Psalm 38 is a prayer of a person whom God is disciplining because of personal sin. Many Bible scholars believe that David wrote this Psalm, and he wrote it when God was disciplining him because of his personal sin. Psalm 38:1-8 says, "O Lord, don't rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your rage! Your arrows have struck deep, and your blows are crushing me. Because of your anger, my whole body is sick; my health is broken because of my sins. My guilt overwhelms me—it is a burden too heavy to bear. My wounds fester and stink because of my foolish sins. I am bent over and racked with pain. All day long, I walk around filled with grief. A raging fever burns within me, and my health is broken. I am exhausted and completely crushed. My groans come from an anguished heart." God was disciplining David in the form of sickness. We don't know what kind of sickness he was suffering, but he was obviously in pain, and it was affecting him emotionally. Hebrews 12:5-6 explains whom God disciplines, "And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said, 'My child, don't make light of the Lord's discipline, and don't give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.'"
The purpose of God's discipline toward us as his children is to correct us or restore us to walk in His righteousness. God disciplines us when we are living in sin and rebellious lifestyle. God knows that if we keep on living in sin, we will eventually destroy ourselves. There is nothing good that can come out of a sinful lifestyle, and this is the reason Jesus has to rescue us with His own life on the cross. If we truly believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are God's children, and we are subject to His discipline. His discipline is not meant to destroy us but to restore us. The word "punishes" in Hebrews 12:6 is equivalent to spanking in our modern terms. It is biblical to spank your kids to discipline them (Proverbs 23:13-14). We should spank not excessively but to make a point, to get their attention so that we may guide them back to do what is right. The purpose of discipline is also to teach us the consequences of sin that we may learn.
Let us not continue in a sinful lifestyle, for God disciplines us as His children. If we have been cheating, lying, or compromising the ways of this world, let us confess our sins right now and turn back to God. God then restores us.
Ask yourself these questions for application: (Think through carefully and meditate on the questions while answering them, and let the Spirit of God speak to you). Who does God discipline? Why does God discipline me when I sin? What should I do if I have been living in sin?
Write down all the worries you face today and lift them up to God.
Father in Heaven, thank you for loving me and never letting me go, even when my heart is rebelling against you. Thank you for always being faithful to guide me back to your ways. Please forgive me for all the sins that I have done. Please do not allow my heart to be hardened by any sin. In your name, Lord Jesus, I pray. Amen.