Read: Psalm 6; 2 Samuel 11 – 12; Psalm 51
Rabbinical tradition claims that David wrote this psalm while bed-ridden with a terrible illness; one tradition identifies the illness with a thirteen–year period of emotional and physical suffering that followed the incident with Bathsheba.
Think About It: The Bible makes no mention of a long period of illness following David’s sin with Bathsheba. How did David plan to deal with his sin before it was exposed and he humbled himself in repentance? What were some of the consequences of David’s sin – both before and after his repentance? Have I ever thought about giving in to temptation because “it’s not a big deal“? Why is sin always a “big deal“? What’s the “pay-off” for committing sin? (Romans 6:23).
Prayer: Lord, help me to remember the consequences of sin when I face temptation.
Read: Psalm 6:1; Deuteronomy 29:23; Revelation 8:7, 16:21; Psalm 103:8; 1 Thessalonians 1:10
References to the wrath of God describe in terms of human emotion how God feels about sin, because God is holy and rejects everything that is not holy.
Think About It: What are some of the ways God manifests His wrath? God is slow to anger – but what makes Him angry? Is the concept of God’s wrath widely accepted or widely rejected today? What are the practical consequences (for example, when 100 pound hailstones start falling) for people who don’t believe in the wrath of God?
A: Thank God for deliverance by grace through faith from the wrath to come.
Read: Psalm 6:2, 3, 6, 7; Psalm 13:1 – 2; Psalm 35:16; Psalm 79:5; Psalm 42:3
David describes carefully and at some length his suffering in this relatively short Psalm.
Think About It: What are the terms David uses to describe his suffering? What aspects of the suffering were physical? What aspects were emotional and psychological? What aspects were spiritual? Can I identify with any of David’s descriptions? What type of suffering troubles me the most?
Prayer: How long, O Lord? When will deliverance come?
Read: Psalm 6:1, 2, 4; Hebrews 12:5 – 11; Psalm 51; James 4:8 – 10
David was aware that his actions deserved a response of wrath; his prayer is that the deserved rebuke and discipline not be unleashed with destructive wrath. The repentant sinner can confidently hope for discipline that is constructive and strengthening (Hebrews 12:5 – 11). If David in this Psalm does not deal specifically with repentance, it may be because he had already done that (Psalm 51); Psalm 6 deals with the aftermath of sorrow over sin and the results of God’s discipline, which is never pleasant.
Think About It: What request does David make in Psalm 6:2? Does this mean that all sickness is the direct result of sin? What request does David make in Psalm 6:4? From what did David want God to turn? What do we know about how God works that is an encouragement should we find ourselves in a situation like David’s (James 4:8 – 10)?
Prayer: Praise the Lord that He is gracious and willing to draw close to the repentant sinner.
Read: Psalm 6:4, 5; Psalm 31:16; Psalm 109:26; Luke 18:10 – 14; Psalm 115:17
David based his request for relief from God’s wrath and anger on God’s “steadfast love” – in Hebrew chesed, a word also translated lovingkindness, or mercy. David knew he had no basis in personal righteousness to call on God, and so he based his request on the nature of God. Jesus taught that effective prayer requires this attitude of humility (Luke 18:10 – 14).
Think About It: The Sadducees based their lack of belief in the resurrection on passages like Psalm 6:5. David, however, certainly believed in eternal life (Psalm 23:6). The meaning of Psalm 6:5 is simply another basis for David’s request for deliverance: he wants to live in order to praise God in the land of the living. The dead provide no audible witness to the living of God’s mercy and love. One reason why God gives us breath is to praise Him and testify about Him to others. Am I being a good steward of the living breath God has given me?
Prayer: Lord, help me to praise you, while I have breath!
Read: Psalm 6:8, 9; Romans 8:26 – 27; Romans 8:34
Like many of the psalms of David, Psalm 6 turns the corner from despair to hope. David recognized in v. 8 that the Lord had heard the sound of his weeping, which was evidence of the sincerity of David’s repentance, and in v. 9 David rejoiced that the Lord heard his plea and accepted his prayer.
Think About It: Based on Romans 8:26 – 27 and 34, on what basis can I be confident that the Lord hears and accepts my prayers? How is my situation in prayer one of even greater assurance and confidence than that of David? Given this privileged position in prayer, why shouldn’t I just sin with impunity (Hebrews 10:29 – 30; Romans 6:1 – 7)?
Prayer: Praise the Lord for hearing and accepting my prayers.
Read: Psalm 6:8, 10
As a result of his prayer, David felt relief from the threat of God’s wrath and immediately sensed that the threat from his enemies was lifted, as they were put to shame when they saw God’s favor on him.
Think About It: As with Psalms 4 and 5, the resolution regarding David’s enemies may be found in the defeat of Absalom’s rebellion, or of course it may refer to other incidents not recorded in history. The Psalms also have a prophetic, messianic element. How might this psalm apply to Jesus, in reference to His work of atonement and His resurrection? When did Jesus bear the wrath of God? When were His enemies turned back and put to shame in a moment? What is one important lesson from Psalm 6 that I want to remember and live by?
Prayer: Thank you, Lord Jesus, for bearing the full brunt of God’s wrath in my place.