John T. Willis

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Lord answers prayer--Psalm 6

Like many psalms, the composer of Psalm 6 is confronted with threatening enemies. He turns to God in prayer, and the Lord answers his prayer and delivers him from his enemies. Psalm 6 naturally falls into two parts.

I. An ancient psalmist faces terrors. Psalm 6:1-5.
    a. The superscription of Psalm 6 reads: "To the leader; with stringed instruments; according to Sheminith. A Psalm of David." It is very doubtful that the superscriptions of the psalms are original. The meaning of the statement "according to Sheminith" is unclear. Scholars have proposed several possibilities, but no one knows for certainty what this means.
    b. The psalmist addresses Yahweh in the second person. He beseeches Yahweh not to rebuke him in Yahweh's anger or discipline him in his wrath. He begs Yahweh to be gracious to him because he is languishing. He implores Yahweh to heal him, because his bones are shaking with terror. This expression probably has to do with the danger of his enemies, as verses 7-10 suggest. He feels that Yahweh has not responded as quickly as the psalmist wished. 6:1-3.
   c. The psalmist continues asking Yahweh to save his life and deliver him for the sake of Yahweh's steadfast love. The psalmist wants to continue to praise Yahweh, but he cannot do this if his enemies kill him and put him in death or Sheol. 6:4-5.

II. The psalmist defies his enemies, and receives Yahweh's gracious deliverance. Psalm 6:6-10.
     a. The psalmist explains that he is weary with moaning; every night he floods his bed with tears or drenches his couch with weeping. His eyes waste away because of grief and grow weak BECAUSE OF HIS FOES. 6:6-7.
     b. The psalmist sharply turns to his enemies face-on. Defiantly, he cries out: "Depart from me, all you workers of evil," because Yahweh has heard my weeping. Yahweh has heard his supplication and accepted his prayer. 6:8-9.
     c. Finally, the psalmist declares to his audience that all his enemies shall be ashamed and struck with terror; they shall turn back, and in a moment be put to shame. What the psalmist had feared now receives his enemies' fear and terror. 6:10.

This is the way God always works. Ungodly people mistreat innocent godly people. For a time, it appears that the ungodly will prevail. But this never happens. God always intervenes and delivers the godly from the ungodly.

Share YOUR insights and shortcomings and weaknesses and ideas and experiences with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis


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