SEEKING THE LORD
“I wait for you, O Lord; you will answer, O Lord my God.”
In reflecting upon the thirty eighth Psalm I have noted that it is a call for the believer to confession of sin and prayer for forgiveness. David here writes a carefully crafted twenty two verse confession of sin with petitions for forgiveness interspersed throughout. In the fifteenth verse quoted above he writes that he will wait patiently, hoping in the Lord, because he knows that the Lord his God will listen attentively to his prayer. There is a powerful element of faith in this prayer of confession of sin. He believes because the Lord has made a promise to him. O. Palmer Robertson in The Flow of the Psalms: Discovering Their Structure and Theology writes,
“In considering the present arrangement of the Psalter, we see that a large grouping of Psalms known to be David’s has been positioned in the forefront of the collection. This grouping reflects the confrontation of David with numerous and varied enemies as he seeks to establish his messianic kingship (Book I, Psalms 1-41).”
This opening book of Psalms ends with four Psalms of petition for the forgiveness of sin. David’s confession is focused upon his fleeing for refuge in the Lord upon his faith that the Lord will faithfully keep his promise to David that he will never take his love away from him. There will be a Messianic ruler on the throne of Israel eternally. This ruler will be a descendant of David. As David faces enemies bent on destroying his rule, and even his own sinfulness he knows that the faithful God will never turn away from this promise because He will hold true to His own word. The Lord can be trusted to keep His promises. Taking it even further David is casting himself doe refuge upon the Lord from all of the devastation of his life because he sees it all in light of the coming Kingdom of God.
As we look at this Psalm we must reflect upon the vital importance of our reflecting upon the mystery contained in this book of Psalms. We really do encounter Christ here. To turn back to Robertson’s book we encounter these thoughts.
“This distinctive role of David as God’s anointed Messiah explains the centrality of his person in the Psalms. These I-psalms (Robertson’s term for Psalms in book one) describe the various situations in life faced by this singular servant of the Lord. Indeed, each of these psalms contains a message for the individual believer. But to understand these I-psalms in their fullest significance for the individual, they must first be appreciated for their role in speaking for God’s anointed servant, the messianic king. Then a principle regularly at work in the Psalter will become clear in its significance: As it fares with the messianic king, so it fares with each member of the messianic kingdom.”
With each Psalm of confession we find ourselves called to a life of confession and prayer for the Lord’s gracious forgiveness. It is vital that we become committed to a growing life of prayer. These Psalms are a call to real faith in the living covenant God who is actively at work in us. We discover this reality in the various trials and crisis’ that we face in our lives. In fact, the devastation that we often see in our lives leads us to flee for refuge in the Lord.
Please consider this an invitation for you to begin to pray with others. I believe that it is entirely fitting that as we begin a new year of Bible Study and Prayer meetings that we do so by reflecting upon these four final psalms in book 1. As we do so we will find that our faith is deepened. Robertson suggests that it would be a wonderful thing for believers to meditate upon and memorize many, if not all of the psalms. For here we find ourselves encouraged in a lifestyle of Christ-centred worship.