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Chinese5/3/2006English
經文:詩篇第卅八、卅九篇
鑰節:「我要承認我的罪孽;我要因我的罪憂愁。」(38:18)
提要

        由於罪的結果,詩篇第卅八篇是上帝面前的一篇充滿傷心痛苦的詩篇。然而它也是一篇悔罪的詩篇(就像第六、廿五、卅二、五一、一○二、一三○、及一四三篇一樣)。大衛為他的罪懊悔萬分,但是他對罪的憂傷依然存在他的記憶中,所以這篇詩篇就以「記念」(Remembrance)為名。它也涉及利未人向耶和華獻的祭;人們會記住上帝的饒恕,因為祂在那一個祭中回答了他們的禱告與救贖祭。不過,上帝已經饒恕了大衛;同時,一旦上帝饒恕了人,他就不會記住他的罪,反而會忘記它(賽43:25;44:22)。

        大衛知道,他犯過罪;也知道上帝的指責是有必要的;所以他開始祈禱,他沒有祈求上帝抑止祂的責難或責罰,但是他祈求上帝不要在烈怒中懲罰他(38:1)。信徒不能承受上帝的烈怒,但是上帝帶有愛心的責罰是有益的,也是應該受到歡迎的,因為它會帶領我們分享上帝的聖潔,而且因為有了上帝的愛的責罰,我們才知道,上帝是愛我們的,知道我們是祂的兒女(箴3:11;來12:5~11)。一旦大衛承認他是有罪的,也為罪悔改,上帝的烈怒就不他的身上。

        大衛的罪就是他和拔示巴兩人所犯的通姦罪及殺害她丈夫的罪,因為這是他一生中最感痛心的地方(撒下11章;12:13~14)。大衛稱它道德的失敗。他沒有坦承的罪就像他擔當不起的重擔(38:4),而且它會轉變成心理與靈性上的痛苦(如沮喪、恐懼、及焦慮),進而導致生理上的疾病。大衛感到好像上帝的箭已射入他的心中一樣(38:2)。誠然,聖靈驅策他相信自己是有罪的,以及他受到罪的折磨(38:8)。

        就像約伯的遭遇一樣,他的朋友和家人也捨棄了他,就好像他已傳染上麻瘋病一樣;同時,他的仇敵發現,這正是攻擊他的最佳時機。大衛在整個被逼迫的過程中所表示的反應始終如一,就像耶穌被控告時的態度一樣;他始終保持沉默(38:13~14;太27:12~14)。他知道上帝仍然在注視他(38:9),而且他相信上帝會證明他是無辜的,也會使惡人受到公平的審判。大衛並沒有為自己辯護;上帝會保護祂。大衛不僅為罪的本身,而且也為罪造成的後果深感憂傷,因為他是真正地悔改了。他在禱告中已不再請求上帝的憐憫,因為他相信,有愛心的上帝很快就會拯救他。

        詩篇第卅九篇似乎與前一詩篇相同,但是在這一詩篇中大衛似乎有同樣的絕望。他感到他的生命很快就會結束了,但是依然懷有一線希望,因此,他在等待耶和華的拯救。詩篇第卅八篇提到他在人前沉默不語,但是在這一詩篇中,詩人決定在上帝前與人前都保持沉默,惟恐一開口說話,就會像約伯一樣,說出抱怨上帝的話。從這些類似點來看,詩人似乎對約伯記一書有深刻了解,而且他從約伯的身上學到一個教訓,那就是與上帝爭論實在是一件愚蠢的事。由於惡人們在他的周圍,可能誘使他去咒詛上帝,詩人決心不去批評上帝的方法,恐怕他們會聽到,以及也怕他自己會妨礙義人的動機。

        不過,他心裡的苦處積壓已久,所以他必須發洩這一口怨氣。最後,當他跟耶和華說話時,他想要知道,在死亡趕上他之前,他還要忍受這種折磨多久,他感到他越來越消瘦,體力也不佳。他也感到若與永生的上帝相比,他祇不過是一小滴朝露,還有他一生累積的財富,也是瞬間煙消雲散(39:5~6;比較傳1:18;5:16)。在大自然中,他已毫無希望;但是與上帝同在時,他又有無窮的盼望,因為沒有上帝,他的生命就索然無味了。

        大衛悔改了,因為他覺得,祇有在耶和華拯救他脫離一切過犯(39:8上)之後,他的人生才有意義與目的。在他有了這種新發現之後,他才有信心祈求,並且相信,上帝會垂聽他的禱告、醫治他,以仁慈看顧他,而非使烈怒施在他的身上,所以他又有新的力量。

禱告

        噢,上帝啊!我們讚美您,因為您的赦免使我們脫離了罪,尤如東方離開了西方。我們祈求,我們的生命中不會有任何東西會妨礙我們與您的寶貴關係,因為我們要更加接近您。奉主耶穌基督聖名,阿們!

