Psalm 6 - A Journey From Desperation to Hope

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

psalm 6

I have to admit that the book of Psalms can be very difficult to read at times. David was a very complex young man. We know he was an artist who wrote hundreds of worship songs. He was a deep thinker who felt deeply about things. He spent a good portion of his early life alone, wandering the countryside as he watched his father's flocks. A large part of the Psalms were written in this setting. In case you don't know it, artistic types thrive on isolation. They tend to be introverted and if given the choice, would rather be by themselves. They are prone to depression and anxiety, fueled by loneliness. They are misunderstood and often criticized.

For those who tend to be extroverted or seldom struggle with depression or anxiety, the Psalms can be difficult because you cannot relate to them much. Your thought processes and emotions are on a completely different plane than David's. For those like David, the Psalms can also be hard to read because you can relate to them and it just reminds you of your own personal struggles. But either way, the Psalms bring light and hope for us. The key is you have to understand that they always bring us to the place of truth in the reality of who God is, his love and faithfulness for us, and how that transforms the way we think, act and feel. David never simply pours out his heart to God and leaves it at that. He always allows the truth to transcend how he feels. That is key for us as we deal with our emotions, feelings and circumstances.

Psalm 6 is an excellent example. From a psychological standpoint, this chapter reveals a man who is, at best, clinically depressed. He is possibly experiencing a full-scale panic attack. He is feeling completely overwhelmed and even talks about death. He wonders if God really loves him. These are all beginning to manifest physical symptoms in his body. His bones ache. He is physically weak and he has bouts of uncontrollable weeping. This is far from how we think a King should act. In today's church culture he would be accused of not having faith or had sin in his life. Some might say he was demon possessed. Others would simply just avoid him because he was just too difficult to deal with. All of this would just add to his struggle.

If you struggle with any of the above, whether at the same level or perhaps just slightly, David's life gives us hope that we don't ever have to be subject to our circumstances, our emotions or how we feel. The last three verses in Psalm 6 are the key to this. As David pours out his anguish before God he then rehearses the truth about him. He remembers three important things about him:
  • He always hears us when we call out to him (v. 8)
  • He always answers us when we pray (v. 9)
  • He always turns back our shame on our enemy (v. 19)
Though we can't physically see it, we have to believe it anyway. Those things that are pressing against us may not turn back right away, but wait for it. It will come in God's time. Don't let your feelings, emotions and circumstances dictate how you feel. Let the truth about God dictate how you feel. David teaches us that when we struggle with our faith, emotions, feelings or circumstances the key is to verbally rehearse these three truths about God. Our circumstances may not change but I guarantee you that your feelings and emotions will change as a result.

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