A Prayer in Times of Trouble


This is called a penitential psalm because David expressed sorrow for his sin (v. 18). He then confessed his sin and repented (vv. 15-22). When we repent of our sin, God promises to forgive us. He delivers us from sin’s eternal consequences although he does not promise to undo all of sins earthly consequences. David knew he was in danger from both his enemies and his severe physical condition. David’s need was great and his situation desperate. His enemies were vigorous and numerous and they thrived on evil and slander. He sensed that God must rescue him soon (vv. 17-20). But in the midst of that danger he cried out to God in a faith (vv. 21-22).

David tells the Lord that he is waiting for Him to come and protect him (v. 15). He wants to put a stop to those who are gloating when he is cast down (v. 16). It seems that he is constantly on the verge of sin and this source of sorrow always stares him in the face (v. 17). He confesses his sins and tells the Lord that he is sorry for what he has done (v. 18). His enemies continue to persecute David with vigor and hate him, even though he hasn’t done anything against them to deserve it (v. 19). He says that they repay him with evil for good and hate him for standing for what is right (v. 20). He begs the Lord not to leave him (v. 21) and to come quickly and help him (v. 22).


David knew that he was weak spiritually and that his enemies were after him so he cried out to God for help. I am weak and the forces of evil are after me so I need to spend time in prayer.

Psalms 38:12-22 (English Standard Version)

Those who seek my life lay their snares; those who seek my hurt speak of ruin and meditate treachery all day long. But I am like a deaf man; I do not hear, like a mute man who does not open his mouth. I have become like a man who does not hear, and in whose mouth are no rebukes. But for you, O LORD, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer. For I said, "Only let them not rejoice over me, who boast against me when my foot slips!" For I am ready to fall, and my pain is ever before me. I confess my iniquity; I am sorry for my sin. But my foes are vigorous, they are mighty, and many are those who hate me wrongfully. Those who render me evil for good accuse me because I follow after good. Do not forsake me, O LORD! O my God, be not far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!

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