A fitting title for Psalm 38 is "Psalmist Under Seige." He is surrounded by enemies, and he is beset with his sins.
The psalmist spends a good share of his time describing his condition. It's not pretty, but it is good for us to know. Now what we must believe both internally and effectually is that the same pain that has come upon him will surely come upon us whenever we succumb to the pressures and temptations, whenever we walk the wayward path, whenever we choose to honor sinful flesh instead of holy God.
In earlier posts, I have commented on previous verses. It has been over a month, and I've held off writing on Psalm 38:9, because I find the statement to be so profound, so humbling, and so true.
“Lord, all my desire is before You;” (Psalms 38:9 NAS95)
I would guess that few are so glib as to read this little phrase and think, "Yes, Lord, you know how much I desire all that You desire." It is true that we do have high and holy desires. And God knows all about them. He knows our stated desires; our praise-song professions that we desire Him more than silver or gold. But God also knows about all the other desires as well. He knows not just our professed desires, but our practiced desires; not just our desires in theory, but our desires in practice; not just our intended desires, but also all the things to which we resort in times of weakness and willfulness and fatigue and frustration. "Lord, all my desire is before You."
Our desires are what we want. We do what we desire. I do not desire one thing, and want another, nor do I do things that I don't desire. Romans 7 indicates that we have layers of desire, and I'm not sure if we most often do our deepest desires, or the ones that are closest to the surface. Nonetheless, we still do what we want, what we desire at one level or another. And God knows every one of them.
As I was thinking and preparing to write about this phrase, it was tough to avoid a strong theme with regard to desire. It is not all about my desire. It is much more about God's desire. My problem and yours is not so much that our desires are wrong, but that we don't desire what God desires. That is what makes our wayward desires wrong. Our desires trump God's desires. I'll share just two examples.
“Listen, O daughter, give attention and incline your ear: Forget your people and your father’s house; Then the King will desire your beauty. Because He is your Lord, bow down to Him.” (Psalms 45:10–11 NAS95)
This is a royal psalm describing the glories of the King and the privilege of those who serve Him. To apply this verse in New Covenant format, Jesus treasures His church. He loves His bride. He desires sweet fellowship with His disciples. And so, the tragedy is when the church/bride/disciple(s) spurn Jesus' desire so that they might pursue their own interests.
“For the LORD has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His habitation. “This is My resting place forever; Here I will dwell, for I have desired it." (Psalms 132:13–14 NAS95)
God the Father has focused His desire on a place that is all about a Person. Zion does not have an address so much as it has an identity or fulfillment in God Incarnate. God loves and desires the revealing of Himself in His Son. There is nothing more important or valuable than that, for it is in this way that God is glorified.
The Psalmist Under Seige, as well as the struggling pilgrim, find true peace and rest when Jesus becomes the well from which our desires are drawn. We will experience assurance and confidence when we turn away from broken cisterns in favor of living water. God has given us Jesus, and so, in the end, not only are all of our distressing desires known to God, but we find that the one True Desire is before Him as well.