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Psalm 38

A song of David for remembering.

This is one of a group of psalms known in later tradition as the penitential psalms, namely, psalms that confess sins and express confidence in God’s mercy. In this psalm a serious illness threatens the life of the worshiper.

O Eternal One, please do not scold me in Your anger;
    though Your wrath is just, do not correct me in Your fury.
The arrows from Your bow have penetrated my flesh;
    Your hand has come down hard on me.

Because Your anger has infected the depths of my being and stolen my health,
    my flesh is ill.
My bones are no longer sound
    because of all the sins I have committed.
My guilt has covered me; it’s more than I can handle;
    this burden is too heavy for me to carry.

Now sores cover me—infected and putrid sores,
    because of all the foolish things I have done.
I am bent down, cowering in fear, prostrate on the ground;
    I spend the day in mourning, guilty tears stinging and burning my eyes.
My back aches. I’m full of fever;
    my body is no longer whole, no longer well.
I am completely numb, totally spent, hopelessly crushed.
    The agitation of my heart makes me groan.

O Lord, You know all my desires;
    nothing escapes You; You hear my every moan.
10 My heart pounds against my chest; my vigor is completely drained;
    my eyes were once bright, but now the brightness is all gone.
11 Even my friends and loved ones turn away when they see this marked man;
    those closest to me are no longer close at all.

12 Those who want me dead lay traps upon my path;
    those who desire my downfall threaten—my end is near—
    they spend their days plotting against me.

13 Like one who is deaf, my ears do not hear.
    Like one who is mute, my tongue cannot speak.
14 The truth is this: I am like one who cannot hear;
    I cannot even protest against them.

15 Still I wait expectantly for You, O Eternal One—
    knowing You will answer me in some way, O Lord, my True God.
16 I only asked, “When I stumble on the narrow path,
    don’t let them boast or celebrate my failure.

17 I am prepared for what may come; my time must be short;
    my pain and suffering a constant companion.
18 I confess, “I have sinned,”
    and I regret the wrong I have done.
19 My enemies are alive and well,
    they are powerful and on the increase,
    and for no reason, they hate me.
20 When I do good, my opponents reward me with evil;
    though I pursue what is right, they stand against me.

21 Eternal One, do not leave me to their mercy;
    my True God, don’t be far from me when they are near.
22 I need Your help now—not later.
    O Lord, be my Rescuer.

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