WEEK 5: CONFESSION
Read Psalm 38
1 O LORD, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath! 2 For your arrows have sunk into me, and your hand has come down on me. 3 There is no soundness in my flesh because of your indignation; there is no health in my bones because of my sin. 4 For my iniquities have gone over my head; like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me. 5 My wounds stink and fester because of my foolishness, 6 I am utterly bowed down and prostrate; all the day I go about mourning. 7 For my sides are filled with burning, and there is no soundness in my flesh. 8 I am feeble and crushed; I groan because of the tumult of my heart. 9 O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you. 10 My heart throbs; my strength fails me, and the light of my eyes--it also has gone from me. 11 My friends and companions stand aloof from my plague, and my nearest kin stand far off. 12 Those who seek my life lay their snares; those who seek my hurt speak of ruin and meditate treachery all day long. 13 But I am like a deaf man; I do not hear, like a mute man who does not open his mouth. 14 I have become like a man who does not hear, and in whose mouth are no rebukes. 15 But for you, O LORD, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer. 16 For I said, "Only let them not rejoice over me, who boast against me when my foot slips!" 17 For I am ready to fall, and my pain is ever before me. 18 I confess my iniquity; I am sorry for my sin. 19 But my foes are vigorous, they are mighty, and many are those who hate me wrongfully. 20 Those who render me evil for good accuse me because I follow after good. 21 Do not forsake me, O LORD! O my God, be not far from me! 22 Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!
This is David’s prayer of confession. It’s his prayer to expose the lifelessness of empty sins.
Confession is the act of “saying the same thing as God” or naming reality. We grow in our love for God by being honest about who we are and how we live. We lower the façade and tell the truth: “We are not a peaceful community,” “I don’t like serving the poor,” “I don’t believe God is concerned or cares for me,” or “I love sin, and this is how I sin.”
Confession is how we bring our true selves before God. In fact, Jesus was not too welcoming to the self-righteous and the hidden hypocrite. Jesus says He came for the sick in need of a doctor. The only pre-requisite for joining Jesus’s entourage was to be honest with who you were: a human tainted by sin. Jesus ate with sinners. Jesus forgave sinners.
Ironically, Christian communities have become hiding places for sinners to pretend they don’t need Christ, but we cannot grow in our love for God (with all our hearts, minds, and strength) until we tell the truth about our hearts, minds, and strength. This is the beginning of transformation.
Confession is not just about speaking about how bad our circumstances or we are but about speaking to God about how good He is in our circumstances. Confession is also about speaking the truth about God—who He is and what He has done.
David was the confession expert. He offered God his true feelings of fear, anger, resentment, disappointment, and doubt while simultaneously speaking of God’s great works, kindness, and power. David confessed his life was on shaking soil and needed saving and that God alone could save him. God was David’s refuge because David confessed he couldn’t find rest anywhere else in the world—despite his best efforts.
This week’s prayer time will be a practice in confession using Psalm 38. Write down your thoughts then pray through them.
Part 1 (vs. 1–2): What sin is God exposing in your life through Lent?
Part 2 (vs. 3–12): What is the fruit of this sin? What does your life look like because of it? What is the state of your soul?
Part 3 (vs. 13–14): How are you cold to rebuke and repentance? How do you avoid it?
Part 4 (vs. 15–20): Confess your sin to God and seek forgiveness.
In Christ, God has heard you, and God hears you. God hears our request. God accepts your prayers; He longs to hear them.
How has God conquered the enemy and put them to shame? How has God defeated sin? How have you experienced His steadfast love?