Psalm 6: God’s Help and Judgment: Now and Then

Psalm 6

A psalm of someone in deep trouble. This much is clear.

6:1: “O Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath.”

But what is not clear is whether the psalmist believes his troubles are from the actions and spiritual warfare of evil people or from the Lord himself. For verse one is a plea to God not to discipline him in his anger or wrath, thus crediting God for his hard times, while verse seven and eight point to the work of evildoers. Both can cause a person to experience demanding situations. But, of course, one–that caused by wicked people–is meant for harm, while the other–caused by God–will work for good in the sufferer’s life.

Paul experienced both of these and describes them thus:

“It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death” (Ph. 1:15-20).

God does allow his servants, at times, to suffer at the hands of the devil’s servants. This is for their strengthening in faith and other good purposes. Even the evil that evildoers do is restricted to certain limits by God and he uses it for his own purposes.

“The Lord works out everything for his own ends–even the wicked for a day of disaster. The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished” (Ps. 15:4,5).

But just what is this agonizing trial afflicting the psalmist? Verse two points to a phyical or bodily affliction.

6:2: “Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am faint; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are in agony.”

But verse three then switches to his soul being in anguish.

6:3: “My soul is in anguish. How long, O Lord, how long?”

This does not, however, preclude bodily affliction, for certainly one’s soul (mind, will, and emotions) feels the effects of whatever touches the body. All the more so when that affliction continues over time. But whether long or short in duration, when we suffer, we just want to be free from the pain. So the psalmist cries out to God for deliverance.

6:4: “Turn, O Lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love.”

The psalmist does not claim that God should heal him because of any merit on his part but solely because of God’s great mercy. The psalmist requests healing and deliverance not on the basis of who he is–a good person–but on the basis of who God is–the God of unfailing love.

Nevertheless, to strengthen further his plea, he reminds God that only the living can praise him in this world.

6:5: “No one remembers you when he is dead. Who praises you from the grave?”

Here we see an indication of the seriousness of his trial: He thinks he may die from it. Another indication of the intensity of his suffering is found in the next verse. This is a serious situation.

6:6: “I am worn out from groaning; all night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears.”

Then, in verse seven, we see again a hint of what is causing him such severe testing; and again, he refers not just to physical affliction but to the attacks of his enemies:

6:7: “My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes.”

But suddenly, in verse eight, light breaks through. He knows that God has heard his prayers and he takes courage. Therefore he boldly speaks out against those who wish his downfall and death.

6:8: “Away from me, all you who do evil, for the Lord has heard my weeping.”

Whereas before, he felt weak and on the verge of being defeated by his enemies, now, because the Lord has heard his plea for help, he is strong enough to pronounce his enemies’ defeat: Depart from me.

The words of this verse go far beyond the psalmist’s current situation. They look forward to the time of final things, when Jesus will pronounce a similar sentence upon all who opposed him, just as the psalmist’s enemies opposed him:

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels'” (Mt. 25:41).

6:9: “The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer.”

This is the difference between the two main characters in this psalm, the psalmist and those who attack him. The psalmist cries out to God for mercy and deliverance, humbly beseeching him to act out his unfailing love (v. 4). And the Lord answers that prayer offered in faith and humility.

But the Lord rejects those who refuse to humble themselves before him and even dare to attack his servant. For them there will be no mercy and they will only hear the terrifying declaration of judgment upon them because they refused God’s offer of mercy and love during their allotted time on earth.

6:10: “All my enemies will be ashamed and dismayed; they will turn back in sudden disgrace.”

These final words of the psalm apply not only to the psalmist’s situation but to that which will exist at the final conditions of the end of this world. Then all God’s enemies will be ashamed and dismayed and turned back from him and his abode in heaven in disgrace.

“He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed” (2 Ths. 1:8-10).

