Saturday, July 04, 2015

STUDYING PSALM 39 AND THE SILENCE OF DAVID

David was suffering and wasting away under the discipline of the LORD and there was to be no gladness until he got right with God.

"Turn Your gaze away from me, that I may smile again Before I depart and am no more." - Ps 39:13

It has occurred to me that there are many, many people in the world who are suffering under the heavy hand of the LORD. They are suffering as a result of their sins. And they seek EVERY human remedy, every suave, every excuse, and have assigned every blame, but they have not been silent before the LORD to find His forgiveness.

David begins the Psalm talking about his present state of silent reflection.

"1 I said, 'I will guard my ways That I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth as with a muzzle while the wicked are in my presence.' 2 I was mute and silent, I refrained even from good, And my sorrow grew worse. 3 My heart was hot within me, While I was musing the fire burned; " Ps 39:1-3a

David says something curious during the time of deep introspection: "I was mute and silent, I refrained even from good, And my sorrow grew worse." Ps 39:2.

Why was David silent so that he didn't even say good?

I have read this and read it again. I came to my conclusion on it's meaning and then checked the Commentaries. They were completely different. It looks like all the Commentaries come to a different conclusion that David was silent when observing all of the material prosperity of the enemy. As if sinfully, he was so consumed by his own vain life that he said nothing towards the wicked and said nothing good. This seems to be missing the point and ignoring some text. The commentaries, as I understand them, are making David's silence part of his sin, overlooking the sins of the wicked as it were, or by not saying good when he should have. I don't think the silence is the sin. Sometimes it's good to be completely silent.

As I read the 39th Psalm, I see this as a time of inner reflection and turmoil for David who is himself in trouble by the hand of God. I see the time of reflection explaining the quietness, refusal to speak in the presence of the enemies and even to the point of not even saying good. Then he breaks his silence by opening up to God.

Thanks for the tip from a friend to look at Psalm38. It says in verses 13,14: "“13 But I, like a deaf man, do not hear; And I am like a mute man who does not open his mouth. 14 Yes, I am like a man who does not hear, And in whose mouth are no arguments.” - Psalm 38:13,14

This text in the 38th Psalm seems to match what I believe is going on in the 39th Psalm. The good and the evil world is just going on, passing him by, because he's become so overwhelmed by the hand of God that's upon him. And isn't this what he says in 39:9?

"I have become mute, I do not open my mouth, because it is You who have done it."

So David is stopping, waiting, and being silent because words would only distract from what needs to be done first. Preaching to the wicked would be vanity to God - like telling others about a splinter in their eyes with a log in his own eye. And David withholds even from telling good because with such sacrifices God is not pleased. David needs to first practice what he preaches. It therefore takes a time of quiet solace, humbly approaching the throne of God where he finally opens his mouth and says, "Lord, make me to know my end and what is the extent of my days; Let me know how transient I am." 39:4.

As I read the commentaries and try to get my head around their explanations on David's silence, they suggest he did good and did bad in not speaking. But it looks like David begins already deciding to be silent about everything UNTIL he talks to God. He says he is being silent so he doesn't sin. He says later in the Psalm, "I have become mute, I do not open my mouth, Because it is You who have done it", v9. So right there is the explanation for why he is being so silent.

The explanation by most all of the Commentaries seems to be missing the real point. He is silent because the first order of business is to speak to God and get right with Him.

Can you think of any justification for not speaking, even to say anything god?

What do you say? Do you know why there's a time to be silent? Let me ask what good is it to do good and offer sacrifices to God when God is not pleased with our hearts? Is God pleased if we stand up and speak to others, even to enemies, when God is looking upon our lives with disdain? If you read this Psalm, it's apparent that David has gotten off track and now he's in a period of deep introspection. There is only one thing for him to do and that is to get right with God. That is why there's a time to be silent and just get right with God.

So why the judgment against the materialistic of the world where he says, "6"Surely every man walks about as a phantom; Surely they make an uproar for nothing; He amasses riches and does not know who will gather them."? Why is because David is talking about himself. This materialism has been driving him. Still the Psalm, I think, is a confession to God that he now understands the vanity and futility of chasing the world and losing God.

David was suffering and wasting away under the discipline of the LORD and there was to be no gladness until he got right with God.

It has occurred to me that there are many, many people in the world who are suffering under the heavy hand of the LORD. They are suffering as a result of their sins. And they seek EVERY human remedy, every suave, every excuse, and have assigned every blame, but they have not been silent before the LORD to find His forgiveness.

What are your thoughts?

"Let everyone be slow to speak, quick to listen, quick to hear", James 1

"Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye? 5 "You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." Mt 7

36 "But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. 37 "For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."

Solomon said, "1 Guard your steps as you go to the house of God and draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools; for they do not know they are doing evil. 2 Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore let your words be few." Eccl. 5

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