Psalm 6

Psalm 6

A Psalm (NIV) written by David.

“LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath.
Have mercy on me, LORD, for I am faint; heal me, LORD, for my bones are in agony.
My soul is in deep anguish.
How long, LORD, how long?

Turn, LORD, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love.
Among the dead no one proclaims your name. Who praises you from the grave?

I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears.
My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes.

Away from me, all you who do evil, for the LORD has heard my weeping.
The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the LORD accepts my prayer.
All my enemies will be overwhelmed with shame and anguish; they will turn back and suddenly be put to shame.”

Psalm 6, is known as the first of seven penitential (regret for wrongdoing which leads to a change in behaviour) psalms. In the introduction of the psalm, David is aware that his troubles are due to his actions, and he is asking God not to prolong his discipline in anger, but to relieve David of his anguish because God is merciful and full of compassion. The next couple of verses takes his plea to a logical extreme – when he says, ‘who can freely praise You from the grave?’ (Sheol). David calls upon God’s unfailing love for deliverance from his suffering.

David is worn out, he has been crying all night (perhaps, for many nights) – and, as we all know – after crying for a long time our eyes do feel exhausted. In a very real sense our sorrow weakens us and our ability to overcome this sadness often falls short, if we don’t call on God for help.

The last set of verses, are most likely written after God has demonstrated His compassion and David then realises that his prayers have been answered. They are statements reflecting a confident victory, David knows that God has heard his cry for mercy and his prayer for relief has been accepted. Evil people rejoice in the downfall of God’s people; likewise, they are put to shame when God comes and rescues His lost sheep. When evil people witness God’s love in action, they are overwhelmed with shame and anguish –  because, by their earlier mocking they are trying to imply that God is not good and that He does not care for His suffering people. It’s the same type of ploy which Satan uses in the story of Job.

God is good – He will discipline those He loves – and, He will rescue them from their suffering – we know this, whenever we look at the Cross.