Thursday, January 13, 2022

Under the Hand of God (Psalm 6)

"O LORD, do not rebuke me in Your anger, nor chasten me in Your hot displeasure. Have mercy on me, O LORD, for I am weak” (Psalm 6:1–2).

David has been greatly afflicted by the hand of God, and in Psalm 6 he acknowledges that he has provoked divine wrath by his own sins. In order to obtain relief from his burden and distress, he prays for forgiveness. David’s grief over his sins is deep and tormenting. He says he is faint, in agony, and in anguish. His soul is filled with turmoil under the wrathful hand of God. Only by God’s mercy can he be saved from such a state. We do not know exactly what calamity David was suffering. It was probably inflicted by men, but David wisely considers that he has to deal with God directly no matter what the circumstances.

Many people today deny that trials are inflicted by God. It is true that God does not always act directly in our situation, but He uses nature, people, and Satan (as in the case of Job) to exercise His purposes. Yet when we are enduring difficulties, we can learn from David as well as many others in Scripture to recognize God’s sovereignty in the matter and appeal to His mercy.

“From whatever quarter, therefore, our afflictions come,” said Calvin, “let us learn to turn our thoughts instantly to God, and to acknowledge Him as the Judge who summons us as guilty before His tribunal.” We must confess our sins, and accept God’s providential dealings. We must then appeal to His mercy, for we deserve utter condemnation.

David recognizes that his punishment is deserved. He doesn’t act like an innocent victim blaming God for his troubles. Instead he asks God to deliver him and to have mercy on his soul. Rather than resorting to bitterness against God, we should pray like David. Calvin says, “I indeed confess, O Lord, that I deserve to be destroyed and brought to nought: but as I would be unable to endure the severity of Thy wrath, deal not with me according to my deserts, but rather pardon my sins, by which I have provoked Thine anger against me.”

Let each of us look to Christ, in whom there is forgiveness of sins. For He is our covering, and He is the mercy seat before whom we bow. In Him, God’s wrath is appeased, and only through Him do we have peace with God.

Read Job 1–2:10. What is Job’s attitude toward his afflictions? What is his attitude toward God’s providence? Seek to emulate Job and David when you pray to God for deliverance from difficulties. If deliverance does not come, rest in His sovereignty and the promise of final redemption.