“O Lord, rebuke me not in your anger,
nor discipline me in your wrath.
Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing;
heal me, O Lord, for my bones are troubled.
My soul also is greatly troubled.
But you, O Lord—how long?
Turn, O Lord, deliver my life;
save me for the sake of your steadfast love.
For in death there is no remembrance of you;
in Sheol who will give you praise?
I am weary with my moaning;
every night I flood my bed with tears;
I drench my couch with my weeping.
My eye wastes away because of grief;
it grows weak because of all my foes.
Depart from me, all you workers of evil,
for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping.
The Lord has heard my plea;
the Lord accepts my prayer.
All my enemies shall be ashamed and greatly troubled;
they shall turn back and be put to shame in a moment.” Psalm 6:1-10
David begins Psalm 6 by asking God to not do the thing that every single one of us deserves. We deserve God’s anger. We deserve God’s wrath. Notice how David is not saying do not rebuke or discipline me at all, for he knows the benefit of the Lord’s guiding hand. The Lord is a father and a shepherd, and from time to time, correction is needed. David knows he stands no chance if he is rebuked and disciplined out of God’s anger and wrath. None of us do. But we are in no position to make deals or barter with God. God is not lacking anything. We have nothing to offer that would satisfy a need God has. This situation is not only affecting David physically, but also spiritually. When preaching on this Psalm, Charles Spurgeon said “Soul-trouble is the very soul of trouble. It matters not that the bones shake if the soul be firm, but when the soul itself is also sore vexed this is agony indeed.”
In the end, what David is really crying out for is mercy, and out of the anguish of his soul, he can only find the strength to muster up a partial sentence…
“Oh Lord…How long?”
How long will I be pursued by enemies?
How long will I be in agony?
How long will my soul be troubled?
How long will I spend my nights crying?
How long, oh Lord, until you come?
“When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.” Psalm 34:17
David reminds himself that the Lord hears his prayers. 1 Peter 3:12 tells us “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” But how is David righteous? He opened up by asking for God not to judge him like the wicked. The face of the Lord should be against David, for he has sinned. Why does the Lord listen to him?…
…Because Jesus gave HIS righteousness to David.
“It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption” 1 Corinthians 1:30
The Father is well pleased with the Son, for he was able to keep the law of God. He alone is without sin. He alone is righteous. The only way we are seen as righteous before God is if we are clothed in the righteousness of Christ. Our righteousness is like filthy rags before God (Isaiah 64:6). If we are in Christ, then he has taken our sin and given us his righteousness…and when the righteous cry out, the Lord hears them. David warns his enemies of this. He warns them that they will be shamed, troubled, and be sent away. The opposite is true for those who are righteous in Christ.
They will be brought near.
They will no longer be ashamed.
They will be comforted.
Do you despise the discipline of the Lord?
Are you confident that the Lord hears your prayers?
Are you relying on your works for good standing before God, or is the righteousness of Christ your only hope?
“A man will be justified by faith when, excluded from righteousness of works, he by faith lays hold of the righteousness of Christ, and clothed in it, appears in the sight of God not as a sinner, but as righteous” John Calvin