Taking My Grief To The Lord (Psalm 39)


1 To the Chief Musician. To Jeduthun. A Psalm of David. I said, “I will guard my ways, Lest I sin with my tongue; I will restrain my mouth with a muzzle, While the wicked are before me.” 2 I was mute with silence, I held my peace [even] from good; And my sorrow was stirred up. 3 My heart was hot within me; While I was musing, the fire burned. [Then] I spoke with my tongue: 4 “LORD, make me to know my end, And what [is] the measure of my days, [That] I may know how frail I [am]. 5 Indeed, You have made my days [as] handbreadths, And my age [is] as nothing before You; Certainly every man at his best state [is] but vapor. Selah 6 Surely every man walks about like a shadow; Surely they busy themselves in vain; He heaps up [riches], And does not know who will gather them. 7 “And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope [is] in You. 8 Deliver me from all my transgressions; Do not make me the reproach of the foolish. 9 I was mute, I did not open my mouth, Because it was You who did [it]. 10 Remove Your plague from me; I am consumed by the blow of Your hand. 11 When with rebukes You correct man for iniquity, You make his beauty melt away like a moth; Surely every man [is] vapor. Selah 12 “Hear my prayer, O LORD, And give ear to my cry; Do not be silent at my tears; For I [am] a stranger with You, A sojourner, as all my fathers [were]. 13 Remove Your gaze from me, that I may regain strength, Before I go away and am no more.”

PSALM 39:1-13


Grief is a difficult thing. Some days it makes us sad, some days we are bitter, or angry, sometimes it comes out as a depression, sometimes we eat to stuff it down inside. Sometimes we fast because even food has lost it’s luster. When we are grieving someone we love we might be tempted to lash out at those who didn’t love them like we think they should have. We might be tempted to say things in our grief that wouldn’t be right, good, or wholesome and can take a tragedy and make it even worse.

It seems like David is in the midst of grief as he prays to the lord to number his days. He sees life as a vapor. And like most of us, he is tempted to let loose his tongue and tell us what he really thinks. But he knows that’s not a good idea. For the sake of honoring God and worshipping the LORD, he needs to be quiet. What he wants to say is probably the truth, but he’d be sinning in saying it or at least saying it in the way that he wants to say it.

He is in the presence of wicked folks and either they will misunderstand it or in getting it out, me might not be able to control the venom that comes with it and he knows that God doesn’t need him to add his two cents. 

There are moments in my life, like David, where I need to show restraint. It is foolish to vent every word that pops into our heads, even if those words are exactly true, but not put forth in a manner that is pleasing to God.  There is wisdom in determining the right time to speak.

You would think that with all of this build up, David would blow up, but rather than blowing up at someone he takes his prayer to the Lord. He requests that God would help him know how short life is. Sometimes we can be tempted to believe that this life is everything and so we might waste our time, energy, and money on short sighted pursuits. 

So David prays “Lord help me to see from your perspective. Help me to see what I don’t see.” David doesn’t have the whole picture. A healthy dose of humility is healthy here. There are moments where we should not speak, but rather take everything to God in prayer. There are sorrows and insights that should only be shared with the LORD.


Father, Help me to see things from your perspective. Help me to see the things I don’t see. Show me how to love my enemies and pray for those who persecute me. Show me when to keep silent. Hear me when I express my groanings about everything that is going on in the world. In my grief, give me grace that I might demonstrate the love and compassion of Christ. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

I’m reading and blogging the Psalms Through The Summer. I’d love for you to join me. You can find out a little more here.

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