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.
In this psalm, it appears that David has done something worth penitence. This is the first penitential psalm (the others being Psalms 25, 32, 57, 125:1-2, and 130). David’s soul is deeply troubled; he is calling out to God in great agony. Three-fourths of this psalm involves David expressing that his very soul is in anguish over his sin. He is so troubled that he becomes depressed (v. 2a).
I wonder how many of us can relate to David’s anguish. Have you ever developed so much self-loathing over a sin you’ve committed? That no matter how many times you’ve repented, your soul is still in anguish over this sin? I certainly have. When I lost my virginity, I languished for a long time. Premarital sex was a personal oath I vowed to God to never commit, yet I did it anyway. Not only that, but I also became addicted to pornography. With those two things coupled together, I suffered with extreme self-loathing. I lived in those sins for a while, and after a time I finally came to my senses and repented; but I still deeply hated myself.
Like David, my soul was in anguish in spite of my repentance. Like David, I beseeched, “Be gracious to me, O God, for I hate myself. Heal me, for I am deeply troubled. My soul is in anguish. How long, O God, will this feeling last?” I knew God forgave me, but I couldn’t understand why. My thought process was: “How can God love me and forgive me for such a great sin? Especially since I’m going to be a pastor?”
This continued for a year or so until, finally, I couldn’t take it any longer. Like David in this psalm, I was sick of my deeply anguished soul and cried out to God to heal me. In short, my prayer went something like this: “Lord, I know You forgive me, but why? I hate myself! I’ve done a terrible deed. Please, God, please change my heart. Please show me Your peace.” Soon after that, God brought to my attention three specific verses in His Word that are still at the forefront of my mind every day. The verses exposed my reliance on works rather than on His grace. Here are the three verses:
Proverbs 28:13, Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.
2 Timothy 2:13, If we are faithless, He remains faithful—for He cannot deny Himself.
1 John 1:8-9, If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, God who is faithful and just, will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
If you’re languishing from any sin and self-hatred as a result, I pray and hope these words from God help you as they’ve helped me and continue to do so. Like David, I called out to God for forgiveness and deliverance, as I still do nearly every day. Hell (Sheol) is eternal separation from God; no one can praise Him there. I thank God that He sent His only Son to die for our sins, reconciling us to God, never to be severed from Him.
I was similar to David in my crying out for forgiveness and deliverance, but unlike him, I did not have the faith that God actually heard me and accepted my prayer; at least, not until He revealed to me the above three verses. In spite of his deep anguish, David had so much faith and confidence in God that he commanded all forces of evil to leave him. He had the faith and confidence that God heard his prayer and accepted it and would therefore deliver him from his anguish. At the end of his conversation with God, he left with the faith and confidence that God would be who He is: gracious and merciful. David knew that his anguish would end not with his shame, but with the shame of his enemies—the wicked.
We ought to have the same faith and confidence that David had, because the God he prayed to is the same God of today. If God can deliver David from his deep anguish, He can certainly do so with ours today. As God’s children, we can rest assured that God hears and accepts our prayers, especially when we’re distraught and call out to Him, for He will console us. God’s will for us is not that we be shamed, but that we be sanctified (1 Thessalonians 4:3).
Psalm 6 Prayer
Father, I know I’ve done wrong, but deal with me not in wrath, but as Your child in Your mercy. I am in anguish, O Lord. I need Your healing; I need Your consolation. Deliver me from this sin, O Lord. [Feel free to communicate your sin to Him and tell Him how you feel. Prayer is having conversation with Him, after all.] Thank You for saving me from eternal death through the grace of Your Son. In the name of Jesus I pray, amen.
Garrick Sinclair "Ricky" Beckett first started his Christian writing on a blog titled "The Lutheran Column" where he hires proficient Lutheran writers to convey biblical truth. Along with the blog, he also writes poetry, string quartets in music composition, enjoys doing photography, reading, and playing video games. Ricky is a graduate from Concordia University-Ann Arbor from the Pre-Seminary program with a major in Christian Thought and a minor in Theological Languages. Currently, Ricky is a seminarian at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis as he works on his Masters of Divinity to become a pastor in the LCMS (Lutheran Church Missouri Synod).
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