The Book of Psalms Chapter Six Commentary by
Pastor Ron Beckham
When Fear Becomes Faith
Verse 1: "O Lord, do not rebuke me in Your anger, nor chasten me in Your wrath." This Psalm contains the lyrics to a song written by David the king of Israel. In these times, movie stars, musicians and other performers are studied and copied by people everywhere. Such men and women are practically worshipped by adoring "fans." Historically, however, that has not been the case. Entertainers were mostly financially poor individuals and often, if they were good at what they did, such people were enslaved by local royalists and forced to perform. Until very recent times, it was the royals themselves who were studied and copied by adoring subjects. David was a "star" in Israel. He certainly had rough times and you can note today how quickly people will turn against a fallen idol. If you have ever regretted that you are not some famous person, take note of these verses. It's not all fun to be at the top. David had an advantage that most famous people do not have—he had faith in the Lord. He made mistakes, he regretted them and understood that the Lord uses corrective measures upon those who deviate from God's will. But he also knew that when he called out to God, the Lord heard him—and that same God hears you and me. The Lord will rebuke, chasten, but also bless His people.
Verse 2: "Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am pining away; heal me, O Lord, for my bones are dismayed." David had been an obscure shepherd boy until the Lord reached into his life and set him on the road to becoming a king. His dreams, if he even dreamed about such things—they came true, but dreams can become nightmares, and that that was happened to him. He sought the grace of God, looking for it in the right way—he prayed in faith to the Lord, the One who is all-knowing, all-powerful, and hears the prayers of the faithful. God is able to heal us emotionally as well as physically, and David knew it. As we discover David in Scripture, we find that he is the kind of person we should want to be. He made mistakes like we do. He didn't understand everything and we don't, either. But he did accomplish much because he was a man of prayer, like we are becoming.
Verse 3: "And my soul is greatly dismayed; but You, O Lord—how long?" Here are two ways we all are basically the same: 1) We all get discouraged from time-to-time, and 2) if we have the faith to pray, as human beings we get impatient because we want the answer right now! David discovered what Paul the Apostle would learn in a future century: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7). God's outward answer to your need may be Yes, No, or Wait, depending on the circumstances of His will, but His immediate response is peace, as David began to experience as he wrote Verse 8 of this chapter.
Verse 4: "Return, O Lord, rescue my soul;
save me because of Your lovingkindness." As noted in the preceding chapter, the English phrase "lovingkindness" is an attempt to translate and explain the Hebrew word "chesed." That word is an expression of God's love, in which He loves and blesses us, not merely because of something we did, but because of something HE did. Jesus became our Living Sacrifice, offered for us. God faithfully offers, we accept His offer in faith, and the contract is valid because of the precious blood of Jesus Christ. As the prophet John the Baptist shouted when Jesus met him at the Jordan River: "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). The Lord's death on the cross is the Solution for our sin, going back in time to encompass David, and reaching ahead to include you and me.
Verse 5: "For there is no mention of You in death;
in Sheol who will give You thanks?" In our lives, two key doors exist for us. Both have clearly defined signs on them: One of the doors is marked "Faith in the Lord" and the other is labeled "Unbelief." To not make a choice is to opt for "Unbelief." There are only two options. At the end of our lives, we will encounter one of those doors. If we have placed our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, our door will open to eternal life with Him. Joy, light and love will be ours—forever. Those who somehow resist Him and His love, will enter darkness so profound that they will eternally long for even the dim light of this world, but they can never return. Our opportunity is right now. Once unbelieving people enter the state called "death," Jesus will no longer be available. He will never be mentioned in the place of eternal death, and no "thanks" will ever be offered there.
Verse 6: "I am weary with my sighing;
every night I make my bed swim,
I dissolve my couch with my tears." Great effort typically goes into becoming a person of power. The goal is at last in sight, it becomes possible and then it happens. You are in charge. All too soon it becomes apparent that the position is greater than you are. You have become the one who makes the decisions and all too often, you really don't know what to do. People's lives are changed by what you opt for. It can seem like your bed, your couch has become a pool filled with your tears. Your hope in all this is to discover true faith in the Lord, a faith in which you will go to Him in believing prayer.
Verse 7: "My eye has wasted away with grief;
it has become old because of all my adversaries." Strangely, in your position of leadership, you now have adversaries who seemingly want you to fail at what you're having difficulty accomplishing. Enemies surround you, and you grieve about what is happening and mourn what might have been. You stare blankly at the wall, feeling like you have become old before your time. Now is the moment to continue in prayer, in which you are meant to CONNECT with the Lord.
Verse 8: "Depart from me, all you who do iniquity,
for the Lord has heard the voice of my weeping." One answer found in faithful prayer, is seen as we notice the difference between David's preceding prayers and the continuation of his prayer in the verses that follow—The Lord turned his unbelief, his fear, into renewed faith and confidence. He still had enemies, some of those in Israel, where many resisted his leadership, but now God had begun to flood his heart and mind with the Lord's peace, as described in Philippians 4:6-7. We all need that peace, infinitely more than we need a "fix" for our earthly situation. As Jesus said in John 14:27, "Peace I leave with you: My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid." When we have His peace, we will find out that our fear begins to dissipate like a noxious mist. Fear turns into God's love.
"The Lord has heard my supplication,
the Lord receives my prayer." And now the change for David was becoming complete. Faith is not something we devise in order to feel better. It is a deep KNOWING that the God who cares has received our prayer. If you or I go to the house of the governor, president, king or some other high official, we may knock on the door but we will likely not be admitted. If we persist, we might well end up in jail. But it's not that way with the Lord. The writer in Psalm 66:19 got it exactly right as he excitedly cried out, "Certainly God has heard, He has given heed to the voice of my prayer." It was true for David and it's true now. God hears you and me. Faith is a gift in which we not only know that God exists, but also that He hears and is doing what's right for you and me.
"All my enemies will be ashamed and greatly dismayed;
they shall turn back, they will suddenly be ashamed." David's responsibility as king of Israel included that he was to protect and defend the nation against its enemies. Though God was with him, David was human and became overwhelmed. Even more troublesome than the armies that march through this world, are the supernatural battles that rage all around us. One type of war we see and the other we don't. The latter type includes "bullets" of unbelief fired by the enemy, and since we have been "hit" many times by unbelief, we need supernatural medics to place us on stretchers at key times and give us medical attention. A now-rested and healed David was cured by the touch of God, and he was confident once more, ready to return to battle. He KNEW his enemies would be defeated, and so will the Lord have victory in your life and mine.
Lord, I have given in to unbelief. I am afraid, Lord. Help me, heal me and forgive me. I know You hear me, and so I bring myself and my situation—to You. Please hear me and fill me with Your peace. Thank You. In Jesus Name. Amen.