English

Scriptures:Read Psalms 38&39
Key Verse:"For I will declare my iniquity; I will be in anguish over my sin."(Psalm 38:18)
Overview

        Psalm 38 is one of brokenness and anguish before the Lord as a result of sin. It is yet another psalm of penitence (like Psalm 6, 25, 32, 51, 102, 130 and 143). David repented of his sin, but still the sorrow of the sin remained in his memory, so this psalm is entitled "remembrance". It may also relate to one of the Levitical offerings of incense unto the Lord, wherein God's forgiveness is remembered in answer to prayer and the offering of atonement. God, however, had forgiven David, and once God forgives, the sin is not remembered but forgotten (Isaiah 43:25; 44:22).

        David knew he had sinned and that a divine rebuke was necessary; so as he began to pray, he did not ask God to withhold His rebuke or chastisement, but he asked that His wrath be removed from those punishments (38:1). The believer cannot bear divine wrath, but divine chastisement, which is done in love, is beneficial and should be welcomed, for it leads us to partake more in God's holiness, and because of it we know God loves us and that we are His children (Proverbs 3:11; Hebrews 12:5-11). Once David confessed his sin and repented, the wrath of God would no longer be upon him.

        The particular sins for which David repented were likely his adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband, for this was the most grievous point of his life (2 Samuel 11; 12:13-14). David referred to his sin as "iniquity" (38:4, 18), which is a perversity that implies a moral failure. His unconfessed sin was like an unbearable, heavy load upon him (38:4), and it turned to mental and spiritual anguish (depression, fear, and anxiety), which then gave rise to physical infirmities. David felt as though arrows from God were piercing him (38:2). Truly the Holy Spirit was putting him under the conviction of his sin, and he was racked with guilt (38:8).

        Like Job, his friends and family abandoned him as though he had a contagious disease like leprosy, and his enemies saw it as an opportune time to lash out at him. Throughout the persecution, David reacted in the same manner as did Jesus when He was accused; he remained silent (38:13-14; Matthew 27:12-14). He knew God was still watching him (38:9) and was confident that God would vindicate him and bring justice to the wicked. David did not have to defend himself; God would defend His own honour and the honour of His representative. David showed true repentance by being sincerely sorry for the sin itself, not merely for the results the sin brought. He closed his petition for mercy with a confident prayer, believing that his compassionate God would quickly bring salvation.

        Psalm 39 appears to be a sequel to the previous psalm, but here David seems in even deeper despair. He feels his life will soon be over but still has hope, and therefore he is awaiting the Lord's deliverance. Psalm 38 spoke of his silence before men, but here the psalmist has resolved to be silent before God and man, lest he complain against God, as did Job. From the similarities, it appears the psalmist was familiar with the Book of Job, and he learned from Job the folly of trying to contend with God. Since the wicked people were around him, possibly tempting him to curse God, the psalmist did not want to criticize God's ways, lest they hear and he do harm to the cause of the righteous.

        His bitterness within, however, was smoldering, and he had to give vent to his feelings. Finally, when he spoke to the Lord, he wanted to know how much longer he must suffer from His plague before death would overtake him. He felt wasted away and very insignificant. He also felt that compared to God, who is without age, he is but a vapour and the work he does and the wealth he heaps up during his lifetime is all in vain (39:5-6; cf. Ecclesiastes 1:18; 5:16). In the natural, he is without hope, but it is only with God that he has any hope, for without God life is truly futile.

        The psalmist is repentant, for he realizes that it is only after the Lord has delivered him from all his transgressions (39:8a) that there will be real purpose to his life. With his new-found hope, he has the faith to ask and believe that God will hear him, heal him, and look upon him with lovingkindness rather than wrath, so that his strength may be renewed.

Prayer

        We praise You, Oh God, for Your forgiveness that removes our sin as far as the east is from the west. We pray that nothing in our lives would hinder our treasured relationship with 'You, that we might draw even closer.


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