Yet, in spite of the extremely black picture I am painting, the situation was not quite as hopeless as even the psalmist thought. Nor is it as hopeless as you might think. It may be that David felt under God's fierce disapproval and wrath. I am sure he did. I am sure that he felt that God had hidden his face and was nowhere to be seen or found. But God was still there, and he was David's God in spite of everything.
Yesterday we looked at the first feature of verses 1-7. Today we look at the other three.
2. A loss of a sense of God's presence. A sense of being disapproved of by an angry God is bad enough, but sometimes in our depression the case seems even worse than this. What if God should not even be present? Suppose he has turned away from us or withdrawn himself? This is what David was feeling, which he indicates by the word "return" in verse 4.
In the New International Version the psalm is divided into four stanzas, which is right. But in terms of its content the psalm is best considered in two sections. In the first (vv. 1-7) David is in great distress. His whole person--body, soul and spirit--is in anguish. He senses the anger of God upon him for sin. He cannot sleep. In the second section (vv. 8- 10) he suddenly becomes aware of God's presence again and moves out of his depression into new faith and bold conduct.
Psalm 6 is the first of the penitential psalms, that is, psalms in which the author confesses his sin and asks God for his mercy and forgiveness. The other penitential psalms are psalms 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, 143, the best known being Psalm 51, titled "A psalm of David, when the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba." It was the custom in the early church to sing these psalms on Ash Wednesday.
At this point David turns to the wicked again. Earlier he had spoken of them as "those who tell lies" (v. 6), but this was only one descriptive phrase among many. In these verses (vv. 9, 10) he describes them in terms of their wicked speech or words, probably because he had just prayed for guidance (v. 8) and was thinking of how the words of the wicked can't be trusted. Ah, but it is even worse than that. Their words are destructive, and those who follow them will perish.
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