GETTING THE MESSAGE/View troubles in a different light
The Lord Jesus said to his people, “In this world you will have tribulation. But be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Implicit in what Jesus said was for his people to look to him in troubles, remember what he came to do, and the promise attached to his work. There are none in this world who don’t have troubles, but Christians are to view troubles in a different light than the world does.
Psalm 6 gives us an account of David in an agonizing trial. Later in the psalm, we learn that foes are part of David’s misery. The Lord had allowed enemies to at least mock David, if not gain some measure of oppressive power over him. David knows God is sovereign over what his enemies are able to do, so he looks beyond his enemies to God’s providential dealings with him.
This is instructive for us. No matter what or from whom our troubles might come, we are to always consider God’s workings in us. He will sometimes bring negative influences in our life to draw us nearer to him and show us our sin. The Lord disciplines those he loves.
The Lord doesn’t always discipline his people because of particular unrepentant sin or sins. A good father disciplines his children not only for rebellion, but for correction and instruction. So does our heavenly Father. Sometimes the Lord is just moving us further along, prodding us to deeper sanctification.
In this instance, David’s language indicates he thinks the Lord is chastening him for some sin. He is aware that his sin is sufficient cause for his troubles. That in no way exonerates his enemies for their actions against him, but David knows that it is the Lord’s hand against him that is the original source of his misery. So David calls upon the Lord.
David says in verse 1, “O Lord, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath.” The depth of his misery made David feel the wrath of God was against him. Nevertheless, he knows that though the Lord is severe against sin, he is full of mercy. He doesn’t ask the Lord not to rebuke or chasten him; rather, he asks the Lord not to deal with him in justice, but mercy.
We should make a practice of looking to the Lord’s discipline in our lives and to pray for it. If the Lord left us to ourselves, we would be swollen with pride and blinded to the holiness of God. Moses pleaded with the Lord, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
There will come a time when time will be no more for us. Numbering our days means remembering why we come to die in this world. We are creatures accountable to our Creator. Death is the wages of sin. It is from God’s just judgment. If we suffer the Lord’s wrath we lose our souls. Remembering this, the wise soul seeks the grace of the Lord and lives by faith. David longs for restoration of the comfortable presence of the Lord’s grace. Discipline works this way.
He tells the Lord of his misery: “Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing: heal me O Lord for my bones are troubled. My soul is also greatly troubled” (verses 2-3A). The anguish David felt was down to his bones and tormenting to his soul. The word “troubled” can mean terrified or shaken to the core. David is in misery, so he asks, “But you, O Lord - How long?”
Delay in getting relief from a severe trial is not easy. Waiting on the Lord is an element of the Christian faith. David humbled himself under the hand of the Lord, but he also calls upon the Lord for healing. So should we do likewise and never forget the Lord Jesus’ suffering for us.
Jesus told his Father that his soul was troubled as he looked to the cross. Out of that great troubled soul would come abundant fruit, even the salvation of our souls. Psalm 22 depicts the anguish of the body and soul of Christ when he was on the cross: “I am poured out like wax. My bones are out of joint and my heart is also like wax, melted within.”
The answer for Jesus to the question “how long” was not until you have paid the price in full for sins. Thanks be to God that our suffering as his people is not to pay for our sins. Christ paid that penalty. Our sufferings are but momentary in comparison, and they work to draw us nearer to Christ our Lord.