannot change the past, but we can do something about the days ahead of us

Continue to meditate on verse four and do it for a month. It will certainly alter for the good what we are now doing.

  “Show me, Lord, my life’s end
    and the number of my days;
    let me know how fleeting my life is.

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