For I am ready to fall, And my sorrow is continually before me. For I will declare my iniquity; I will be in anguish over my sin. But my enemies are vigorous, and they are strong; And those who hate me wrongfully have multiplied. Those also who render evil for good, They are my adversaries, because I follow what is good. Do not forsake me, O Lord; O my God, be not far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation! Psalm 38:17-22
As I have shared before, I study the Bible utilizing both the King James and New King James versions side by side. To date I have yet to find any verses that contradict one another, but quite often I do come across subtle nuances in the language that help me to understand the passages a little better. Today was no exception.
In Psalm 38:17 the NKJV reads, ‘For I am ready to fall.’ The KJV on the other hand substitutes the word halt for the last word. Halt tends to give the phrase a different meaning, so I looked-up the Hebrew translation and discovered that it doesn’t mean ‘to stop,’ like I originally thought, but rather ‘to limp,’ as to be hindered by a disability. The Psalmist was essentially saying to God, “I am ready to be lame.”
What in the World was David Talking About?
Reading the entire Psalm, we see that David was in a desperate place; he was suffering with a disease that was brought about by his own sin. As I read the Psalm, I don’t know if the disease was real (some surmise it could have been a sexually transmitted disease or even leprosy) or a case of David waxing poetically about how debilitating sin can be. Either way, David was suffering greatly and was ready to submit wholly to the Lord. I get the sense that when David wrote, “I am ready to halt,” he was in reality making an allusion to Jacob’s story in Genesis 32.
Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.” But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!” So He said to him, “What is your name?” He said, “Jacob.” And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked, saying, “Tell me Your name, I pray.” And He said, “Why is it that you ask about My name?” And He blessed him there. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” Just as he crossed over Penuel the sun rose on him, and he limped on his hip. Therefore to this day the children of Israel do not eat the muscle that shrank, which is on the hip socket, because He touched the socket of Jacob’s hip in the muscle that shrank. Genesis 32:24-32
We would recall that Jacob learned his brother Esau (and a small army) were coming to meet him and the news left Jacob greatly afraid and distressed, for he felt Esau was coming to kill him. Jacob cried out to the Lord for delivery, but he did not heed His counsel. Instead, in his flesh, he sent gifts ahead of him in an attempt to appease his brother. The passage above is what happened next and as a result of having wrestled with God, Jacob was left with a limp for the rest of his life and a new name: Israel, which means, ‘governed by God.’
When David wrote in the Psalm that he was ready to halt, he was affectively saying that he, like Jacob, was ready to be governed by God. From that point forward, King David maintained a figurative limp that identified him as one who was fully dependant upon God, as one with a limp would be fully dependant upon a staff to move forward.
Where are you in your walk? Are you ready to limp?
These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at my home church, Calvary Chapel Coastlands