I said, “I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth as long as the wicked are in my presence.” But when I was silent and still, not even saying anything good, my anguish increased. My heart grew hot within me, and as I meditated, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue;
“Show me, O LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere hand breadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breath.
Man is a mere phantom as he goes to and fro: He bustles about, but only in vain; he heaps up wealth, not knowing who will get it. “But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you. Save me from all my transgressions; do not make me the scorn of fools. I was silent; I would not open my mouth, for you are the one who has done this. Remove your scourge from me; I am overcome by the blow of your hand. You rebuke and discipline men for their sin; you consume their wealth like a moth- each man is but a breath.
“Hear my prayer, O LORD, listen to my cry for help; be not deaf to my weeping. For I dwell with you as an alien, a stranger, as all my fathers were. Look away from me, that I may rejoice again before I depart and am no more.”
So overcome with his all pervasive sin nature, David begged the Lord to look away from him so he could enjoy at least one moment’s peace during his life on earth without the Holy Spirit pointing out his sinful behavior. He wanted to know how long his life would last so he would know how long he would go on disappointing himself and the Lord. Even when he kept his mouth shut his thoughts betrayed his sinfulness. Such was the state of man before the cross.
But then God sent His Son and everything changed. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation … (Col. 1:21-22). It no longer matters how badly you messed up yesterday, your future with Him is secure. All you have to do is confess and you’re forgiven, immediately and unconditionally, and purified from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
As David so clearly demonstrates, guilt is one of the most debilitating emotions we feel. Reading Psalm 39, you can almost feel the weight he was carrying. Only forgiveness brings relief. Our Lord’s death has reconciled you to your Father in Heaven and pre-paid the penalty for all your sins. The law of double jeopardy now exempts you from God’s punishment and guarantees your forgiveness. Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1) No condemnation from God and no self-condemnation of the type David was feeling. No more guilt, the burden gone. If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36) It’s one more thing to be thankful for.