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Psalms of Lament: Closely Examining Davidic Psalms

Spiritual lamentation is a sign of the soul crying out for relief. David knew this all too well. He was persecuted for following Christ and had several enemies, some of which were his own sons. He was a man after God's heart in spite of his many sins. By closely examining the Psalms of lament, God shows us through David that there is ongoing spiritual sanctification once one is converted that reflects many pains, sorrows, joys, and triumphs through knowing God. It was never promised to be an easy life or even the "best life now," but an abundant and fulfilled life through trials.

"O, LORD don't rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your rage. Have compassion on me, LORD, for I am weak. Heal me, LORD, for my bones are in agony. I am sick at heart. How long, O LORD, until you restore me? Return, O LORD, and rescue me. Save me because of your unfailing love. For the dead do not remember you. Who can praise you from the grave? I am worn out from sobbing. All night I flood my bed with weeping, drenching it with my tears. My vision is blurred by grief; my eyes are worn out because of all my enemies. Go away, all you who do evil, for the LORD has heard my weeping. The LORD will answer my prayer. May all my enemies be disgraced and terrified. May they suddenly turn back in shame" (Psalms 6:1-10, NIV).

Historical Context

According to the NIV notes, The Book of Psalms was written around 1440 BC and 586 BC, between the time of Moses and Babylon captivity. King David wrote seventy-three Psalms, Asaph wrote twelve, Ethan and Moses wrote one, the sons of Korah wrote nine, Soloman wrote two, Herman wrote one, and there are fifty-one Psalms that are anonymous to us.

The devotional above is a among the Psalms of lament. David is in spiritual distress over his enemies and cries out for God to rescue him. He goes humbly before the LORD in prayer, understanding that he is worthy of rebuke. According to, "the early Christian church regarded Psalm 6 as the first among the 'penitential psalms'" (, paragraph 2, author unknown). "Penitential" or "penitence" means sorrow and repentance. This Psalm is often compared to Psalms 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, and 143.

Dissecting the Text

There are two frames of mind that David goes through in this Psalm. His mental state ranges from helpless and sorrowful of persecution where he is calling out to the LORD, then to defiant and focuses on his enemies. The word "love" in verse 4 indicates the deeply moving, loyal love of God--as seen referenced in Genesis 39:21, Exodus 20:6 and 34:6-7.

"But the LORD was with Joseph and extended kindness to him, and gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer" (Genesis 39:21, NASB)."

"Then God spoke all these words, saying, 'I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments"(Exodus 20:1-6, NASB, referencing the Ten Commandment law).

"Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression, and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations" (Exodus 34:6-7, NASB, in reference to God revealing a part of His glory to Moses on top of Mount Sinai when God commanded Moses to write the Ten Commandments).

Closing Thoughts

David is perhaps one of the best examples of one that pursues after God's own heart and pleads for His mercy, knowing that he is unworthy of it. God has mentioned several times in scripture that David was a man after His own heart, even in spite of his many shortcomings and sin. This Psalm also serves as a reminder that God hears the spiritual needs of His children in distress and in peace.

As always, stay safe during these times of uncertainty with the Coronavirus and have a blessed rest of the week.

For more devotionals, please see the following articles below.

  • Jars of Clay

  • Through the Valleys

Below is a video from Sergio and Rhoda (YouTube channel Sergio and Rhoda in Israel), two guides in Israel, going through Ein Gedi. Although this is not mentioning Psalm 6 (video discusses the history of Psalm 42), it does give a visual representation of the history of Israel and King David.

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  • The Price of Freedom

  • Knowing Freedom

Blissful Faith started as a lifestyle and branched into a blog to help others hear about Jesus Christ and how they too can develop a blissful faith through knowing God. This blog’s purpose is to be an evangelical outreach to further the kingdom of Christ. Furthering the kingdom means stretching outside of the comfort zone, comprehending and working towards meeting the needs of others. Putting faith to action keeps it from becoming stagnant.

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The Blissful Faith Merchandise store helps both this blog to grow and to meet the needs of others. About 8-10% of the proceeds will go to The Exodus Road and Agape International Missions to help combat human trafficking. The funds will help assist in rescue operations, providing shelter, and recovery programs to those in bondage.

Website for the video above: Destiny Rescue

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