Psalms 38-39

Talks for Growing Christians

The Consequences of Sin; The Shortness of Life

Psalms 38-39

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Lesson Number 29

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. Believers should acknowledge the fact that there are consequences to sin.
  2. Believers should accept the fact that life is short.

Practical Application

  1. Expect to be lonely when you sin.
  2. Live as if you only had six more months!


  1. What type of psalm is Psalm 38?
  2. What sin was David mourning in Psalm 38?
  3. Why does David focus on the shortness of life in Psalm 39?
  4. Who was Jeduthun?
  5. What was David requesting in Psalm 39:4?


  1. Psalm 38 is a penitential psalm, expressing sorrow because of the consequence of sin.
  2. Probably his glaring failure to discipline his family at the time of Amnon’s rape of Tamar and the subsequent murder of Amnon by Absalom.
  3. Because he is under the hand of God and experiencing disciplinary sickness
  4. Jeduthun was one of the choir directors, appointed by David to lead public worship.
  5. He was not praying that the Lord would reveal to him how he would die or how much time he had left, but rather that the Lord would help him to appreciate the brevity of human life.


  1. David did not try to make excuses for his sin or vindicate himself in any way. Discuss how this allowed him to regain fellowship with the Lord. Do you think making excuses for our sin prolongs the painful consequences?
  2. Even in the midst of his suffering, David was careful to be a good witness for God. He did not complain about God’s ways in his life, lest the wicked find fault with God’s ways. And he requested relief from God’s heavy hand, so that unbelievers would not gloat over David’s situation. Discuss whether you would have a mindset like this in the midst of suffering.


  1. What would you do if the Lord told you that you only had six more months to live?

Key Verses

  • "O LORD, do not rebuke me in Your wrath, nor chasten me in Your hot displeasure! For Your arrows pierce me deeply, and Your hand presses me down." Psalm 38:1-2
  • "LORD, make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days, that I may know how frail I am." Psalm 39:4

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