Short Meditations in Psalms: 6.3 Soul Anguish
Psa 6:3 My soul is in anguish. How long, O LORD, how long?
In verse 2 we saw David’s anguish over his physical state: “my bones are in agony,” but now we see that this anguish he speaks about goes far deeper than a mere physical pain: “My soul is in anguish.”
We often struggle with trying to understand the distinctions found in scripture between body and soul and spirit. Well ‘body’ is easy, it is the physical side of us, sometimes referred to as ‘flesh and bones’. It is what is left when a person dies.
Whereas ‘spirit’ can refer to breath or wind in scripture, our spirit is usually taken to be the part of us that is a receptor of spiritual matters. If you dissect a body you will never find the spirit and yet experience clearly shows that something within us picks up spiritual activity.
Now the soul is somewhere between the other two. It is usually regarded as the immortal or personal part of the person and is credited with the functions of thinking and willing, and hence determining all behavior. The soul determines the person, is what makes the person unique, and forms their personality. It is the inner region of a person, that is the person that continues on after the body dies (see Rev 6:9 & 20:4) again not found by physical dissection but clearly identified in the words of the scriptures.
It is in this inner area of David’s being where he now anguishes. This seems much more than merely feeling hurt or in pain which are things focusing on the physical side of his life. No, this is a deeper anguish. Very often when the body is weak, the emotions sag as well, for there is a link between physical and emotions, but emotions can be stirred up or down by what we sense in either our soul or our spirit. Working together the two can impart to us a sense that all is not well, and if it is the spirit energizing the soul, it is coming from heaven, a sense that all is not right spiritually.
Have you ever heard people speaking about divine guidance talking about an inner disquiet. We may have no rational reason for feeling like that but it is simply God communicating His will through our spirit. But we can also pick up the vibes of the enemy, if we put it like that, a disquiet when we may find ourselves in the presence of a witch or a warlock. Or it may be more general, when a community is turning away from God and the Holy Spirit within us anguishes over what is happening or being said.
When David senses this sort of thing, the anguish of feeling that flows through his soul, imparted by the Spirit through his spirit, he turns his anguish to prayer and cries out to the Lord and asks the question that is always there – how long will this have to carry on, Lord?