Psalm 6 (NIV)
Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger
or discipline me in your wrath.
Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint;
heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony.
My soul is in deep anguish.
How long, Lord, how long?
Turn, Lord, and deliver me;
save me because of your unfailing love.
Among the dead no one proclaims your name.
Who praises you from the grave?
I am worn out from my groaning.
All night long I flood my bed with weeping
and drench my couch with tears.
My eyes grow weak with sorrow;
they fail because of all my foes.
Away from me, all you who do evil,
for the Lord has heard my weeping.
The Lord has heard my cry for mercy;
the Lord accepts my prayer.
All my enemies will be overwhelmed with shame and anguish;
they will turn back and suddenly be put to shame.
Several of the Psalms in my selection were of the same tenor – “I am in agony or under persecution, and I beg the Lord to show mercy and rescue me.” There are certainly many connections that can be drawn from that to the experiences of our lives today – the many illnesses that afflict us and those we love, the prevalence of injustice in our community and throughout the world – but that is not what spoke to me.
As soon as I read the words of verse 4, “because of your unfailing love,” I knew that would be my theme. Because of God’s unfailing love, these Psalms of Lament end with rejoicing for God’s deliverance. The writer turns from tears to triumph, all because of God’s unfailing love.
What’s more, without God’s unfailing love, we would be counted among the wicked and left to His wrath and punishment. Psalm 28:3 describes the wicked as those who “speak cordially with their neighbors but harbor malice in their hearts.” If a little bit of “polite” inauthenticity is all it takes to be wicked, we should all be very worried indeed.
Yet! We need not worry – in fact we’re commanded many times throughout scripture not to worry – because of His unfailing love! We can confidently sing the words of one of my favorite Psalms and another of my selections, Psalm 121, “My help comes from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth.” And that help extends all the way to redeeming our souls so that we might spend eternity in God’s presence, praising him with Psalms.
O, Lord, thank you for your unfailing love that is poured out for us anew each day. Help us to rest in that love, knowing that it has no end, and that you will neither slumber nor sleep. And may the conviction of the love you have for us lead us to act in love to all that we meet. Amen.