Open your Bibles to Psalm 6. Today we continue or series from the book of Psalms. Before we begin, I want to remind you that these Psalms are worship songs for the nation of Israel. Because of that we can this is God's hymnal, due to these Psalm being the inspired word of God. With this in mind, it is interesting how lament oriented these worship songs are. They are not necessary the upbeat dance mix that some Church's tend to use. Perhaps many of you have already noticed this, but many of these Psalms come from a place of brokenness. They are songs of desperation, and I find it interesting that God uses these times of brokenness to reveal himself. Today is another example of this. With that said, let us read out text, pray, and examine God's Word.
- Psalm 6 - “O LORD, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath. 2Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am languishing; heal me, O LORD, for my bones are troubled. 3My soul also is greatly troubled. But you, O LORD—how long? 4Turn, O LORD, deliver my life; save me for the sake of your steadfast love. 5For in death there is no remembrance of you; in Sheol who will give you praise? 6I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping. 7My eye wastes away because of grief; it grows weak because of all my foes. 8Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the LORD has heard the sound of my weeping. 9The LORD has heard my plea; the LORD accepts my prayer. 10All my enemies shall be ashamed and greatly troubled; they shall turn back and be put to shame in a moment.”
Once again we have before us a Psalm of King David; King David who defeated lions, bears, and Goliath; King David who had songs sung about him of killing ten thousands; King David who led a nation and secured it borders on all sides. King David who ushered in the greatest days of historical Israel. King David who was potentially the most manly man of the Bible, yet in today’s text we see a different picture of David. We see a man who is an emotional wreck. We see a man who says in verse 6, “I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping.” The old adage of “real men don’t cry” does not apply to David, for he was a mess. What broke this seemingly powerful, successful leader of a nation down to a puddle of tears? It was the sorrow of his sin.
In verse 1 we see David cry out to the Lord, “rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath.” David is acknowledging his wrong doing before the Lord. He knows he deserves God's correction, but is hopeful God's rebuke comes, not from God's anger, but from God's love. His hope was that he would be punished as a child of God, not an enemy of God.
We are not sure what sins were on the mind of David when he wrote these words, but we can all recognize that he was a sinner. As we have said he was an adulterous murderer. In fact it is interesting that he now sheds these tear upon a bed, for it was his bed that was a common venue for the sins of his lustful heart. His actions have now come full circle and his sin has become his sorrow. This Psalm is a window into David’s recognition that he deserves rebuking, that he deserves discipline.
Clarity in Brokenness
How did David get to this point of recognizing his sin? Staying within our text, it appears from verses 7 and 8 it is due to the pursuit of his foes, his enemies, and workers of evil. It is in the midst of this circumstance that he cries out.
Who were these foes, we do not know specifically, but we do know that David’s foes were many. In Psalm 2 David’s foes were the nations. In Psalm 3 it was his third son, Absalom. Perhaps in this situation it was King Saul. For those who are unfamiliar with the stories, King Saul passionately hated David. Saul spent the end of his days attempting to kill David at all costs. Or perhaps the foes David now speaks of are the schemes of Satan, the cosmic powers, the spiritual forces that stood against him and the nation of Israel.
No matter whom these foes were, David’s circumstances caused him to reflect upon his right standing before God. In fact, the brokenness of his life caused him to think about the afterlife. Look at verse 5, “For in death there is no remembrance of you; in Sheol who will give you praise?” Sheol is the residence of the dead. The New Testament equivalent is the word Hades. Everyone who died prior to Christ’s resurrection went to Sheol. Perhaps the best description of Sheol is by Christ himself in Luke 16 discussing the rich man and Lazarus. Upon Christ victory on the cross, the elect who had already died were taken out of Sheol and ushered into the presence of God. For us today, because we live on the others side of the cross do not go to Sheol, but into the presence of God, where we wait for the day of judgment.
For today, what is important is not the logistics of Sheol, but that David's starts to dwell upon death. I think each of us can relate to this to some degree. I commonly say that in brokenness there is clarity. And by that I mean that when tragedy strikes the insignificant things in this world fade away and you dwell upon things that truly matter, like eternity. We see this in our own lives and in the lives of others. We also see it Biblically.
