We continue our “Journey of Repentance”, Alistair Begg’s four part devotional. May God richly bless you. Sandra
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).