Body and Soul
Those who work in the fields of psychology, psychiatry, and social services are often confronted with a strong correlation between what is happening in a person’s heart and mind and what is being displayed in that person’s body. God’s word speaks into this connection and then goes deeper, for it tells us that there is a connection between the state of our body and the state of our soul.
In Psalm 32, David speaks very personally to God, acknowledging the heaviness he experienced when he hid in the shadows and refused to confess his sin against Bathsheba and the murder of her husband, Uriah (see 2 Samuel 11). And through David, the Spirit teaches us that there is a link between a tortured conscience and lack of repentance, and our physical wellbeing. Those who were in David’s immediate company may not have been aware of what was going on inside him spiritually, but they could not have avoided the indications of what was happening to him physically.
The description he provides adds to the account he gives elsewhere: “My heart throbs; my strength fails me, and the light of my eyes—it also has gone from me. My friends and companions stand aloof from my plague, and my nearest kin stand far off” (Psalm 38:10-11). It’s a quite devastating picture.
David recognized his condition for what it was: a punishment. The Bible makes it clear that there is a natural outcome to lust, excess, and a disregard for the commands of God (see Romans 1:24-25)—all of which David was guilty of. Frailty, weight loss, sleeplessness, a sense of rejection, melancholy, anxiety, and despair often haunt individuals who are seeking to hide their sin from God and deny it to themselves.
What restored David was not a health kick or getting to bed earlier but rather dealing with the root cause—his sin: “I acknowledged my sin to you … and you forgave the iniquity of my sin” (Psalm 32:5). God kept His hand heavy upon David until David placed his sin into God’s hands and asked Him to deal with it. It is a blessing to us when God does not allow us to forget our sin—when we feel physical heaviness because of our spiritual sickness. It is His means of bringing us to do what we most need: to confess it and ask for forgiveness for it.
Are you harboring sin? Do not cloak it; confess it. David experienced liberating relief from his pain and distress when he sought God’s forgiveness. You too can know that joy, for the promise of God’s word is that “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
Create in Me a Clean Heart, O God
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.
1Have mercy on me,1 O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
2Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!
3For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
4Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
and blameless in your judgment.
5Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
7Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
9Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
10Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right2 spirit within me.
11Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
13Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you.
14Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
15O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
17The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
18Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;
build up the walls of Jerusalem;
19then will you delight in right sacrifices,
in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.
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