Psalm 6 “A Good Description of the Christian Experience”

Psalm 6

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.

 

I was reflecting today with another believer about the way our prayer life sometimes works.  There are times when Psalm 6 is exactly the way I deal with God.  I start off not really wanting to stop and take the time to fellowship with Him, I make all kinds of excuses, but the honest truth is generally I don’t think he cares to hear from me or I don’t think he is really going to listen.  I may not say that to myself exactly, but my heart and my actions scream it.  Sometimes, when I feel that way, instead of walking away I simply obey.  And as I reflected on this simple obedience in the face of everything I felt and all the things I thought I needed to do, I realized that some of the longest, richest, most transformational times I ever spent with the Lord came during the times that I started with a sense of not wanting to be there, and just went anyway.  That seems to be consistent with the way David starts and ends in this Psalm.

 

1 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?

 

Then at the end

 

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.

 

David starts out with feelings of self-loathing, living in fear of judgment, with a sense of helplessness.  He ends with an assurance of His continued relationship with God and with a sense of protection from the world that he felt was out to get him, not only because the world hated him, but, if you read closely, he thought God had sent the world after him as a divine judgment.  After processing his fears, vocalizing his doubts, and remembering that God does not destroy his repentant, authentic worshipers in fits of rage, his doubts turned to faith, and his fear to assurance.

 

While I was thinking about how my prayer life often turned on the same axis as David’s, I realized that my whole Christian life spun on this axis.  In the beginning I did not know God very well, I accepted Christ’s death for me and received much grace.  That grace however often came after long periods of fearful doubt as I struggled to believe the Gospel day by day.  As I endured these early struggles a sort of soul memory set in.  Your body develops muscle memory.  As you practice physical actions such as lifting weights or swinging a bat at a baseball, the muscles in your body begin to remember the most effective and efficient way to produce that motion, and you get better at it.  The same thing works in the soul.  As you gain experience with God, you learn of His goodness and His faithfulness to you.  As you begin to build a pattern of long-term, faith-based relationship with God, you begin to have former memories of God’s faithfulness to you in tangible and intangible ways.  There begin to be other times in the past for you where you thought God was sending the world down on you in a crushing judgment, only to find out God shielded you from the very enemies that you were sure He sent to destroy you.  Then you realize God didn’t send them at all, and that He heard your cries the whole time.

 

You maybe struggling to maintain financial integrity with God concerning your giving and God multiplies your funds in a way that you miraculously are able to keep faith with your creditors.  I have had anonymous people just mail me money before, and the check should have arrived two weeks earlier, yet it popped in the mailbox at the perfect moment.  I have also had strong thoughts and feelings in the past that I may not actually be a believer in Christ, yet God brought Scripture to my mind, and sent feelings of peace and love to my soul.  It was then that assurance grew in me, confirmed by the Word and the Spirit, that I was indeed His child.

 

Through all the tears, moaning, doubting, and languishing, God over and over again proved Himself faithful to me.  As these soul memories grew more in number my assurance grew stronger, and my fits of doubting and fear grew shorter and shorter.  They have not completely left me.  I am still a broken individual longing with the whole of creation for the redemption and change that is coming upon me.  But, I am growing in the knowledge God as it continually emanates truth and grace upon me in the face of Jesus Christ.  And I can say with perfect assurance as I write,

 

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.


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