Summary: In this sermon I walk through the emotions and words of David during a time of despair.
March 5, 2006 Psalm 6
For the director of music. With stringed instruments. According to sheminith.
A psalm of David. 1 O LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath. 2 Be merciful to me, LORD, for I am faint; O LORD, heal me, for my bones are in agony. 3 My soul is in anguish. How long, O LORD, how long? 4 Turn, O LORD, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love. 5 No one remembers you when he is dead. Who praises you from the grave ? 6 I am worn out from 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 ashamed and dismayed; they will turn back in sudden disgrace.
David’s Psalm Shows Deliverance From Despair
During my devotional Bible study for the week I was reading through the book of Numbers - and some of those chapters simply amazed me as I reread them - especially chapter 16. Korah and 250 leading men of Israel tried to lead an overthrow of the government - by leading a rebellion against Moses. In judgment, God had the earth swallow up Korah, Dathan and Abiram’s families. Right after that, fire came from heaven and burned up the 250 leading men who had followed Korah. What amazes me even more is what happens next. Listen to this. Numbers 16:41 The next day the whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. “You have killed the LORD’s people,” they said. Hello! Earth to Israelites - come in Israelites! Are you crazy! What happened? A plague then came from the LORD and destroyed 14,700 more Israelites! As I read those verses, all kinds of things came to my mind. One thing of many was that God was not afraid to make the Israelites afraid. He wasn’t afraid to intimidate - in fact many times He HAD TO intimidate His people. It’s the only way they would listen. They needed to have “the Fear Factor.” They needed to see that God was SERIOUS.
Where is “the Fear Factor” today? It seems to be practically non-existent. Even when huge catastrophes like Katrina or El Nino or Tsunami hit, people are told that God really didn’t have anything to do with it. And so we live in a world that resigns every accident and every disaster to blind fate. The very word “sin” or “judgment” is not mentioned. The only time you hear the word “judge” is when people say “don’t judge me.” As a result, a majority of Americans - who even call themselves Christians - don’t seem to worry about sleeping around or getting drunk or anything. They just don’t think about how God will react to their actions - and act as if God doesn’t really care. Because of this, there is no fear of God - because God seems to have become a big fuzz ball who loves everyone and winks at sin. That is not an accurate or complete depiction of God - which once again became very clear to me as I read Numbers again. God was not afraid to use punishment and anger and fear against His very own people - the Israelites. If God doesn’t change - which He doesn’t - then He must be the same yet today. He must still punish sin. He must still allow and even sometimes send disasters - as a call to repentance. Yet even we as Christians - do not cower in fear at the thought that God might strike us dead with lightning when we find ourselves committing a sin that we know is wrong - whether it’s slander, sexual, greed, anger - or whatever the sin may be.
You might be wondering what this has to do with Psalm 6. Even though David was a called King and also served as an occasional prophet of the people - a man who had power on earth and blessings from heaven - even he reflects the fear factor in today’s text. He prays in verse 1, “O LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath.” David was afraid that God was either in the process of or about to rebuke him in His anger.
Even though David had some great successes in his history - he also went through a ton of turmoil. Even after he was anointed he spent many of his first years running away from King Saul who was trying to kill him. Due to his own sexual unfaithfulness and murder of his neighbor Uriah his infant son died. Even though God declared forgiveness to him, David still had to live with the aftermath of his sin. His extremely handsome son - Absalom - tried to steal the kingdom from him. Another son - Amnon, raped his half sister - David’s daughter - Tamar. On top of all this inner turmoil, David regularly had to deal with your typical enemies of Israel who were living in surrounding countrysides. Even in his old age, another son of his by the name of Adonijah, tried to steal the kingdom from the rightful heir Solomon. He must have died with either no hair or many greys.