Seeking the Undeserved | Psalm 6:1–3
To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments; according to The Sheminith. A Psalm of David.
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?
We’re not certain when David penned this, but he’s clearly sorrowful. He faces enemies at a point of personal weakness, and he’s riddled with guilt. He writes that it should be played according to “The Sheminith,” possibly meaning that it would be sung in a lower octave with bass voices. Whatever the case, his words droop low like his languishing spirit. With his bones aching and his soul vexed, he cries out to the Lord.
His appeal comes with humility and confession before the covenant-keeping LORD. He doesn’t pray, “Why are You angry?” David knows what he’s done—regardless of whether this psalm refers to his adulterous relationship with Bathsheba or some other sin. David doesn’t claim not to deserve discipline or rebuke, nor does he ask for it never to come. He beseeches the Lord not to chastise him in anger and wrath—not to punish him utterly, though he deserves it.
Instead, he prays for that which he doesn’t deserve: grace. He requests healing for the physiological effects of his sorrow. There are physical issues related to worry and sleeplessness, especially because of guilt over sin, and he’s sick to the point of death. David seeks restoration—both physically and spiritually.
We are always doing better than we deserve. There are times, though, that the Lord lays a heavy yoke around our necks to draw us away from our current paths. Sometimes, loving parents need to chastise with a heavy hand so that the lesson is memorable and so that children are prepared for life to come. Even so, someone must bear the full weight of our sin—and that is why God sent His Son.
Seek the Lord quickly and honestly regarding your sin. God allows us to experience guilt so that we know our need for repentance. Even so, we sometimes experience it needlessly. We can find forgiveness if we seek the Lord, as well as some measure of restoration. We may continue to rightly struggle under the consequences of our sins, but because of God’s grace, we may have some of those effects lessened.