“O Lord, do not rebuke me in Your anger, Nor chasten me in Your hot displeasure. Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am weak; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are troubled” (Psalm 6:1-2).
In Psalm 6 we are not told exactly what had happened that caused David the grief he was feeling. It appears David had sinned and believed God was chastening him for it. It also seems the chastening of David was severe as David’s enemies were threatening his life. He feels death door is near: “For in death there is no remembrance of You; in the grave who will give you thanks” (Psalm 6:5).
David is tormented with guilt over his sin. David cries out to God to “have mercy on me” for “I am weak” (Psalm 6:2). I can certainly relate to the guilt I feel over my sin. All of us have sinned (Romans 3:23). Contrary to the opinion of many in the world, feeling guilt over sin is a good thing. It shows our consciences have not become seared to embracing sinful behavior (1 Timothy 4:2). From the beginning of time, men and women have experienced feelings of guilt when they have sinned against God. Adam and Eve felt guilt when they ate the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3:3, 6-8) and so should we when we realize we have violated one of God’s laws. Praise God that he allows me to experience the guilt of sin so that I will desire to want to repent and turn back to Him!
While feeling guilt is a good mechanism God has given us to turn us back to Him, the pain of guilt can be very severe. Notice how great David’s feelings of guilt were. He was troubled to the bone: “O Lord, heal me, for my bones are troubled” (Psalm 6:3). His guilt affected his sleep: “I am weary with my groaning; all night I make my bed swim; I drench my couch with my tears” (Psalm 6:6). He literally wore himself out crying over it: “My eye wastes away because of grief” (Psalm 6:7). I sure can relate to David as I think of many occasions in my own life where I have had trouble sleeping and wore myself out crying over the guilt of my own sin! Can you?
What did David do with these feelings of guilt over his sin? He turned them over to God. He cried out to God in prayer. He pled with God to have mercy on him: “Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am weak” (Psalm 6:2). He asked God to return to him and save him from these enemies he was now facing: “Return, O Lord, deliver me! Oh, save me for Your mercies' sake!” (Psalm 6:4). David did not keep these feeling of guilt all bottled up inside and continue to torment himself forever over them like some do today. He gave them over to God. He realized they were too heavy for him to bear!
God heard David. With great confidence and peace David realizes God has forgiven him of his sin and he lets go the load of guilt he had borne: “Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity; For the Lord has heard the voice of my weeping. The Lord has heard my supplication; The Lord will receive my prayer” (Psalm 6:8-9). Now it was time for David’s enemies to be troubled as God who had forgiven him would give him victory over them: “Let all my enemies be ashamed and greatly troubled; let them turn back and be ashamed suddenly” (Psalm 6:10). David could not greatly rejoice in God’s forgiveness.
Today, I rejoice that I can still feel guilt when I sin. Although it is painful to experience, I praise God that my heart has not grown so hard that I can no longer feel guilt. I also praise God I can take those feelings of guilt to Him. I can repent and release those feelings of guilt to Him and He is willing to bear them for me. Today, I will live rejoicing in His forgiveness of my sin!
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace (Ephesians 1:7).