The Misery of Relying on Our Own Strength

Psalm 38:3-14 (ESV)

There is no soundness in my flesh because of your indignation; there is no health in my bones because of my sin. For my iniquities have gone over my head; like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me. My wounds stink and fester because of my foolishness, I am utterly bowed down and prostrate; all the day I go about mourning. For my sides are filled with burning, and there is no soundness in my flesh. I am feeble and crushed; I groan because of the tumult of my heart. O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you. 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. Those who seek my life lay their snares; those who seek my hurt speak of ruin and meditate treachery all day long. But I am like a deaf man; I do not hear, like a mute man who does not open his mouth. I have become like a man who does not hear, and in whose mouth are no rebukes.

Commentary from 12 step.org:

“Here we see the psalmist in great pain and misery because of the sin in his life. As addicts we can identify with these types of feelings or conditions that have come from our sin as well. No sane person would want to find themselves in this state of corruption and decay. But because of the sin in our addictive behaviors and our inability to say no to those behaviors, we find ourselves feeling bad in body, heart, mind and soul. Notice the many areas of consequences. In the soul there is a feeling “as a heavy burden they are too heavy for me.” In the body, there is “no soundness in the flesh” and even a “loathsome disease”. In the heart there is “turmoil of my heart” and the resulting groaning. In relationships, there is a turning away of lovers, friends and family. In society there are “snares” and people say mischievous and deceitful things about us. There is a hint in this psalm also of the solution in laying it before God (38:9). These are what should be covered in the following steps of the program – how to turn it over to God and begin making things right before God and man. But first we have to admit that we need help, that we are powerless to overcome this addiction in our own strength.”

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