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The Lord of the Languishing (Psalm 6)

October 22, 2014

Reflecting on the Passage:

This week at East Point Church, we welcomed Pastor Aaron Messner from Westminster Presbyterian Church to our worship service. The sermon for this week shows the effects of sin cause external afflictions and internal turmoil. Pastor Messner acknowledges that the greatest hardships in this life come from man’s inhumanity toward man. The focus of this sermon is on David’s prayer of languishing to the Lord for pain he felt at the hands of his enemies, which consisted of a plea for grace, healing and deliverance.

Prayer of Languishing: A Plea for Grace

O Lord, rebuke me not in your anger,

     nor discipline me in your wrath.

Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing(Psalm 6:1-2a; ESV)

Pastor Messner describes languishing as a slow ache of the inner man. David identifies with the pain that comes at the hands of others, but he does not legitimize the sin committed against him. Instead, he does something that is counter-intuitive to the world, he prays to the Lord in his time of languishing. He realizes that even as he is being wronged, he must come before God humbly and in repentance because he is also a sinner in need of grace (cf. Paul, 2 Corinthians 12:7-10). Although, others sin against us, we must not forget that not only have we sinned against others, but also we have sinned against the Lord Himself (Psalm 51:3-4).

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Prayer of Languishing: A Plea for Healing

“…heal me, O Lord, for my bones are troubled.

My soul also is greatly troubled

     But you, O Lord how long (Psalm 6:2b-3)?

David asks the Lord to heal the remaining sorrow and comfort his grief. Physical healing is of great benefit to the body, but only the Lord can heal the pain of the soul. How does He heal and comfort? He heals with His steadfast love. He comforts with His gracious Word (Matthew 9:12-13; Mark 2:17; Luke 5:31-32).

Prayer of Languishing: A Plea for Deliverance

Turn, O Lord, deliver my life;

     save me for the sake of your steadfast love.

For in death there is no remembrance of you;

     in Sheol who will give you praise (Psalm 6:4-5)?

Pastor Messner notes here that David was not addressing the issue of heaven and hell, he was concerned with leading others to the Lord (cf. Philippians 1:23-26). Essentially, David is saying, “Deliver me, so that I may praise You in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:11-14). Rather than becoming self-righteous when he was wronged, David entrusted himself to the righteousness of One greater than himself. He lifts up his eyes to the hills, from which comes his help, fully persuaded that his help came from the Lord (Psalm 121). In doing so, he is changed in the moment, because of his hope in the steadfast love and faithfulness of God.

Have you endured what seemed to be an inconsolable grief at the hand of another?

Truly, the offenses that we face at the hands of others create real external affliction and internal turmoil. The temptation is to become self-righteous when you have been wronged. However, to do so is to overlook your own sin against One far more righteous than you.

When sin entered the world through the foolishness of Adam and Eve, humanity was severed from a life-sustaining relationship with God. Nonetheless, in spite of the foolishness of man, God sent His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ to step into history to redeem us, forgive us, and restore us to Himself. Christ is the Great Physician, who came to heal the brokenhearted. He is able to turn you sorrows into great joy (Luke 4:18-19; John 16:20).

Listen to this week’s full sermon for free.

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