Lent Devotional: Psalm 38:9-22

by Jonathan Haefs

Psalm 38:9-22 (click here)
Those who seek my life lay their snares; those who seek my hurt speak of ruin…

But I am like a deaf man; I do not hear, like a mute man who does not open his mouth.

But for you, O LORD, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.
(Psalm 38:12-13 and 15)

All of us have experienced what it is like to have someone speak ill of us. And if you’re like me, hurtful words stick with you. They echo around the chamber of your mind growing every louder. Forget the notion of something going “in one ear and out the other…” harmful words seem to go in one ear and then build a house in your brain.

And as evil words take up residence in our heads, we use them to plan our response and plot our revenge.

We rehearse what we are going to say to defend ourselves and deconstruct our critics. At least this is what happens in my own heart and head.

However, in Psalm 38, the psalmist is dealing with something much more serious than just hurtful words. He’s facing enemies who hate him and, as a result, want him dead! That’s what they love to talk about! Their words are literally, not metaphorically, speaking death!

Yet, the psalmist’s response is so different than mine! “I am like a deaf man; I do not hear, like a mute man who does not open his mouth.”

He doesn’t listen.

He doesn’t defend himself.

He doesn’t seek revenge.

He doesn’t have to… because he trusts God. “…for you, O LORD, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.”

He listens to what God has to say about who he is… he trusts that God is sovereign over his days and when he will die… he believes that God will handle his enemies… God will answer their accusations and deal justly with them in his time.

This reminds me of another who did not open his mouth before his accusers, but was led like a lamb to slaughter. His enemies did not just talk about killing him… they did it. Yet, their apparent success in putting Jesus to death was quickly reversed by the answer from God the Father! Christ was vindicated via resurrection and all his enemies will receive justice in the end!

When we are deaf to the threats of the world and instead love them, even if it costs us our lives, we reflect the Gospel and the confidence of Christ! We show the world that we really do believe what we say we believe… that God is our sovereign savior! For him we wait… he will answer for us!

*All previous devotionals may be found at www.thejoyofglory.com
*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.