I was silent and still; I held my peace to no avail; my distress grew worse, my heart became hot within me. Psalm 39: 2-3a NRSV
I find this Psalm confusing. At first it seems the psalmist is trying to keep silent because of all the evil people around. Perhaps the psalmist wishes to convict them of their sins? Yet, the psalm goes on as if there is great guilt on the heart of the psalmist and the wish is to keep silence so that the wicked don't know of the individual's own sin.
Finally, it is a bit much for the one trying to hold their tongue. The mouth may be closed, but the heart is burning. The psalmist can no longer keep silence.
And the words spoken are then addressed to God.
God, why are you punishing me?
God, forgive me of my sins!
God, my only hope is in you!
Hear my prayer, God, and take this misery away from me!
At this very moment, would you say you could be silent because of the sinfulness of others or because of your own sins?
God, forgive us, we pray. Help us to keep silent when appropriate and set our hearts on fire when we need to speak. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Copyright 2010 Amelia G. Sims