These are the two destinies of the two types of people in this world: everlasting destruction or everlasting glory. Both are seen in this psalm that holds hope and comfort for God’s people who suffer in this world, that they will find deliverance not only from their current trial but also final deliverance for all who entrust their bodies and souls to the One who created them. So the psalm hides within it matters of far greater portent than may at first be evident. Praise the Lord that he hides himself yet reveals himself to all who will humble themselves and look to him for all that is needed, in this life and the next.

What do YOU think?



  1. lookingforhope2011 says:

    This Psalm and many others have been a blessing to others me in my own battles.

    • Annette1016 says:

      Have you gotten down and asked the lord if there is something you have missed or done wrong have you made a wrong turn somewhere to see why this has not changed in so long or gotten better? It may be something so simple that you have just not seen or done? Just a thought! Love in Christ Jesus, Your sis, Annette

      • lookingforhope2011 says:

        You ever felt like your against a brick wall just spinning your wheels?. I do a lot!

        • Annette1016 says:

          DID THAT COME OFF SOUNDING LIKE YOU HAVENT TRIED ANYTHING? I know you have done more than you can think of! I meant it like a suggestion, my mind is just thinking so quickly that it came out sounding judgemental. too bad we just dont have the right kind of vehicle to make you climb over that wall! I bet a part of you wanted to smash my face into a wall for what I just said! For all this time, I have told you Hold on, trust in the lord you need to have faith you are someone to the lord! And during this whole time the devil has wasted not one second trying to convince you that you are worthless, good for nothing, that everyone would be better off with out you! You wife said I dont Love you, but she has not left! I even told you how I feel for you, and you are a faithful man! Now Greg, what more do you need to prove that God Loves you? That you are here for a very Good reason that you have been Going through these trials But you are going to come out of them stronger in your Faith! Yes you have this Wall in front of you, but what did Joshua do when he faught the battle of Jericho? I know it has felt like nothing good can ever happen again, but we have good tidings of Great Joy, remember! I will pray for you to find your peace that surpasses all understanding and your joy! good night! In The Lord Annette

      • childofjesus says:

        Dear Annie & Greg,
        I know both of you care for each other and I don’t have to tell it, you both know it. This is the time to uplift Greg in our prayers, he has seen lot of tough days with his friends/dear ones leaving him in this trial. We as brothers & sisters in Christ should offer our encouragement, hope and love to each other. Our Father, above is sufficient to carry us all safely in His Loving Arms. Let us trust Him completely.

        • lookingforhope2011 says:

          Its shameful im just replying back to the post! Forgive me. When I said spinning my wheels, I was referring to all the praying, fasting, crying, repenting, renouncing, forgiving, etc, that has been done not only by me, but many of you also, and yet the battle intensifies even more,! Makes a person feel like maybe there’s something blocking me from the blessing. A missed curse I never renounced, someone I didn’t forgive, someone I could of offended, etc, . But when my thoughts are off of me, and on Jesus, I know its a nasty trick of the devil and its not true. But when the down times come. Sometimes I dwell too much on fiction, and not enough on fact! I read the end of the Bible….We Win! In Jesus Name, We win!. But somedays, its hard to hold on to that when your being blasted from every angle possible, and those you think were never possible!. Make sense??

          • Back in 1982, I had problems with anxiety due to some medications I took. When a person suffers from anxiety, it can make that person feel like he or she is going to die. It is a very uncomfortable and unpleasant feeling. It will eventually pass. But, while one is going through it, it is terrible. The anxiety flushes diminished after about a year. At first it affected my digestive track and it was hard to eat anything. I had to make myself eat. I lost from 120 lbs. to 105 lbs. I knew I could not keep this up. One day as I was walking down the hall of our house, something said to me in my mind or in my spirit, “Brenda, you’ve got to turn around and go the other way.” I knew what that meant. I decided that day to dwell on the positive instead of the negative. Negative can kill.

            I had several test run on me. The only thing that showed up was that I was low on iron. I figured out over the years that the low iron was part of my problem and may have been why my body reacted to the medications as it did. There are a few things I will pass on to those who may be low on iron. Get something done about it. It can wreak havoc on your body. It can affect your oxygen level, cause a rapid pulse rate, and even affect your blood sugar. That info is free.

