Psalm 38:3 – There Is No Soundness in My Flesh


Psalm 38:3


The parallelism in this verse is telling: “There is no soundness in my flesh because of your indignation; there is no health in my bones because of my sin.”


Many psalms pray for healing, and Psalm 38, like some others, relates sickness and sin. The notion can be dangerously misused, as though all illness is punishment for personal sin, a thought denied specifically by Jesus (John 9:2-3). Still, the psalmists know that humans can be their own worst enemies and that we do often bring calamity and sickness upon ourselves. They know, too, that our sins can adversely affect others and vice versa. There is no one-to-one relationship between sin and distress in the Bible, but sin always has dire consequences–for the sinner, for other people, and for the world. Thus, the psalm prays for forgiveness, even as it prays for healing. God’s “anger” or “wrath,” which the pray-er asks God to withhold (v. 1), need not be seen as personal vengeance, but rather the inevitable consequences of sin that come because of the order of the world as God has made it (Psalm 7:14-16).