Sermon for Lenten Midweek 2 – 3.8.23

+ Lenten Midweek 2 – March 8th, 2023 +

Psalm 38

Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church

Milton, WA


Psalm 38: Longing and Rescue


In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


In Greek and Roman mythology, the heroes Aeneas, Jason, and Odysseus sailed through the straits of Messina, better known as the rock of Scylla (the six headed monster) and Charybdis, the whirlpool.


We have a similar phrase: when you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. To use an Old Testament example, think of Israel camped around Mt. Sinai; they’re caught between the scorching heat and unholiness of their sin in the wilderness, and the flames, earthquakes, and holiness of God’s presence on Mt. Sinai.


As we read Psalm 38, it would seem that’s where we find David. David is caught between God the rock…


O Lord, rebuke me not in your anger,
    nor discipline me in your wrath!
For your arrows have sunk into me,
    and your hand has come down on me.

There is no soundness in my flesh
    because of your indignation;


Between God the rock, and the hard place of his sin, crushed, swamped, deluged beneath the burden of his own iniquity.


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.


Psalm 38 is one of the many reasons the Psalms are good for us to hear, pray, and reflect upon. So often in these psalms – the penitential psalms in particular – God gives us his own word to give voice to our own wrestling and struggles. And not just our daily bouts with sin, though that is part of it. But Psalm 38 begins not with our own sin, but our own wrestling with God himself.


Reading Psalm 38 puts us in the ring in the role of Jacob wrestling with God in the wee hours of the morning. Psalm 38 casts us as David, wrestling with God and his wrath against our sin, on the one hand, and wrestling with our own sin on the other.


Psalm 38 says what we so often think and feel, but perhaps are too unsure, or afraid, or ashamed to say out loud. That we feel as though we are stuck between a rock and a hard place. O Lord, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath!

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.
10 My heart throbs; my strength fails me,
    and the light of my eyes—it also has gone from me.


I’m sure there are plenty of times where we have felt and thought the things David says here. This is what repentance looks like. Admitting that there is no way through the Psalm unscathed. Death is on every side. Crushing, groaning, throbbing, stinking sin and death on one hand. And God’s burning, holy wrath on the other.


What are we to do? We do what David does in Psalm 38. We pray. We confess. We repent. We burden God with our sin knowing who he is and what he’s done about it. We receive forgiveness. And then we keep doing that over and over again, every day until our Lord Jesus returns.


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.

David’s prayer in Psalm 38 is our prayer too. Do not forsake me, O Lord! O my God, be not far from me!
We pray this knowing there’s only one way through. And it’s not the hero sailing through the monsters. It’s death. Either we die in sin, alone, or we die to sin and are raised by Christ and are with him. This is the way through the rock and the hard place.


So we confess, pray, sing, and rejoice with David, that the God who is the rock…is also our redeemer. The God who is holy became defiled on the cross to give us his holiness. The God who brings wrath for our sin, poured it out on his own Son Jesus who stood in the breach for you. The God who should have crushed us is instead the God who is stricken, smitten, and afflicted for you. The God who has drawn and bent his bow released all his arrows of indignation at the bullseye of Christ on the cross for you. Arrows that sunk into his hands, his feet, his head, and his side for you.


And now…there is no condemnation for you who are in Christ Jesus. Now we join David in confident, sure, and certain confession knowing that Christ hears, answers, and delivers us.


Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!


In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.





Beautiful Savior

is a traditional Lutheran Church, faithful to God's Word and His Sacraments. We equip God's people to serve, love, and encourage one another as we grow in our personal relationship with Christ. We reach out to the community as beacons of light, sharing the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Savior.

Church Office Hours

Monday - Thursday 8:30am-3:30pm

Friday 8:30am-11:30am

The office is closed on Fridays during the summer months of June, July, and August.

Preschool Office Hours

August - May
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday

By appointment only June and July


2306 Milton Way
Milton, WA 98354
(253) 922-6977
(253) 922-6977