There are three things of note in Psalm 6.
First, life is full of grief and trouble. David is languishing, his bones are troubled and his soul is also greatly troubled. He is weary with moaning, he floods his bed with tears and he drenches his couch with his weeping. In fact, he is so full of grief that his eyes are wasting away from the constant weeping.
Is this an exaggeration on David’s part? I do not think so. Those who are well acquainted with grief and trouble know the ache it brings to the heart, soul and body.
Second, God is sovereign over trouble. At one level, David’s grief is linked to his foes (v.7). Yet David does not open his psalm by placing the blame on them. Instead, he places the blame on himself and attributes responsibility to God. From verse 1, it is clear that David believes that God has every reason to be angry at him, and every right to rebuke and discipline him. David’s enemies are merely instruments in the hand of an angry God.
This is a view of God many seldom take, with the protest that God is fundamentally a God of love. But in reducing God’s love to mere sentimentality, many neglect the biblical fact that God’s most defining attribute in the Bible is his holiness. The saints and angels do not cry “Lovely, lovely, lovely” but “Holy, holy, holy”. Consequently, we go through life thinking that we deserve only blessing from God, and curse him when trouble comes.
It is ultimately at the cross where the holiness and love of God meets. There the wrath of God is poured out on Jesus instead of us, so that we can be reconciled back to God. For all who are in Christ, there is no longer any wrath and fury left for us. We have a Heavenly Father who loves us, yet in his love he will exercise any necessary discipline for our good. Nevertheless it remains a sobering and humbling exercise to remind ourselves that we were once children of wrath, deserving only punishment, and all that we have and all that we are now solely and completely rests on the grace of God in Jesus. Consequently, we go through life with gratitude and wide-eyed wonder at the undeserved blessings we receive.
Third, God is more glorified when he is praised for his love than when his glory is vindicated by the dispensation of justice. More concisely, God receives more glory through redeeming us, not through punishing us. In this sense, while holiness is the fundamental attribute of God, God delights to exercise his holiness in love rather than in justice. David knows this, grounding his appeal to God for deliverance in these words – “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?” (v.4-5)
And so God answers his prayers (v.8-10). This is something we would do well to remember. Though it is God who permits grief and trouble to afflict us in this life, these are providentially designed to call us to turn to him for deliverance, so that we might praise the One to whom we owe every breath and blessing. This infallible chain of heavenly logic is a sure and certain foundation for peace amidst trouble.