Summary: Real Men (and Women) Cry 1) Over their sin 2) For God’s salvation
Well the Oscar hype has died down for another year, thank goodness. Last weekend movie stars and their fans gathered to honor the industry’s best. Awards were handed out and speeches given but at times the proceedings were painful to watch. Movie stars that normally are so cool and collected were overcome with emotion and ended up blubbering through their acceptance speeches. It was embarrassing to watch. Real men (and women), not to mention professionals, should have better control of themselves, shouldn’t they?
Had awards been handed out 3,000 years ago for the world’s most glamorous people King David would have been a regular recipient. He was good-looking, a rugged outdoorsman, a warrior, a rich king, and a musician. David was a man’s man yet he wrote in today’s text: “I am worn out from groaning; all night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears” (Psalm 6:6). Drenching your couch with tears? Isn’t that something only pre-teen adolescences do in made-for-TV movies? Apparently not. In fact we’re going to learn from David that real men (and women) cry. They cry over their sin, and they cry for God’s salvation.
We don’t know the circumstances that prompted David to write Psalm 6. It may have been when his son Absalom rebelled against him and for a time drove David from Jerusalem (2 Samuel 15, 16). As David fled the capital city he did so barefoot and his head covered in shame. What was going through David’s mind as he left behind the palace? Perhaps it was the words that became the opening lines of Psalm 6: “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” (Psalm 6:1-3a).
David must have been mindful of the words that had been spoken to him by the prophet Nathan years earlier. After David’s sin of adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband Uriah, Nathan confronted the king with his sin. Thankfully David repented but then Nathan announced that there would be consequences for his sin. One consequence was that David’s own family would be torn up just as he had torn up Uriah’s family. Did those words come back to David as he trudged out of Jerusalem? Did he see Absalom’s rebellion as God’s discipline? It certainly seems that way.
But note how David isn’t complaining. He’s not angry that God is disciplining him. He simply asks that God not rebuke him in his anger (Psalm 6:1). Parents, think of how often we have disciplined our children in anger. Instead of working to correct and train we simply took out our frustrations on our children. David didn’t want God doing the same thing because he knew that there would be no end to his pain then, or as the prophet Jeremiah put it years later: “Correct me Lord, but only with justice – not in your anger, lest you reduce me to nothing” (Jeremiah 10:24).
David’s humble attitude is worth emulating. When we hit tough times are we reminded, as was David, of what sinful people we are and that we really deserve worse from God? Or do we lash out in anger and accuse God of being unloving and unfair? The thing is if God were to treat us fairly, that is according to his law, our lives should be 100 times more difficult than they are. Tell me, did you gladly wash the morning dishes before coming to church or didn’t the thought even cross your mind because, well, that’s what others do around the house, not you? Did you, in the last 30 minutes, entertain a condescending thought about someone here? Did you heave a sigh of impatience when you saw the length of the Scripture readings this morning? If you are guilty of any of these sins, what has God done to punish you for them? It doesn’t seem like he has done anything. No one’s chair is on fire. Nor has anyone keeled over with a heart attack. You see the truth is God is very patient with us. He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve. David knew that. And so when life wasn’t going very well for him he didn’t grumble and complain as if God were treating him unfairly. Instead he took the hardship as God’s alarm clock waking him up to the seriousness of his sins.
Still, isn’t David’s sorrow over his sin overdone? He wept all night over his sins so that his ribs started to hurt from the sobbing. I admit I’ve never expressed sorrow like that over my sin. It isn’t because I don’t have any sins to repent of. It’s because in my arrogance I don’t think what I’ve done is really that offensive to God. But that’s the point of today’s sermon text. God wants us to know that real men and women do cry over their sin. No you don’t have to shed tears when you consider what you have done to offend God but you better not blow off your sins. Lying to your employer about how much time you spend on your lunch break may be an acceptable office practice but it’s not in line with how God says we should treat our employer. We’re to work for him as if we were working for the Lord. Snickering at your siblings may seem like part of the normal growing up experience but aren’t you really mocking God for his handiwork that are your brothers and sisters? Friends, God does not endure these slaps to his face and says: “Oh, that’s OK.” He threatens eternal punishment for all who break his commands. David was highly sensitive of this fact and perhaps we need to become more sensitive to it too and cry like David did over our sins.