Meaning of Psalm 6 – A Prayer of Confession

The meaning of Psalm 6 is to show man’s response to the works and nature of God.

We see early on that this Psalm of David is a prayer of confession to the Lord. Not only is he experiencing great sorrow for his sin, but he is also experiencing the discipline of the Lord.

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What Does Psalm 6 Teach Us About God?

Psalm 6 shows us the lovingkindness of God. While we don’t know the exact reason for this prayer of confession, it’s evident that David is sensing the rebuke and discipline of the Lord over his life.

Hebrews 12 teaches us that the Lord disciplines the ones that He loves.

Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. 11 For the moment, all discipline seems not to be pleasant, but painful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterward it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. – Hebrews 12:9-11 NASB

We also learn that God is full of grace and mercy. He is ready and willing to forgive the sins of those who place their faith in Him.

Meaning of Psalm 6

The meaning of Psalm 6 is a prayer of confession and confidence in the Lord. David is crying out to confess His sin and ask the Lord to extend His grace. Let’s take a look at Psalm 6 verse by verse.

Psalm 6:1

Lord, do not rebuke me in Your anger, Nor discipline me in Your wrath. Psalm 6:1

Here we see that David sensed that he was under the rebuke and discipline of the Lord. Oftentimes, it can seem that we are being disciplined by God when, in reality, we are just experiencing the consequences of our actions. Either way, David knew that the Lord had allowed his current circumstances and was asking for deliverance.

We can humbly come to God when we fall into sin. 

Hebrews 4:16 says For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things just as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let’s approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace for help at the time of our need. 

God is ready and willing to extend His forgiveness and grace.

Psalm 6:2-3

Be gracious to me, Lord, for I am frail; heal me, Lord, for my bones are horrified. And my soul is greatly horrified; But You, Lord—how long? 

The word here for ‘horrified’ means dismayed, vexed, to tremble inwardly.

David was suffering both physically and spiritually. 

This shows us how powerful and damaging the affects of sin can be. We don’t know the exact sin that caused David this anguish, but we get a glimpse of it’s imprint on his life.

Verse 6:4

Return, Lord, rescue my soul; Save me because of Your mercy. 

In other translations, the word “mercy” is translated as “lovingkindness”. David is trusting in the Lord’s lovingkindess to save Him. David knew that He didn’t deserve the grace of God, but understood His character. 

God is full of love and forgiveness.

He is the only one worth placing our hope in. There is none other who can provide the help, deliverance, and strength that’s needed in moments of weakness and trial.

Verse 6:5

5  For there is no mention of You in death; In Sheol, who will praise You?

This word “Sheol” means the underworld or the grave. David and other Old Testament characters had a limited understanding of what came after death. 2 Timothy 2:10 says that Jesus brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

This verse is not made to create a theology about what comes after this life. Rather, it helps us to see David’s agony and the desperation behind his plea.

Verses 6:6-7

I am weary with my sighing; Every night I make my bed swim, I flood my couch with my tears. 7  My eye has wasted away with grief; It has grown old because of all my enemies.

These verses are a great poetic illustration of David’s grief and agony. As we saw if verses 2-3, David feels deep remorse over his sin and the continued pursuit from his enemies to destroy him. 

Making his bed swim and flooding his couch with tears are figures of speech for conveying his emotional state.

Verses 6:8-10

Leave me, all you who practice injustice, For the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping. 9  The Lord has heard my pleading, The Lord receives my prayer. 10  All my enemies will be put to shame and greatly horrified; They shall turn back, they will suddenly be put to shame.

When I read verse 8, it made me wonder if David’s sin was connected with his association with ungodly people? Perhaps this verse is David’s repentance and turning away from the source of his sin.

David ends this Psalm by declaring his faith and confidence in God. He believes that the Lord has heard his prayer and that God had already begun to move on his behalf.

Meaning of Psalm 6

Psalm 6 Devotional

When you stumble into sin what is your initial reaction? Are you prone, like Adam and Eve, to hide from God? 

How we react towards the Lord when we sin against Him gives evidence to what we believe about Him.

Adam and Eve were not trusting in the mercy and lovingkindness of God. They tried to cover their sin and blame each other.

David did the opposite. 

He felt deep sorrow for his sin. He repented and appealed to the mercy and grace of His heavely Father.

Like David, you and I can be confident in the mercy of God to forgive. We can also rest assured that the discipline of the Lord will yield a harvest of holiness in our lives.

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