I’ve been reading through the Bible chronologically. Lately I’ve been in 1 & 2 Samuel and 1 & 2 Chronicles with Psalms sprinkled throughout. It really changes the way I read the psalms, because now I’m reading them smack dab in the middle of context. Having just read about David’s own son trying to steal the kingship from him really makes his words about enemies and suffering come to life. Anyway, this morning I was reading Psalm 38 in which David is asking God for help. He says things like:
“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.”
-Psalm 38:5-8 (ESV)
All of this kind of resonated with me. I have felt like a festering wound because of my foolishness, because of a time I put my foot in my mouth or forgot to do something or did something wrong and caused someone else to be inconvenienced. I’ve never Bathsheba-level messed up, like David, but I know what it’s like to feel bowed down and prostrate. I feel you, David.
However, the line that stuck out to me most in all of my reading this morning was the line there in verse 7 that says, “There is no soundness in my flesh.”
It’s a word nerd’s curse to know what a word means but not be able to define it. I know what “sound” means. I know it’s essence. I get the gist. I know what “sound” means when it’s a synonym for “noise” and I know what it means when it’s a synonym for “healthy” or “sturdy.” And I knew this morning that I understood this line – there is no soundness in my flesh – deep down in my Spirit, but that I also didn’t know what the word soundness actually really meant.
So I did what any good word nerd would do and I looked it up in the (online) dictionary. The dictionary.com definition of soundness is:
financially safe or stable; showing good judgment or reasoning; sensible; wise; valid, logical, or justifiable; ethically correct; upright; honest. (of sleep) deep; peaceful; unbroken.
In my natural, unsanctified state my body is not safe or stable. And neither are my heart or my mind. I do not show good judgement or reasoning. On my own I am not sensible or wise or valid or logical. My actions are not justifiable or ethically correct. I am not upright or honest or deep or peaceful or unbroken. In my natural, unsanctified, Jesus-less state, I am, in fact, broken. There is no soundness in my flesh.
BUT GOD. On my own, there is no soundness in my flesh. But with God – with the power of Jesus’ blood living in me and the Spirit guiding me and forming me and God forgiving me and sustaining me – there is soundness in my flesh, Hallelujah.
With God I am safe! I am stable! In my heart and my mind and my spirit and my body. I am capable of good judgment and reasoning. I am sensible and wise and valid and logical. Praise Him. With God my actions are just and ethically correct. I have all the power and tools necessary to be upright and honest, deep and peaceful, and unbroken. Yea God. With Jesus, there is soundness in my flesh.
With Jesus, not only are my decisions and actions sound (safe, stable, just, correct, valid, upright, honest), but there is soundness in my physical being, in my very and actual self. I live every day into and out of a deep-seated peaceful unbrokenness that manifests itself in sound living and returns back in the form of a sound body. With Jesus, there is soundness in my flesh. Hallelujah, praise Him, Amen.