Field Stone Cottage Blog

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Chew on This: Psalm 6

1O LORD, rebuke me not in your anger,
nor discipline me in your wrath.
2Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am languishing;
heal me, O LORD, for my bones are troubled.
3My soul also is greatly troubled.
But you, O LORD— how long?

4Turn, O LORD, deliver my life;
save me for the sake of your steadfast love.
5For in death there is no remembrance of you;
in Sheol who will give you praise?

6I am weary with my moaning;
every night I flood my bed with tears;
I drench my couch with my weeping.
7My eye wastes away because of grief;
it grows weak because of all my foes.

8 Depart from me, all you workers of evil,
for the LORD has heard the sound of my weeping.
9The LORD has heard my plea;
the LORD accepts my prayer.
10All my enemies shall be ashamed and greatly troubled;
they shall turn back and be put to shame in a moment.

I find this particular psalm so emotionally evocative that I had to step back and pray again that God would lessen that emotional response so that I might learn what He had for me on this day in these words of David. The tone of abject humility and need of God's mercy and grace is mine as well as David's. I too pray that our God not rebuke and discipline me in His righteous anger for I deserve it and would surely suffer it were it not for the work of Jesus Christ. I openly acknowledge my complete need of His graciousness because I am languishing. I looked up that word, languishing, in the dictionary. Not because I am unfamiliar with it as much as that I wanted to be sure I had the precise meaning in mind here. One of the definitions was "to become feeble, weak." Another was "to assume an expression of grief." I can see both meanings in verse 2. In my own strength, I am feeble and weak and can achieve no righteousness before God. In fact, I can be shockingly feeble and weak in the face of temptation. And I want always to grieve over that...grieve that I can offend my holy God with my ugly sinfulness in the way that I do. My only hope of healing and life is in Him and His steadfast love.

At first glance, verse 5 seems a bit, well, almost manipulative. "If you don't give me life, if you let me die, how can I praise You?" But its a reasonable argument and a beseeching one at that. David's pleading (and mine, by extension) continues in verses 6 and 7. He describes his increasing weakness in the face of his grief because of his foes. Surely, our primary enemies or foes are the things of earth that tempt us away from God.

But I thank God from the bottom of my heart for the words of the last three verses! He has heard my cry and my plea! He does accept my prayer! All workers of evil, all temptations will depart from me when I cry out to Him for rescue. My enemies shall be turned aside and put to shame in a moment! What peace and victory is in these words! They bring to mind the comfort of 1 Corinthians 10:13. "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." I'm thinking that most often the "way of escape" is turning to God in earnest prayer.

Leslie of Light Came invites us to "chew on a psalm" with her periodically. See what she and others came up with for Psalm 6 here.


rosemary said...

When I read the Psalm I had much the same response. The wrath of God strikes terror, because I know I deserve it. Oh, how precious is our Savior who bore the wrath for us!

Anonymous said...

I looked up languishing, too. Great word!

Tonight I can really appreciate how you brought out the fact that God will deal with our enemies (our ENEMY) in a moment!