SICKNESS SHOWS UP THE VANITY OF LIFE AND MONEY
In Psalm 39, David was bowed down with sickness and sorrow (Ps 39:10). He seems to be plagued by unholy thoughts from a murmuring heart, but clamps them down lest evil should escape out of his mouth. And his enemy would pounce upon it and find cause for mischief. The higher a man goes in life (David is king), the more enemies he makes. In keeping a bridle on his tongue, he goes to the other extreme of not saying anything good. Not even a word of “Praise the Lord” to God or a word of “Well done” to those who loyally serve him. While flattery is a deadly sin to be avoided, commendation by a leader of men serving loyally under him is needed to inspire devotion.
When David can hold down the friction of his inward thoughts no more, he bursts into this Psalm. Spurgeon comments, “Silence is an awful thing for a sufferer, it is the surest method to produce madness. Mourner, tell your sorrow; do it first and most fully to God, but even to pour it out before some wise and godly friend is far from being wasted breath.” This is like letting off steam from a safety valve. While David has many grouses against his enemies, sickness helps him vent his soul to God.
Rather than lodge a just complaint against an enemy immediately facing him, David asks God to teach him the vanity of life and money. He compares his life span to an handbreadth, the smallest unit of ancient measurement, and the glory of a lifetime’s achievement to vanity. As to his money and property, these are accumulated for others when he leaves this earth. This truth is hard for us to swallow!
Therefore God is the ultimate aspiration of the godly in life or death. Even now David’s hope is in Him who is the One who can relieve him from his sufferings. He counts himself no better than his fellows, and closes with a prayer pleading for recovery from his sickness. Sickness is God’s messenger to show us the vanity of life and money.
THOUGHT: “More love to Thee, O Christ, More love to Thee!”
PRAYER: “Let sorrow do its work, Send grief and pain,” O Lord.