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A Shot to the Heart

May 26, 2019
By Martin Luther

O LORD, rebuke me not in Your anger, nor discipline me in Your wrath! For Your arrows have sunk into me, and Your hand has come down on me. . .. There is no health in my bones because of my sin.

PSALM 38:1-3

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A Shot to the Heart

This psalm portrays most clearly the manner, words, acts, thoughts, and gestures of a truly penitent heart. O Lord, rebuke me not in Thy anger. The chastisement is understood by means of words, as one rebukes an evildoer. . .. For Thy arrows have sunk into me. The words with which God rebukes and threatens in Scripture are arrows. Whoever feels them cries out: "O Lord, rebuke me not in Thy anger." However, only he feels them into whose heart they are thrust and whose conscience is terrified. It is the sensitive into whose heart God shoots the arrows. From the smug, who have become hardened, the arrows glance off as from a hard stone. . .. The arrows of God and His angry words make real the sin within the heart. This causes restlessness and terror in the conscience and in all the powers of the soul, and it makes the body sick throughout.

From Seven Penitential Psalms, on Psalm 38 (Luther's Works 14:156-57)

May 26

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