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?
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. – Psalms 6
Such grief and such mourning these days. Form the state of our nation, the loss of friends, and painful diagnoses, it is difficult not to see enemies at every turn. David talks about fear at the heart of his grief in Psalm 6, which invokes questions of belief.
David’s fears would have included armies and men who were out for his life. His anguish causes him to beg God to graciously hold back his discipline because in his current state it would have been too overwhelming.
As my heart cries out in anguish, it is far too easy to worry that all is lost, that the world will never be put to rights and God is far from hearing my pleas. And admittedly, these moments can quickly lead to depression and despair. God, where are you? Why do you wait so long?
Surprisingly, David does not doubt that God is intimately involved in his life, even when it is so bleak. He expresses trust in God’s love for him as a Father who is true to his work of disciplining his children. David is certain that God will act as he asks “how long” in verse 3.
As often is the case, David starts with strong “negative” emotion and moves to confidence in the promises of God. At first reading it sounded like his confidence was that God would spare his life, but I am not sure that it is actually the message of this Psalm. David has been praying in his grief, and is confident that God heard his prayer and that he will bring shame on his enemies. But could David mean that he is confident that no matter what, in life or in death, that God will remain true to his promises? It may be that verse 8 is a warning, that no matter what happens God will have the victory. “Beware, if you come against me and even if you think you succeed, you will know the wrath of God.”
I pray that I can know this confidence in God’s promises. So often my fear drives me to disbelieve. So often I fail to put my hope in God and trust that what now fuels my grief will serve his glory.
Lord God, help me to put all my hope in you. Help me to see your authorship in my life and the lives of those with whom I suffer and grieve. Help me to grieve with confidence.