The first person we tend to think of when thinking about suffering is Job. In the midst of his tragedies that many of us can't even imagine he cried to the Lord. But there are others. For example, Jonah in the belly of the whale said in Jonah 2:7, “When my life was fainting away, I remembered the LORD, and my prayer came to you, into your holy temple.“ Then there is the thief on the cross, as he stared death in the face he cried out to Christ in Luke 23:42, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
When difficult time or even death comes knocking, our inner knowledge of God comes to the surface and in those moments we tend to recognize what is important in light of eternity and we cry out to God. Why is this? It is because the brokenness of this world breaks us, and in those moments we are humbled. And despite the pain, this is a good place for each one of us to be, humbled before the Lord.
Broken and Contrite
In perhaps one of David's most well know Psalms, Psalm 51, which is the Psalm he wrote regarding his adultery with Bathsheba and murder of her husband, he writes this in verse 17, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”
As we stated last week, God is a Holy, Holy, Holy and his power and his worth and his wisdom and his majesty is beyond our comprehension. Yet we so often approach him with arrogance our our breath, and when we do so we approach with great risk for Proverbs 16:5 says, “Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished.” God desires us to approach him with a humble hearts. James 4:6 says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
One way that God does this is through our circumstances. In fact, the apostle Paul knew this reality very well. In 2 Corinthians 12:7 Paul says this about the circumstances of his life, “So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.“ So just like David, God allow the circumstances of Paul's life to put him in a proper relationship with the Lord.
In fact, many times I pray for brokenness in people's life, not because I desire to people to suffer, but because I want them to have their eyes open to the realities of God. I want God to rip the things of this world out of their hands so that they dwell upon eternity, so that they dwell upon Him. I want them to walk in the valley of the shadow of death, so that they would feel the rod and staff of the Lord our Shepherd.
For David, this is exactly what happened. His circumstances that caused him to feel the weight of God's hand for his sin, also caused him to cry out to God in the midst of his pain. The proper posture before God was in fact achieved, and God was glorified through David's pleas. And we are told in verse 8 that God heard the sound of David's cries.
Now it should be noted that this does not always happen. Not everyone who stares death in the face repents and cries out to God. Some do and some don't. For example, two figures who dealt with brokenness wrongly were Pharaoh and Judas. Pharaoh, upon losing his first born son initially let Israel leave Egypt, but his decision was short term, for he pursued them to his death at the bottom of the red sea. Likewise, Judas, upon feel grief after betraying Jesus returned the money, but did not flea to Jesus, but instead fled to the grave by taking his own life. Why is this? Why does David cry out to God and find peace, but others do not? The answers lies in what type of grief you have.
- 2 Corinthians 7:10 - “For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.”
However a Godly sorrow has a different effect upon the heart of man. First of all, Godly sorrow is not a product of circumstances, as I said earlier, it is a product of God. God is the one who places his hand upon your heart so that you feel the weight of your sins before a Holy God. There are several verses that express this reality. One example is when Peter is preaching to the Sanhedrin, a group that did not appear to feel any grief for their actions
- Acts 5:29-31- “But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. 30The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. 31God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.”
- Acts 11:18 – “When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”
- 2 Timothy 2:24-26 – “And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.”
Having said that, we must recognize that this gift, at times, comes through the instruments of his servants. When evil is on display, the role of the servant of the Lord is to gently correct, not to ignore the sin. It is through this correction that God's spirit may or may not blow into the person's life.
Servant's of the Lord
One fantastic example of this involves David himself in 2 Samuel 12, when the Prophet Nathan confronts David of his sin with Bathsheba.
- 2 Samuel 12:1-6 - “And the LORD sent Nathan to David. He came to him and said to him, “There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. 2The rich man had very many flocks and herds, 3but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. And he brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children. It used to eat of his morsel and drink from his cup and lie in his arms,a and it was like a daughter to him. 4Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the guest who had come to him, but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.” 5Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the LORD lives, the man who has done this deserves to die, 6and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.” 7Nathan said to David, “You are the man!”
Cornerstone, we are Nathan. We have been sent into this world to cry out repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand. In the midst of evil and sin that so greatly surrounds us, we must not ignore it, but with gentleness correct the sinner, in hopes that God would give them a heart of repentance.
Without Godly grief, no one will find life. Repentance must occur before the truth of Christ can be received. So often Christians, due to their timidity, or lack of Biblical knowledge leave out the need for repentance when sharing the gospel. They leave out the wrath and judgment of God that hangs above the sinner. When you do this, disciples are not made, Judases are.
Let us be like John the Baptist who was sent to preach repentance, not the health and wealth Gospel. Let us heed the call and preach the true Gospel, let us be like Nathan who loved God and loved David enough to tell him the truth.