We’ve all played the blame game at some point in time or another. We’ve all tried to deflect the guilt we feel onto something or someone else.
Because guilt doesn’t feel good. It makes us feel bad. Often times really bad. As in sick-to-my-stomach bad.
Enter David, and Psalm 6:6-7.
Insights from the Septuagint
6I am wearied with my groaning;
throughout each night I will wash my couch;
I will soak my bed with my tears.
7My eye is troubled because of fury;
I am becoming old because of all my enemies.
There is one small point of interpretation I’d like to note with the LXX translation today. It’s the phrase “throughout each night.”
The ESV translates the Hebrew as “every night”. That is almost certainly entirely appropriate, as these are well-educated scholars who know infinitely more about Hebrew, languages in general, and translation than I do.
But there is an interesting aspect to the Greek of this same phrase. It indicates that David is talking about the entirety of the night, from beginning to end. This is why I translated it “throughout each night”. I believe the idea here is that David’s guilt is constant, an ever-present companion. The LXX captures the emotion and depth of what David is going through with this simple little phrase.
Law & Gospel
Sin has consequences. We all need to recognize this. Romans 6:23a puts it most succinctly: “For the wages of sin is death.” This is the entire point that Jesus came to earth in the first place – to redeem us from sin and death; to save us.
But guilt also has consequences, very real and often very physical consequences. David confessed in Psalm 32:3-4, “For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.”
Now is the time when a knowledge of the Word of God comes in handy. We are all going to struggle with guilt because we all struggle with sin. If you’ve read this blog any amount of time, you should acknowledge this. If not, read Rom. 3:23 again, just for good measure.
We must realize that the promise of forgiveness in Jesus Christ is there for us. God sent his one and only Son to take the guilt of sin away from us. We can’t make ourselves un-guilty. But in Jesus Christ, God declares us to be not guilty.
With the promise of forgiveness of sins held to firmly by faith, we can say with David, “I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,’ and you forgave the iniquity of my sin,” (Ps. 32:5).
When burdened with the guilt of sin, don’t point your finger at someone else. Don’t make excuses to try to justify yourself. Rather, turn to God, confess your sin rather than attempt to cover it up, and cling to the justification that he freely provides through Jesus Christ. Love God’s promise that, “as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us,” (Ps. 103:12). Then, “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free,” (John 8:32).