Psalm 38:4-8 - For my iniquities have gone over my head; like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me. My wounds stink and fester because of my foolishness, I am utterly bowed down and prostrate; all the day I go about mourning. For my sides are filled with burning, and there is no soundness in my flesh. I am feeble and crushed; I groan because of the tumult of my heart.
What strikes me about those verses is the psalmist is talking about more than a medical condition. The psalmist sees some connection between his illness and his past sins. In verse 2 he says, "For Your arrows have sunk into me." In verse 18 he writes, "I confess my iniquity; I am sorry for my sin." With David as the author, you know he committed some major league sins: adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah. The prevailing attitude in those days was that illness was direct punishment from God for sin.
If you have ever worshiped with a congregation that uses the historic liturgy of the church, you may recall a time when the minister turns away from the altar, faces the congregation, and solemnly says, "The Lord be with you." The congregation responds by saying, "And also with you." The statement "The Lord be with you" does not mean God is present in your life to punish sin. The Bible teaches "The Lord be with you" means that God is present to forgive your sins.
Yes, deep in our sin we may despair and see no hope whatsoever, but God comes to us in Jesus to say, "I forgive you." Jesus is the Savior the psalmist was talking about. As John 3:17 says, "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. " With your faith placed in Jesus Christ, you can claim Romans 8:1 as your own: "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."
This Savior who looks on you with love is not only the Savior who died for your sins, He's the Savior who rose in victory over death. That's what Easter is all about. In our illness, fatigue, depression, lack of faith, Jesus reaches out to us and promises, "Because I live, you also will live" (John 14:19b).
Yes, and that's especially true about the Savior who offers us forgiveness and the hope of eternal life. When you are alone, when you are scared, when you are sick, look up to Him and be assured that your Savior is there for you.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, we fear many things in this world. We suffer many things. Lead us as Your children to come to You when we worry and fret about life, knowing You have given us all things in Jesus Your Son. Amen.
From "The Lord Be with You," a sermon excerpt from Dr. Dale Meyer, former Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
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