Silence can be a virtue. But sometimes, God gives us opportunities to speak truth, and we must be careful not to neglect the opening to make a meaningful difference. In our text today, David was silent when he should have spoken. His anguish increased when realizing he did not say anything good: “I remained utterly silent” (v. 2). In the first three verses of this prayer, David confesses his sin of silence (vv. 2–3). It is uncertain exactly what, when, and to whom he should have spoken, but he clearly missed an opportunity to speak God’s truth.
David realizes that opportunities to speak truth are precious. Life is fleeting and short (v. 4). In the New Testament, James writes that we “are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James 4:14). David was aware that one’s life in this world is short and we must make the most of every opportunity. The purpose of life is not to rush or gain wealth, but rather to be committed to the Lord (Ps. 39:6).
David prays for repentance and admits his sin. He cast his hope to God for deliverance from his transgressions and affirmed the necessity of God’s correction (vv. 7–11). David’s prayer consists of both his confession of sin and his desire for the hope that can only be found in the Lord. He is so ashamed, with “weeping,” that he cannot fathom he could even be in the presence of God (vv. 12–13). However, if you read ahead to Psalm 40, you will see that God answered David’s prayer which included a promise of the one true Deliverer.
>> Have there been times you were silent when you should have said something? Perhaps you noticed an injustice or habitual sin in someone’s life and did not speak up? Remember, this life is short, so let your words make a difference for God.
Lord, we are natural critics. Give us discernment and humility to determine when we should address the issues we see. Give us wisdom to know what to say, and courage to say it with grace and truth.