            Besides thinking positive, I learned uplifting Bible verses, such as “What time I am afraid I will trust in thee” (Psalm 56:3). In addition, I started thanking God for everything no matter how insignificant. I had to make myself leave the house to go to the store. I prayed and talked to myself all the way up and back from the store. I would tell myself this, “If God can be with you at the house He can be with you out here.”

            Luckily, I had a nice neighbor to call on if I needed someone to distract me from my feelings. Also, my parents were close enough that they could come if I called them. Lots of weekends we went to their house. So, family support is needed in times of difficulty. Try to stay on good terms with your family, if possible.

            Find something you enjoy doing. I love to play the piano. At the time this incident happened to me, I didn’t have one. When my sweet husband got our income tax refund back that year he bought my Grandmother Patterson’s old time, upright baby grand piano. She had passed away earlier that year and my Mom sold it to us. It took almost all of our income tax refund. He did that just to help me recover. Many a time I sat at that piano and played and cried.

            One final thing. One night I woke up. And, as I was waking up this Bible verse came to my mind: “The just shall walk by faith not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). I knew that God was telling me that I was going to have to walk through this trial by faith. Anyone who has done that knows that it is not always easy. I didn’t know how it was going to turn out, nor how long it would last. Thirty years later and I am still here, thanks to the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

            I have said all of this to comfort you in your time of trial. To tell you, you can get through it. Keep clinging to Jesus. Don’t give up on yourself and don’t give up on Him. Sometimes we don’t know what He is doing, but He does.

          • Annette1016 says:

            sunrise, we have been lifting him up in prayer for nearly a year and the breakthrough should be coming soon! We have never not one Day stopped praying for Greg and his family! Shanta and I have in fact become prayer partner because of him spacifically! He helped us become close as sisters and to pray and intercede for many others! I believe that God did Not make him to suffer through all of this without learning something! MY trust and faith are totally in the lord! I know that by the GRACE OF GOD our DEAR brother Greg is going to come out of this by the skin of his teeth but Bolder stronger and oh The power of the HOLY SPIRIT of GOD in him will help and inspire those around him! Yes he is down but not out! I keep telling him to put on his armor and fight this fight and he has believe me he has! He has had family basically say curse God and die! But No HE WILL NOT. He is looking to God and we are doing our best to lift him up and I fear I have failed my brother! Yet I will continue to pray for him and ask for Deliverance for him! For we all know here How God provides! And I honestly tell him to remember God gave us each a measure of faith and that sounds like way more than a mustard seed to me and we should all be moving pleanty of mountains! Amen! I just keep praying and believing and proclaiming and waiting on the lord! He will be there when the time is right and not one second too soon! Love, your sis in Christ Annette

  2. Annette1016 says:

    Has anyone heard about a man being crucified for leaving the muslim religion and becoming a Christian in Egypt? Something to do with this Shariah Law that I was asking about. I know very little about that law, or belief, yet many go around thinking that they are doing God a favor by murdering. How many people think its ok to kill? I just do not understand it, why repay wrong with wrong? Does it truely make you even? Each life is unique and valued differently, I have 2 daughters, and the loss of either would be devestating and neither one are replaceable. I just never will understand how anyone can be thrown away so easily! The society we are living in. Has been calling Good evil and Evil Good for far too long! Oh dear dear family, we seriously need to keep our first Love Alive And our Hearts on fire with his Word and anchored firmly into our rock of Ages! For he is truely our only Hope! love and prayers always, your sis Annette

  3. childofjesus says:

    This psalm is a great consolation for believers. The psalmist pleads to the Lord, not to discipline him in anger. In psalm 23:4, David says your rod and your staff comfort me. Sometimes, the Lord uses hard ways to teach His Ways. His Unfailing Love saves us. It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.(Lam. 3:22)

    The psalmist declares boldly in verse 8, that it is because the Lord has heard his prayers that the evil ones cannot destroy him. He tells them their destiny in verse 10.

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