In this first 'Penitential' psalm, through David's cry, we hear Christ's Spirit sigh. We could aptly name his lament: 'The Long Night of Sorrow'. Is God's face eclipsed? Are you passing through a trial? Is life a tearful vale? Are you mistreated, marginalized or mocked? Do you weep for Jesus' sake? Find refuge, comfort and help in Psalm 6!
Appeal - Verse 1
David, for whatever reason, senses divine disciplinary displeasure: he knows, having erred, he is being chastened and corrected by the LORD. He asks that God might, in mercy, mitigate royal deserts and spare him many stripes. 'Give me sore displeasure but spare me burning anger!'
David has no gripe: he knows God is just. David sees some purpose: he believes training has purpose - sin to mortify, sanctity to be grown, strength to be obtained, suffering to be endured and supplications to pour forth, that the King might gain relief. Only as spotless, loving, mediator, does imputed guilt set this on Jesus' lips.
O LORD, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath.
Anguish -Verses 2-7
FOUR sub-points starting with 'T' give a handle on his plight: with respect to TIME (verse 3), his night of sorrow is long; as regards TROUBLES, they afflict body (verse 2), soul (verse 4), and mind (verse 6); on account of profuse TEARS (verses 6-7) his bed-clothes are wringing wet; this TRIAL came through evil enemies (verses 7-8a).
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 my foes.
If David's deep woes enabled him to share in all Israel's pangs, how much better equipped is Jesus as your sympathetic High Priest: Jesse's Son's sorrows are but a drop in the ocean of Christ's 'Marianas Trench' of tears - His life-long tunnel turned ink-black at the Cross. He has tailor-made grace to fit and overpower your grief.
Answer - Verses 8-10
Mood-music changes as David ascends from his knees. He knows God's Covenant HEART (verses 2) to which he appealed for, and is answered by, grace. HELP is on its way for both health and life (verses 2, 5). The LORD has HEARD his pleading prayer for favor (verses 8-9). Royal HOPE is sure his enemies will revert (verse 10).
Depart from me, all your 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.
The grief is gone. His tears are terminated. His heart is healed. His anguish prayer has been answered. What encouragement, child of God, to roll out your scroll of sorrows (as John Owen described) and weep woe-filled words to Him. The Father, for Jesus sake, will bid your foes depart. A long night of tears will emerge into light.
Perhaps a better title for Psalm 6 is this - The Long Night of Sorrow is Over
For God's suffering church there is a glimpse of final hope. Our long, cold, dark, narrow, tearful valley will give way to holy heights of a bright, warm, heavenly home. Each sheep will be tranquil and joyful in the green and golden grazing of King Immanuel's Land. When those who caused or scorned our hurt will be told 'Depart!'
Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me ...For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink. I was a stranger and you did not welcome me ...As you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.' (Matthew 25:41-45)