O Lord, rebuke me not in your anger,
nor discipline me in your wrath.
2 Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing;
heal me, O Lord, for my bones are troubled.
3 My soul also is greatly troubled.
But you, O Lord—how long?
4 Turn, O Lord, deliver my life;
save me for the sake of your steadfast love.
5 For in death there is no remembrance of you;
in Sheol who will give you praise?
6 I am weary with my moaning;
every night I flood my bed with tears;
I drench my couch with my weeping.
7 My 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.
9 The Lord has heard my plea;
the Lord accepts my prayer.
10 All my enemies shall be ashamed and greatly troubled;
they shall turn back and be put to shame in a moment.
In the opening verses of Psalm 6, David speaks of how he is so miserable that he feels like his bones are all dried up. The image brought to mind is of some bleached bones in the desert.
Ever feel that way? Have you been (or are you now) so oppressed in spirit that the pain of life seems to have penetrated into your bones, and even beyond your bones into your very soul?
And how long, David asks God, does he have to go through this? In verse 4, he pleads for God to change his mind and save his life. He makes this plea not on the basis of his own righteousness or great performance, but rather for the sake of God’s steadfast love. That is of course the only grounds of our pleas for anything.
In verse 5, he reminds God that if he loses his life he won’t be able to praise God from the grave. So whatever rescue he wants, he expects it to be in this life. And, of course, if God hadn’t rescued him in real time and space, he never would have been around to write this Psalm!
David continues with typical Hebrew hyperbole by saying that his couch is drenched with his tears. But he isn’t too far off here. How many of us have woken up with our pillows drenched with our tears from time to time? What counts with David is that in God’s eyes our weeping is the eloquence of sorrow. Great British preacher Charles Spurgeon said that we should think of tears as liquid prayers that will wear their way right into the very heart of God’s mercy. God hears the voice of our tears sometimes better than the voice of our words.
Is it not sweet to believe that our tears are understood even when words fail? Let us learn to think of tears as liquid prayers, and of weeping as a constant dropping of importunate intercession which will wear its way right surely into the very heart of mercy, despite the stony difficulties which obstruct the way.
In verse 8, the tone changes. He is now sure that God has heard his cries for deliverance. How did he know? Sometimes in prayer we just know. God gives us an assurance that what we have been asking for has been granted. Now it’s just a matter of waiting for it.
David ends his Psalm by commending the God who acts for us. He wants us to know that this faith business is not a call to some fantasy, but to a living and faithful God who hears and answers prayer.
Let us hear this word and receive it with great joy. Never forget that your prayer-tears will not go unheeded. Not a single tear will ever be wasted in God’s sight. He ever listens carefully for the sincere, humble plea for mercy and help, and when the time is right (God’s time) the answer will be right on time.
Photo by Glenn Brown via Flickr