Psalm 38 - Sickness and Penance and Faith in God




[New International Version] Psalm 38 belongs to Book I of the Book of Psalms. The Psalmist is in a state of total destruction, both in body and spirit, but he believes in the hand of God that can save him.

The PS 38 belong to Book I of the Book of PS composed of a collection of texts 150 poetry books organized by five. The Book of Psalms, for its wisdom and basic principles of human action , is considered the heart of the Old Testament. Book I encompasses Psalms 1 to 41 . The PS 38 is divided into 23 verses.

The Psalms are poems-prayers addressed to God, being the privileged way to address and speak to Him. These prayers represent human experiences and religious conscience . They portray the common man , with his faults, insecurities, fears and hopes and, even today, we can identify with the Psalmist and draw inspiration from these texts to pray and plead with God when we feel lost and anguished or to express our gratitude for some blessing received.

“There are enemies or friends, there is life or death, health or illness, pain or joy and, most of the time, there are no changes or gradations. Words are like stones and poetry like boulders carved by chisel”; “The Psalms are a bit like mountain paths, simple, especially when walking on snow, but they lead to the peaks; they are paths toward the peaks of meeting the Lord.” - Carlo Maria Martini, Cardinal of Milan

Psalm 38 - Sickness and Penance

1  Psalm. From David. For memorial .

2  Lord, rebuke me not in your wrath,
neither chasten me in your wrath.

3  For your arrows pierced me,
and your hand fell on me.

4  Nothing perfect has remained in my body
because of your anger.

Nothing sane was left in my bones
because of my sin.

5  My guilt soars above my head
and weighs me down like a burden too heavy.

6  My wounds are fetid and festering
because of my folly.

7  I walk crestfallen and deeply downcast;
I drag myself in mourning all day.

8  My bowels burn with fever;
nothing perfect remains in my body.

9  I am weak and extremely broken;
and my moan comes from the tumult of my heart.

10  Before you, Lord, are all my longings,
and my lament does not go unnoticed.

11  I feel my heart throbbing and my strength abandoning me,
and even the light of my own eyes fails me.

12  My friends and companions
keep away from my suffering;
and even my relatives kept their distance.

13  Those who attempt against my life lay snares;
those who love me badly announce misfortunes
and spend the day plotting betrayals.

14  But I, like a deaf man, do not hear;
I’m like a mute who won’t open his mouth.

15  I became like someone who does not listen,
and in his mouth there is no reply.

16  All this, because I trusted in You, Lord,
and You answer me, O Lord my God.

17  So I asked, “May they not laugh at me
or show themselves triumphant when my foot falters.”

18  Yes, I am about to fall,
and my pain is always there.

19  Therefore I confess my guilt;
I am restless because of my sin.

20  My enemies are alive and strong;
there are many who hate me without reason.

21  Instead of good, they pay me with evil;
they chase me because I try to do good.

22  Do not forsake me, O Lord
my God, do not stay far from me.

23  Come quickly to my rescue,
O Lord, my salvation.

Meaning and interpretation

The Psalm 38 is a single prayer of supplication and penitential spirit that is part of the designated list traditionally as penitential Psalms. The suffering the Psalmist suffered is described as having left him in a state of total destruction , both in body and spirit .

The illnesses mentioned in verses 4,6 and 9 are understood as blows received from the hand of God . Implicit in the idea is that everything that happens in the world comes from the hand of God, even when it comes to things that are uncomfortable and difficult to understand .

The psalmist recognizes that the excessive weight of his suffering is due to his sins and that it was these that provoked the wrath of God . In the end, the Psalmist asks for God’s presence and believes in the power of his godly salvation.

In the Penitential Psalms we find wisdom , praise and forgiveness . Like the rest of the Psalms, they were written in a poetic way with the intention of praising and revering God, showing man how He acted and acted throughout all times.

The Penitential Psalms (6; 32; 38; 51; 102; 103; 143) are a request for forgiveness . They have a character of repentance , contrition and sacrifice , in which the rigor of Divine Justice is clearly presented to the sinner who is hardened in his faults.

The speaker / Psalmist, who repents of wrongdoing, begs God indulgence in your faults. From this attitude of contrition , another plea is born : that God may appease His holy wrath and ease the punishment for His Infinite Divine Kindness.

The Book of Psalms

The Joy and Happiness of the Righteous in Communion with God

The Psalms are prayer-poems addressed to God, being the privileged way to address and speak with Him. Depicting the common man , with his failures, insecurities, fears and hopes, we can still identify with the Psalmist and be inspired today in Psalms to make prayers and supplications to God in times of trouble or express our gratitude for some blessing received.

The Psalms, despite being written in Antiquity, still move , sensitize , awaken feelings , inspire and enchant . In them, we can identify anguish and joy , deeply human feelings, praises, supplications, teachings of reflection on spiritual wisdom and prophetic words.

Written for different situations , some Psalms are intimate, revealing the author’s personal relationship with God; others provide guidelines and advice for life, others are compositions for specific liturgical events such as rituals and pilgrimages.

The Book of Psalms is composed of a collection of 150 poetic texts and is divided into five parts, called Psalm Books or Booklets. Each Book closes with short hymns of praise to God . The division into five parts was considered to correspond to the five books of Moses and it is assumed that each passage in the Pentateuch (first five books of the Bible, called Torah by the Jews) was read in parallel with the corresponding Psalm. Its main forms are lamentation , supplication , praise and gratitude .

The Power of Prayer in Dialogue with the Divine

The Psalms elevate our thoughts to the Divine and prayer is the power of the word . Prayer is the language of faith. Any thought, word or image addressed to God is called prayer . It is through it that we come into contact with our God within and, therefore, it is so powerful in transforming life . Prayer can produce miracles , turn dreams into reality, give us hope for change , harmony and peace with ourselves and the world.

Each Psalm has an intention that helps us meditate and walk with our God . For many theologians, the Book of Psalms has a prophetic or messianic tone as its verses refer to the coming of Christ into the world of men to guide them through the uncertainty and doubts of Human existence.

The prayer has the power to call the Spiritual Universe full mode, honest, sincere, conscious, for the purpose of spiritual self-protection, family protection and those who are dear to us, to have peace of mind, spiritual and physical, for prosperity and success, to protect health and relationships, to ward off negative energies and, above all, to connect us to something bigger than ourselves. From this peace , well-being, hope and goodness in front of everyone and everything result.

The faith can change our lives. It gives us tranquility and spiritual strength to face challenges. It helps us to meditate on our mission in life and to create a balanced and healthy environment for ourselves and those we love. When you pray, fill your heart with love and determination . The Psalms will guide you on a path of peace and communion with the higher energy .