When I kept silent,
my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night
your hand was heavy on me;
my strength was sapped
as in the heat of summer.
What a miserable condition it is to find yourself under conviction of sin. If you have ever been there, you will identify with these words. In some cases it can go on for a long time. It may need to, in order to bring about real repentance. (Reading Jonathon Aitken’s story, ‘Pride and Perjury’, you get the sense that it was like this for him. He had a lot to work through. It wasn’t over in five minutes).
Conviction can even affect your body; you may feel the effects physically. Whatever David’s sin was, it ‘ate way at’ his ‘soul like a cancer.’ Tom Hale.
This may well belong to the time of David’s adultery with Bathsheba ( see 2 Samuel 11,12). If so, verse 3,4 may reflect David being burdened with a guilty conscience. It’s such a heavy weight to carry. But if it leads to the “Then” of verse 5, it has done its work.
I think of Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 7:8b-11a:
“…I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while – yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you…”