Learning to Pray in the School of the Psalms: Psalm 6

As we continue our pilgrimage through the Psalms, here is the video from the Night Owl Study (October 17, 2018).   (see the link to the video below)

Highlights of this week’s study:

  • One of 7 Penitential Psalms in the Psalter- but there is no mention of sin in the Psalm
  • Discipline is thought of as a good thing in scripture (Proverbs 12:1, Revelation 3:19).  Discipline helps us grow and move into a growth mindset. However here David asks to not be disciplined “in your anger.”  (a viewer commented that in their school they consider discipline an opportunity to teach missing skills.  See Carol Dweck’s book The Growth Mindset for more detail)
  • David crying out because of physical and inward emotional suffering
  • Biblical Poetry is built around parallelism – each verse of poetry is divided into two parts, A and B.  The way this functions is not so much that the words rhyme, but that the ideas rhyme.  How do part A and part B of the verse relate?  Could be 1) repetition 2) building intensity  3) contrast  4) puzzle (how do the parts of the verse relate.   (Note – see Adele Berlin’s little book The Dynamics of Biblical Parallelism for more detail)
  • v 4 “Save me because of your unfailing love” there is the hint of grace in the psalm. The recognition of the need for God’s grace in our lives. This is a bit of the psalm that looks ahead to Christ’s saving power.
  • v 5 – facing mortality and death.
  • Weeping on the beds and inability to fall asleep is in contrast to Psalm 4 where God gives his righteous sleep.  This shows the variety of human experience and phases of life.
  • After v 7 there is the dramatic turn, the shift from lament to triumph.  Somewhere, somehow, God shows up.  He lifts the anguish and alleviates the suffering.  But we don’t see how; God’s action is not depicted.  In the praying of the psalms, we can experience it personally.
  • Twitter follower shared a great quote from Spurgeon’s Treasury of David on verse 6: “It is sweet to know that our tears are understood, even when words fail. Let us learn to think of tears as liquid prayers, and of weeping as a constant dropping of importunate intercession which will surely wear its way right into the very heart of God’s mercy, despite the stony difficulties which obstruct the way. My God, I will ‘weep’ when I cannot plead, for You hear the voice of my weeping!”  (emphasis mine)
  • The experience of praying this psalm:  one experience was in how this psalm teaches us to deal with fear of death and mortality.  We can honestly bring our fears to God.  And God may well show up and we can experience the refreshment of the triumph in the last verses.  Christ is the resurrection and the life.  Christ’s mercy does not depend on my manufacturing the right level of faith. Christ’s mercy is big enough to handle my weakness. Thus I can pray “I believe! Help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24)



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