A CRY OF PAIN
Lord Jesus, your life revealed what life could be. Thank you that life can be a reality for me.
Read PSALM 6
For the director of music. With stringed instruments. According to sheminith.[b] A psalm of David.
1 Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger
or discipline me in your wrath.
2 Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint;
heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony.
3 My soul is in deep anguish.
How long, Lord, how long?
4 Turn, Lord, and deliver me;
save me because of your unfailing love.
5 Among the dead no one proclaims your name.
Who praises you from the grave?
6 I am worn out from my 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 overwhelmed with shame and anguish;
they will turn back and suddenly be put to shame.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘… the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong.’1
This is Job’s psalm. It is also mine. If you have never experienced the pain of verse 2, or prayed the cry of verse 3, or even been through the kind of night described in verse 6, then pray for those who are, right now. Job’s friends would have done well to read this psalm before their meetings with him, had it been written then. The writer’s opening plea reveals a concern about God’s discipline. This is a vital theme of Scripture, but not a popular one.2 Discipline is a sign of parental love. When God disciplines us, he is treating us as his children. He loves us as we are, but he also loves us too much to leave us that way. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace in due course.3
It is right that the psalm does not attempt to whitewash the anguish of God’s people when they undergo suffering. Here the writer pleads with God, complains to God, and weeps before God. This is lament at its deepest and darkest. Thankfully, it leads on to hope and encouragement. ‘The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer’ (v 9). Here ‘is not a faith that leads to dry-eyed stoicism, but a faith so robust it wrestles with God.’4
Verse 5 reflects a common approach to death taken in the Near East at that time, before the event of Jesus’ resurrection. Nevertheless, it reveals the longing of the writer to be saved from imminent death. His plea for salvation is based on God’s character, not his own (vs 8,9). It is God’s unfailing love that carries him through these appalling circumstances. May it carry you through today.
Psalm 136 repeats the phrase ‘His love endures forever’ in all 26 verses. Read it and be encouraged that God’s love is our guarantee of salvation. Give thanks.
Loving Lord, you hear me when I struggle. Thank you for your touch that assures me of your presence.
1 1 Pet 5:10 2 Heb 12:5–11 3 Heb 12:11 4 DA Carson, How long, O Lord?, IVP, 2004, p73
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