Psalm 6 – How Long Shall I Wait?

John Carter – May 26, 2016 – Psalm 6
How Long Shall I Wait?

Psalm 6 – DOWNLOAD (Manuscript)
Musica Theologica Bible Translation (MTT)

For those who are praying to the living God, the relief you seek will come suddenly.

The Situation
Have you ever been sick for so long that you cannot remember not being sick? Although you know that you haven’t always been sick, you have no distinct memory of not being sick. This of course causes you to wonder, how much longer? So in some pitiful way you resolve to just be sick the rest of your life. Then one day you wake up and realize that you have been healthy for some time and you can’t remember when you got better. Your healing came suddenly. It came so suddenly that you didn’t realize that what you longed for came.

The Question
Although this is a common example, how many of us seem to have this experience with not only minor bodily sickness but also with the various other afflictions that life brings to our front door? We open this metaphorical door and see our problem every day and keep wondering, who invited you over and when are you going to leave. To which we can almost hear the response, ‘I came because I knew you wouldn’t ask.’ So we finally turn our attention to the Living God and ask, pled, scream, ‘How Long?’ Although we may not see our afflictions as the result of an enemy Psalm 6 seems to be a healthy expression of our situation, our question, and the Holy Response the we can expectantly wait for.

The Answer
In Psalm 6 David seems to answer his own question of ‘how long?’ by articulating the certain fate of evil people. And the answer is ‘suddenly’. Suddenly you rescue will come. Suddenly your enemies will cease to persecute you. Suddenly your plea will be answered.

To whom are you praying?
I ask this, even to Christians, because often time I get the sense that people are not praying to THE living God. Instead, they are muttering dead lyrics to a lifeless entity in a dormant universe. This is reasonable (but illogical) act for one who does not claim Christ as their king. But what a pitiful and faithless thing to do for one who claims to have been redeemed by the living God who took on flesh so that we might be saved. If you do not believe that Jesus is who he said he is then, why pray? If you believe in the power of the Holy Spirit, then why are you prayers so pithy, so inconsistent, and so lethargic? We are reminded in James 1 that ours prayers need to be faith-filed and faithful. Jesus reminds us in his parable of the woman and the wicked judge that our prayers are to be persistent. But most of all, Paul reminds us that our prayers are amplified by the Holy Spirit and are heard personally by our living and Holy Father. So I ask, who are you praying(!) to? Are you praying with the regularity and fervency that is befitting of the Living God.

Is your Theology Good?
It is interesting that in the first line of the psalm that David could be pinned as saying that he seeks an answer that exempts him from any form of punishment of corrective discipline. However, that would be an incorrect interpretation of the lyric. Instead we should see that it is David’s request that his discipline and punishment should not be done in Harshness. It is as if David is saying, ‘God, please remember, I am made out of dust. I am weak and cannot bear your wrath.’ This is exactly what David is expressing in the following line and line 4 of the Psalm.

How Long?
When David questions God plans, he literally wraps his question in good theology. When you come to God with your affliction, do not forget to take into consideration that God never promised a perfectly peaceful life free of suffering and trouble this side of his return. In fact, Jesus promised just the opposite for any who would choose to obey the call to follow him. Ask God tough questions, but don’t leave the Bible and good theology out of the process.[1]

The Waiting
It seems that David is trying to intensify for the reader his sense of YHWH’s absence by not using YHWH’s name in line 5, 6, and 7. In a psalm that is filled with the name of God, these 3 verses seems void of an other wise omnipresent God. This section almost seems to scream the questions of Ecclesiastes. [2] This is where we should be encouraged if we will only take the time to wipe our eyes for a moment. Your pain, your waiting, your suffering are not unique to your human experience. Even David, a man after God own heart-felt distant from the God he loved so much. Even Jesus felt the absence of the Fathers presence. If this man, and if the Son of God himself felt this, how much more should you and I be prepared for times and seasons of difficulty?

Our Confidence
David’s confidence was firmly placed in the living God. So much so that he could articulate boldly to his enemies that they will be defeated. Confidently he declares their certain loss and the guarantee that his God, our God (!) is hearing and is acting on his prayers. Do you pray with this confidence? Do you struggle with your affliction with this level of certainty? I think that this is the appropriate time to point out that our confidence is not ourselves. In fact, that is the exact opposite of our confidence. If our confidence is in what we know, then it is still misplaced. A confidence in our experience is still a failure to appreciate the truth of the Gospel. Christian, our confidence is in Christ alone. Period. No augment, no comma, no addendum, no post credits. So often we are trying to endure hardship by trying to pull ourselves up by our own boot straps. Even though we know that doesn’t work. Jesus doesn’t say follow me and I will end your suffering. He says come to me and I will make propose out of your suffering. Is it not our favorite verse to quote that all things work for good for those called according to his purpose? But properly understood that means that your affliction will now work for good rather than evil. It means that your loss will not be in vain. That death, pain, sickness, persecution, or any other conceivable evil will be recycled for the express purpose of the Glory of God and your good.

Brother, Sister, our God hears and takes our prayers. He is not deaf. He is not blind. He is not evil. He is good!

The When
But even in the moment of excitement of this truth, we are quickly cooled by the reality that we see no end in sight. Instead, we see the exact opposite. Instead of seeing life thriving we see it getting worse first. But let me encourage you with the joy that David had in his living God. The same great terror that afflicted you will soon come to our hostile enemies. Instead looking for the date of deliverance, look in anticipation of the day of deliverance. To look for a date is to look for something that doesn’t exist and reeks of anti-faith. But to look for the day is to submit faithfully submit to a God that has a better plan and a better way in mind then we can ever imagine or even conspire.

But we still ask, ‘How Long?’ Most simply the answer is suddenly. The final word of this psalm is the answer that bleeds of the timing of even Christ’s return. Although we may grow tried in doing good, we must not grow tired. We must not become faithless. We must continue to pursue faithfully the finally command of Christ to make disciples without losing heart. We must pursues the first commands of God to love him and others without despairing of his resolve to come suddenly and make all things new! Friends, I know you are tired and worn, but if there is any encouragement I may give you it is that For those of you who are praying to the living God, the relief you seek will come suddenly.



[1] I would even say it is okay to ask theologically incorrect questions, as longs as you are trying to refine those questions in light of Biblical truth. In other words, you may not have the right words yet, but you have your theological safety nets. So ask the question in humility being prepared to be corrected by the word of God and through the encouraging words of other believers.

[2] Ecc. 3:16-21; Ecc 9:1-10; Ecc 4:1