Posted by: arieliondotcom | September 15, 2013

Coming Clean (Psalm 38)

Coming Clean (Psalm 38)

Everyone knows and loves Psalm 23 with the phrase: “the Lord is my shepherd.” But Psalm 38 is the most important psalm David ever wrote. And it is certainly the most important psalm for us today.

Psalm 38 is David’s “dark night of the soul.” He is in spiritual agony because of his sin. He feels the weight of his sin and the agony of conviction from GOD that he is a sinner weighing heavily on him. He knows he needs to “come clean” to GOD (confess his sins) in order to accept the cleansing GOD offers.

Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever felt guilt crushing you as if it was physical pain? That’s what David is going through. It might have been physical pain to get David’s attention or as a consequence of his sin. GOD allows that sometimes. But, usually, it is spiritual, mental and emotional agony that’s so strong it feels physical or is so stressful that it causes physical results.

What matters is, David recognizes it being the result of sin and takes the most important step of his life: he confesses being a helpless sinner and asks GOD to rescue him and take over his life. And he receives with that new life a clean conscience, a new life, from GOD.

Have we done the same? Have we confessed being a sinner and needing GOD to take control of our life? Or are we going to be stubborn and wait until the weight becomes unbearable? Or until death takes away the opportunity for eternal life?

So David confesses his sin and everything is wonderful after that, right? Not at all! Nothing makes someone feel dirtier more than being near someone who is clean. That’s why the Apostle Paul says that those given new Life in JESUS smell like perfume to those others who are saved and stink to those who are perishing.

The truth is that we will always have pressures in life. They could be either the pressures that push us toward GOD, or pressures that push us away from Him. Once we have given our lives to GOD, Satan, the enemy of our soul, declares war on us. We were not a threat to him before because he had us. We were going to hell. But now that we belong to GOD we are busy about our Father GOD’s business building His kingdom by showing other people how to find Him. So, as happens to David, the enemy will use the people around us to attack us.

The Apostle Paul says we do not fight against flesh and blood but against powers and principalities. These are demons, fallen angels, who are so powerful they could wipe out thousands at one time if GOD allowed them to. It is because of Satan’s influence on the world, as its “prince”, that he can influence those under his control to attack us. But GOD is King of all things, including Satan.

Satan is a tool, in every sense of the word. GOD uses him to drive us to GOD. And in the vernacular, he’s too prideful to admit that he’s being used. So, JESUS says, in the world we will have tribulation. But JESUS has overcome the world.

David was attacked by those in the world and of the world being influenced by Satan. And once you give your life over to GOD, you will be too. The difference is that without GOD you’re on your own. The pressure meant to drive you to GOD will be useless like a mule that’s too stupid to know when to move when the rider kicks against it. But when you have given your life over to GOD He takes control. The Holy Spirit fills you. And as the Apostle Paul would say many years after David, greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.

Think of a soccer ball. What makes it round? It’s the air inside the ball being greater than the pressure of that air outside the ball. Like David, like you and I, it may get kicked around for the very reason that it’s doing it’s job. It is because we belong to GOD and are doing what He wants that the enemy kicks us around. But GOD controls the enemy’s kicks. So they only result in a win for our side.

That’s why early Christians didn’t fear persecution or even death. Death is simply being used to score a winning goal for the kingdom when it is part of our mission from GOD.

David wrote this very personal psalm for public singing while the Memorial Offering was given. The Memorial Offering was grain and oil burned as a sacrifice. Part of the grain and oil was mixed with incense, specifically Frankincense, given as part of worship to GOD and the rest of the grain and oil offering (without the incense) was kept for a very holy meal for the priests to eat.

This connection of confession and cleanness with the Memorial Offering is especially interesting when you realize the wise men gave the baby JESUS, King of the Jews as they knew Him to be, an offering of Frankincense as they worshipped Him. And it’s especially interesting that incense in Revelations is connected to prayer. Our confession to GOD is like sweet perfume to Him. Our acknowledgement of our need of Him, our memorializing that we cannot live without Him, is pleasing to Him.

JESUS says “Come to Me, all Who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” But He promises to give us another burden, albeit a light one, as we are put into an ox collar to work along with Him.

JESUS calls us to “come clean” to Him in the sense of confessing our need for Him to take over our Life. But we can come as we are, as David did. Unclean as we are He will point out the cleansing available all the while in the Cross at our confession of our sin and need of Christ. Then, clean and confident in Christ, we can get busy with the Father’s business of calling others to His salvation.


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