1Save me, O God!
For the waters have come up to my neck.
2I sink in deep mire,
where there is no foothold;
I have come into deep waters,
and the flood sweeps over me.
3 I am weary with my crying out;
my throat is parched.
My eyes grow dim
with waiting for my God.
4 More in number than the hairs of my head
are those who hate me without cause;
mighty are those who would destroy me,
those who attack me with lies.
What I did not steal
must I now restore?
5O God, you know my folly;
the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you.
6Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me,
O Lord GOD of hosts;
let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me,
O God of Israel.
David, as is common in his poetry, is calling out to God because of the constant abuse of his enemies. David is innocent of the charges that his enemies have levied against him (verse 4), but he knows that he is not innocent in the eyes of God. We are all sinners and no matter how unjust our suffering may be, we can never say that we are completely without fault. David knows this too. He acknowledges that his sins are folly and known to God.
Then, in the midst of great suffering he prays a remarkable thing in verses 5 and 6. “Let not those who put their hope in you be put to shame through me”. There is a godly heart and a godly prayer and we would do well to pray it. “O Lord, do not allow my sins to make other followers of you be put to shame”.
We live in an age when even in the Christian camp almost anything goes. Sexual sin, broken marriages, ethical misconduct in churches and businesses are all practised by professing Christians and they all bring the church into disrepute. It is highly doubtful whether Christians guilty of reputation damaging sins prayed this. In light of how many times the sins get repeated by the same people it makes one wonder if repentance was ever an issue.
We need to pray for strength to persevere in holiness by the power of the Holy Spirit. We need to truly repent when we fall. And we need to love God and His church enough that one of our concerns about our sin is that God’s name and the reputation of His people is brought into shame when we fall. May the fear of that help us stay on the straight and narrow and may we love our brothers and sisters so much that we would never hurt them with our sin or our response to it.