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Psalm 39

A good father disciplines his child not just to correct the action in the moment but to correct character for a lifetime.  That’s what the Lord does to us as well.  Hebrews 12:6 says, “The Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son”.  A child sometimes does not understand or appreciate a father’s correction.  In fact, it can make them upset with their father.  Psalm 39 is one of seven penitential psalms (6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, 143) where the psalmist acknowledges their sin and understands their need for God’s forgiveness and intervention.  Although David’s first reaction to his sin was not repentance, he eventually repented, wrote this psalm and asked his praise leaders to use it in public worship in the temple.  You know someone has repented when they can acknowledge not only their sin but their struggle to acknowledge their sin.

At first, David had good intentions and was silent (vv. 1-3) in attempts to control his tongue concerning the consequences of his sin, especially “in the presence of the wicked”.  This must have been hard for David because didn’t even say anything good (v. 2).  His best efforts and plan worked momentarily as any of ours does.  He may have been silent about his affliction caused by his sin on the outside, but he was burning with anger on the inside (v. 3).  When this happens, it won’t be long until it affects our outward actions and for David, he soon spoke out of despair and anger.  Verses 4-6 reveal David’s desire to die.  He was so hopeless and frustrated at one point he said, “Show me my life’s end and the number of my days” (v. 4).  Basically, David said, “What’s the point of life anymore!”  Not even the riches of the world could help him at this point (v. 6).  Instead of becoming repentant, David was despondent.  Hopefully, in our darkest of days, we will see the Light that is Jesus.  He is our blessed Hope (Titus 2:13) that does not disappoint (Romans 5:5).

Verse seven shows us the point at which David’s heart changed. He said, “But now, Lord, what do I look for?  My hope is in you.”  In our remorse and anguish over sin, we must turn to the Hope that is Christ. 1 Peter 1:3-6 tells us to praise the Lord for His mercy, new birth, and living hope that comes through Jesus’ resurrection.  Through it, we receive a perfect inheritance in heaven even though we “may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials” for a little while.  It seems David had learned his lesson from his sin, a fruit of true repentance.  David’s hopelessness turned to hope and once again asked the Lord to remove His discipline (vv. 8-12) and restore the joy of life once again (v. 13).


  1. Are there situations where you seem cool on the outside but are hot on the inside?
  2. Even though your sin brought on the consequences you are experiencing, do you sometimes feel like giving up because of them?
  3. Are you going to stay despondent or become repentant?


Lord, help me be repentant.  Thank You for being a loving Father Who disciplines us when we do wrong.  Your loving correction should help me see the need to return to Your grace, ways, and will.  You are my Hope and You alone can bring Joy from the ugliness of sin.  Thank You for forgiveness, discipline, and restoration.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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Stephen and his wife Haley have called Arkansas home all of their lives. Stephen has served in several ministry roles over the last 25 years and as a lead pastor for the last 8 years. Stephen attended Williams Baptist College and earned a BA in Biblical Studies from Ouachita Baptist University, an MA, MDiv, and DMin in Christian Leadership and Pastoral Ministries from Liberty University. When not pastoring, Stephen enjoys running, cycling, reading, writing, camping, fishing, and spending time with his family.

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