Short Meditations in Psalms: 6.4 God’s love, a lifeline
Psa 6:4 Turn, O LORD, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love.
I immediately have a picture as I read this verse of David in trouble in the street and God walking along the pavement on the other side, and David calls across, “Lord, please help me,” and when God doesn’t appear to hear, David calls, “Help me because of your love for me,” and God turns immediately and comes across.
We’ve pondered on the fact that David is feeling bad and we’re not totally certain the cause of it, whether it be physical in origin or spiritual or moral, but whatever it is he feels really bad and says he is in anguish. What he does is call on the Lord. He first asked Him not to chide him but be merciful to him and then asked how long he was going to have to endure this. Now he calls the Lord to do two things.
First “Turn, O Lord.” It rather implies, “Lord, please turn away from whatever else you are doing and give me all your attention.” It is a call to be the focus of the Lord’s attention. Next he says, “and deliver me”, i.e. get me out of this mess, out of this feeling of anguish that I have, out of whatever it is causing all this feeling.
Isn’t that, so often, what we are asking God to do for us – get us out of bad circumstances? However, I have to say that something I have seen in scripture is that God may deliver out of or through the circumstances. ‘Out of’ means somehow he completely changes the circumstances so we no longer have to contend with them. ‘Through’ means He changes us to be able to go through the circumstances and cope with them.
But the crucial issue is will God do this thing? So often we know He can but does He want to, is the question. So David appeals to the Lord’s nature. David knows the Lord is a God of love; the psalms are full of it (e.g. Psa 13;5, 17:7, 21;7 etc. etc.) and the testimony of Israel was full of it (e.g. Ex 15:13, 20:6, 34:6,7). Love involves compassion and care and desire for the wellbeing of others, and David knows that. He knows that this is what God is like and so he can appeal to that.
Have you ever thought of the other side of the coin of the conversation between Jesus and Peter in Jn 21? Jesus: do you know I love you? Lord I know you love me. Peter, do you really know I love you? Of course Lord I know you really love me. Peter, do you really and truly know I love you? Love you know I really and truly know you love me. Why do I ask that and put it like that? Because “We love because he first loved us.” (1 Jn 4:19) At the heart of who we are is to be this knowledge – that we are loved. David knew that and could appeal to God to help on that basis. Do you really and truly know you are loved?