Short Meditations in Psalms: 6.1 I’m in trouble!
Psa 6:1 O LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath.
Reading the psalms is like dipping into a bran tub at a fair; you’re never quite sure what you are going to come up with. Sometimes David starts off with praise or thanksgiving or worship. Other times he anguishes. There are Christians who talk of living ‘the victorious Christian life’ and, yes, that is good and right and proper to speak about but it often fails to be realistic because I can guarantee that whoever the Christian is, there will be down times, times of struggle, times where you wonder where the Lord is. Be realistic, those times will come and yes, the reality is that the Lord will be there for you. He will never leave you nor forsake you and His grace will always be sufficient, but sometimes it takes a while to get it!
David, we have seen in other psalms is completely confident in God and he knows who He is, and so He knows He is a holy God and he, David, isn’t always holy. He knows the instinctive reaction of the Lord to sin is anger and when it builds, wrath (which is just strong anger that has an enduring sense about it). So, yes, the Lord does get angry but never without a cause and His anger, unlike ours, is never out of control and is simply a trigger to say that something is wrong and needs dealing with.
Now if you read the whole of this psalm you will see that David never in it actually details why he is down, why he is feeling like this but sometimes that is how it is in life. We feel down, we feel a failure, and we may even feel guilty because of feeling a failure – for no identifiable reason, simply because physically we are down and subsequently (because they are linked) emotionally we feel down. We may not be a failure, we may not be guilty of any specific sin, but we just feel it. I’m afraid that IS one of the downsides of being a human being. Our emotions go up and down.
At this point David feels like he is a prime candidate for being slapped by the Lord. He’s not focussing on the God of goodness and blessing and kindness, but the God who is righteous and holy and who brings discipline or judgment. David just feels he cannot handle that, he feels so down: “O LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath.”
In this down feeling so often we just focus on what feels like the negative side of our relationship with the Lord, the side of failure and correction and correction is often painful. This is a real side of life but it is almost certainly a minor side of life, something that rarely happens, so don’t let your emotions rule you; declare the truth and praise Him.