No Health In My Bones

“O Lord, rebuke me not in Thy wrath; and chasten me not in Thy burning anger. For Thine arrows have sunk deep into me, and Thy hand has pressed down on me. There is no soundness in my flesh because of Thine indignation; there is no health in my bones because of my sin. For my iniquities are gone over my head; as a heavy burden they weigh too much for me. My wounds grow foul and fester. Because of my folly, I am bent over and greatly bowed down; I go mourning all day long. For my loins are filled with burning; and there is no soundness in my flesh. I am benumbed and badly crushed; I groan because of the agitation of my heart” (Psalm 38:1-8).

“Of all the penitential psalms this is the one which shows the deepest marks of utter prostration of heart and spirit under a combination of the severest trials, both mental and bodily…His body is smitten with disease, the flesh without soundness, the bones full of aches, the loins agonized with a sense of burning, the heart palpitating, the strength and sight failing. And through all there is the feeling that the whole is the result of his own sin” (Pulpit Commentary, Vol. VIII, Rawlinson, p. 298).

Most of us would agree with the psalmist that sin leaves us feeling sick. Anxiety torments us, and guilt eats away at relationships and life’s pleasures. It takes a truly calloused individual to stop feeling guilt entirely! Notice similar sentiments in Psalm 31:10 and Lamentations 1:20.

“For Thine arrows have sunk deep into me, and Thy hand has pressed down on me” – At times, it is very true that the piercing judgment of God leaves us feeling such things. It is interesting that the arrows sunk in deep, and were not merely surface abrasions or flesh wounds. God has a way with cutting to the heart and affecting the inner man.

I think we do not do the psalm justice, however, if we fail to recognize that sin can have actual physical effects. For as much as we might see the metaphorical side of what is written, in Romans 1:27 it is noted that sinners receive their penalty in the flesh. Every sin comes with a price tag in the flesh (disease, injury, anxiety, stress, etc.).

The psalmist states, “As a heavy burden, they weigh too much for…” Whether we believe we sin much or little, all sins equally overcome the human soul. We do not have the answer or the cure. “For evils beyond number have surrounded me; My iniquities have overtaken, so that I am not able to see; they are more numerous than the hairs of my head; and my heart has failed me” (Psalm 40:12). Until we embrace forgiveness in Jesus Christ, sin will always feel like a flood that keeps us perpetually defeated, beaten, and lost. It devours us, discourages us, empties us, until we have nothing left. The psalmist says, “I am benumbed and badly crushed.”