For the director of music. With stringed instruments. According to sheminith. A psalm of David.
1 Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger
or discipline me in your wrath.
2 Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint;
heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony.
3 My soul is in deep anguish.
How long, Lord, how long?
4 Turn, Lord, and deliver me;
save me because of your unfailing love.
5 Among the dead no one proclaims your name.
Who praises you from the grave?
6 I am worn out from my groaning.
All night long I flood my bed with weeping
and drench my couch with tears.
7 My eyes grow weak with sorrow;
they fail because of all my foes.
8 Away from me, all you who do evil,
for the Lord has heard my weeping.
9 The Lord has heard my cry for mercy;
the Lord accepts my prayer.
10 All my enemies will be overwhelmed with shame and anguish;
they will turn back and suddenly be put to shame.
Psalms 6 is clearly a lament psalm. This psalm doesn’t allude to any specific event. But one can know from this Psalm that King David is in a time of deep pain in his heart. Matthew Henry in his commentary suggests that he is even in times of not just pain from the soul but also pain from the body.
He divides the psalm in to 2 parts –
(i) He pours out his complaints before God, deprecates his wrath, and begs earnestly for the return of his favor (v. 1-7).
(ii) He assures himself of an answer of peace, shortly, to his full satisfaction (v. 8-10).
Vs 1, 2 & 3
In verses 1, 2 and 3 King David expresses the pain and agony inside of his heart. One thing I love about David is that he does not keep his feelings to himself; rather he chooses to open it up and share it in front of God and receives peace in letting his depths to God. This way he doesn’t become dead in his heart concealing pain and punishing his soul rather he becomes more peaceful and lively.
There is deep pain in the heart of David, therefore he wants to know that God is on his side and He loves David. Therefore he pleads with God not to rebuke him in his anger and discipline him in wrath which will cause David to close his heart and develop deeper and stronger misunderstanding with God.
Rather in verse 2, David begs for God’s mercy to heal him as his bones (depths of his heart) is in agony.
He wants to meet God with his heart. His soul longs for communion with God and his pain can be ended. There is some offense which is not mentioned that David has committed against God. Therefore he is not able to be in peace with God. The connection between him and God is cut-off. His soul is longing to restore this relationship that has been cut-off. So in pain he is crying out to God, how long he should bear this pain?
In verse 4 David continues to ask for God’s mercy. He pleads God to turn back from his wrath. This verse shows that David has good knowledge of God’s mercy and love that never fails. He wants to keep seeking this love until God relents. He pleads God to save him because of his unfailing love. Not because David is a righteous man and he has right to ask God to save him. But he does not deserve of God’s mercy but because God is the God of unfailing love he seeks God to come to him and forgive. Unfailing is a very deep word. In a world where love easily dies and people easily fail since they are not the source of love itself but are reflectors of love, David is seeking God’s love that fails unendingly.
He says to God that he will praise God if God saves him. This verse can be seen in 2 ways. David wants to plead to God to keep him alive so that he may praise him. Also this could mean that Lord please come to save me before I die, If I die I might not be able to praise you because the dead can feel nothing.
In verse 6 he expresses the feeling of his soul. As Paul says in Romans 8 the spirit groans when it is not able to meet God. David says as his spirit kept groaning he lost his strength and he is worn out. And out of his anguish for not being able to meet God he cries and wets the pillow and couch day and night.
The sorrow in his heart of not being able to meet God weakens his spirit every day and his eyes become dim and weary. Without joy in his heart he seems very weak in front of his enemies.
Vs 8, 9 & 10
In these 3 verses David receives assurance from God. In most sorrow of a man is that he is not able to know if God is listening to his prayers. If there is no communication between man and God there is no confidence in man. David is trying to seek this confidence from God.
To those who are trying to kill David he wants to tell them that God has heard his prayer and he has received assurance from God. The cry for mercy has been heard and David was accepted. Since now he has strong assurance that God is on his side, David professes to his enemies that they will be over whelmed with shame and they will turn back.