He had become “the taunt of fools” (v.8). And he knew it was best to keep his mouth shut (v.1). Yet, his “pain intensified” (v.2). His “heart grew hot” within him as the more he thought about it the more “a fire burned” (v.3). Finally, like a volcano that could contain the pressure of the steam building within it no more, he blew. He spoke. And what I’m chewing on this morning is to whom he spoke and of what he spoke.
David was being scorned by fools. As Peterson puts it he suffered under the “contempt of dunces.” He was hammered by the reproaches of those who, in the original, were nabal (Rings a bell? Check out 1Samuel 25, particularly verse 25, “His name is Nabal and stupidity is all he knows”). But rather than try and deal with their stupidity and foolishness, he kept silent. But when he could keep silent no longer, he spoke. Yet, not to his accusers but to the Lord. How come?
First, by looking into the face of Him who is eternal, it gave him perspective on the temporal.
“Lord, make me aware of my end
and the number of my days
so that I will know how short-lived I am.
In fact, You have made my days just inches long,
and my life span is as nothing to You.
Yes, every human being stands as only a vapor. Selah”
(Psalm 39:4-5 CSB)
His days were short, thus the season of suffering would be short. While the suffering was real, while it was consuming too much of “the vapor” of his life, in terms of eternity it measured just fractions of an inch. While weeping would last for a night, joy would come in the morning (Ps. 30:5). And in the grand scheme of eternity, morning was coming soon.
Second, he knew that while the accusations were from those without sense, he was not without fault himself. In some manner, his fleshly weakness had, it seems, provided fuel for these fools’ fire.
“Now, Lord, what do I wait for?
My hope is in You.
Rescue me from all my transgressions;
do not make me the taunt of fools”.
(Psalm 39:7-8 CSB)
He owned his sin. Thus, he looked to the only One who could rescue him, not only from his accusers, but most importantly from himself.
For finally, he knew that whatever was happening to him was happening according to the permissive will of the One in whom He hoped. It was being allowed by the God who works all things — even purifying crucible types of things — together for good for those who love Him (Rom 8:28). That those the Lord loves, He disciplines (Heb. 12:6) and that, while so painful in the season, if he would submit himself to the Lord’s “angry gaze” (v.13) concerning his sin, he would benefit from sharing in the Lord’s holiness as it yielded the fruit of peace and righteousness (Heb. 12:10-11).
“I am speechless; I do not open my mouth
because of what You have done.
Remove Your torment from me.
Because of the force of Your hand I am finished.
You discipline a person with punishment for iniquity,
consuming like a moth what is precious to him;
yes, every human being is only a vapor. Selah”
(Psalm 39:9-11 CSB)
The spark that ignited his suffering was struck by fools. Yet the fire that was lit made him aware of his own sin. And so, when words could be contained no longer, he turned to the One in whom was his hope. And, he spoke.
“Hear my prayer, Lord,
and listen to my cry for help;
do not be silent at my tears.”
(Psalm 39:12a CSB)
By God’s grace. For the psalmist’s good. For God’s glory.