We’re about two weeks into January and my wife and I are settling into a rhythm with our new Bible reading plan for 2018. I am consistently terrible at sticking with Bible reading plans, so this year I did my research and found a plan that will take my wife and I through the entirety of the Bible in 52 weeks. Rather than going book by book or chronologically, however, it goes by genre. So each day of the week corresponds with a different genre of Biblical literature. Wednesdays are the Psalms, so yesterday we read Psalms 6 through 8.
Towards the end of Psalm 6, I came across a series of verses that stood out to me in a new way. Here they are:
Psalm 6:8-9: “Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the LORD has heard the sound of my weeping. The LORD has heard my plea; the LORD accepts my prayer.” [ESV]
This Psalm is a penitent Psalm of David after some kind of earthly trial had caused his soul great turmoil. Some commentators have even been led to think that David was suffering from some kind of disease because of his words in verse 2: “heal me, O LORD, for my bones are troubled.” [ESV]
Whatever the trial may have been, David expresses deep sorrow throughout the Psalm. He requests that God not chastise him (v. 1), asks for God’s mercy (v.2), asks for healing (v. 2), expresses that is soul is greatly troubled and wonders aloud how long God will allow him to languish (v. 3), requests mercy from the Lord (v. 4), informs the Lord that if He pursues David’s worm to the grave, he will not be able to praise His great name (v. 5), admits that he spends his nights in tears (v.6), and confesses his weakness (v. 7).
But then verse 8 comes along and the tune changes. He demands in verse 8 that his enemies depart from him, “for the LORD has heard the sound of my weeping.” [ESV]
And from that moment on, the Psalm turns from woeful lament to joyful triumph. Look at David’s words again – this time from verse 8 all the way through the end of the Psalm:
Psalm 6:8-10: “Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping. The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord accepts my prayer All my enemies shall be ashamed and greatly troubled; they shall turn back and be put to shame in a moment.” [ESV]
David goes from weeping all night long to loudly proclaiming that all of his enemies will be ashamed! What changed so drastically between verse 7 and verse 8? What brought David out of the pit of despair and into the rapture of triumph that comes in the final three verses?
That’s what happens between verse 7 and verse 8. David declares that the Lord has “heard the sound of my weeping” and that He has “heard my plea” and that God “accepts my prayer.”
It was the assurance that God had heard David that brought him out of his misery. Now, it’s likely that David experienced some form of deliverance from the hand of God during the penning of this psalm; but nevertheless, David’s assurance was still rooted in the understanding that God did indeed hear him no matter how hopeless his situation appeared at the time.
I want us to take 3 things from this Psalm that can serve as encouragements to us today. Because, I don’t know about you, but lately I have struggled in my prayer life. When I pray, it seems as if I am talking to thin air – that my requests go into the void and return to me empty. It’s like I am calling out into a great chasm only to be greeted by the sound of my own echo.
But this Psalm gives me hope! And I want it to give you hope too! Let’s look at 3 things we can take from this passage to encourage us in our daily walk with Christ.
1. God Hears Your Weeping
Usually, at least once a semester, I have somewhat of an emotional breakdown. Most of the time, it comes about midway through – when projects are hitting me left and right, sleep deprivation is affecting me, my time in the Word has been lacking, and my prayer life has seen better days. It’s at that point that some tiny issue in my life opens the floodgates and I break down in tears.
Those moments suck. It’s as if all the emotion I’ve been pushing back for so long overflows and I just have to cry it out. Ever have a moment like that? Those moments are oftentimes when we feel most alone, aren't they?
But in actuality, as Christians it is in those moments that we can be most assured that God hears us! In fact, another Psalm actually tells us that God keeps track of our tears! Look at Psalm 56:8.
Psalm 56:8: “You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?” [ESV]
When you cry, whether it’s because, like David, the wicked are accosting you, or because you have experienced the loss of a loved one, you are grieved over sin, or are depressed beyond the point of even being able to make it out of bed, the Lord hears your weeping and He keeps track of your tears. And it’s in those moments that you can rest in the assurance of the presence of God and remind yourself that the same God that hears your weeping now will one day, “wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” [Rev. 21:4 ESV]
2. The Lord Hears Your Pleas
The Lord Jesus tells us in the Gospels quite plainly to ask and it will be given to us. That principle isn’t unique to the New Testament, though. In verse 9 of Psalm 8, David asserts that the Lord has heard his plea for mercy.
When you approach the Lord in prayer and ask of your Heavenly Father for anything – spiritual growth, protection for family, healing, anything – those pleas do not fall on deaf ears. Contrary to that, the Lord hears your cries for mercy. Your pleas reach His ears in heaven each and every time you communicate with Him through prayer. So Christian, when you ask your heavenly Father for anything, understand that your pleas are being heard.
3. God Accepts Your Prayers
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but let’s not toss it aside too hastily. Dwelling on this simple truth can provide a much-needed boost to your prayer life.
Under the Old Covenant, believers did not enjoy the type of communion with God that we do today. The emphasis throughout the Old Testament was on the holiness of God – on the fact that God was altogether separate from sinful humanity.
God’s presence was confined to the Holy of Holies and was unapproachable for 364 days of the year – and even on that one day it was accessible, it was only by one man. Furthermore, that one man had to go through a complex series of rituals before he could even risk entering the presence of the Lord.
But in the New Testament, Christ has come and has bridged that gap between God and sinful humanity. And now, through his work of mediation on behalf of His people, communion with God is a prayer away.
And the Lord, based on the mediating work of Christ, accepts our prayers. How insane is that? The God of Heaven and Earth, who created all that is and directs it by His sovereign hand, accepts our prayers. What a blessed, humbling thought!
So now we have seen from Psalm 6:8-9 that God hears our weeping, listens to our pleas, and accepts our prayers. Now, Christian, let these truths sink into your hearts and go to the Lord in sweet communion!
I’m changing things up a little bit here at Honest Church. Since I’ve been rather inconsistent with my twice a week posting schedule, I have decided to drop down to posting just once a week. It’s mostly due to the season of life I’m in right now – married and a senior in Bible college a semester away from graduating. But these posts will be longer and a little more in depth – rather than the shorter posts I usually make.
So, keep an eye out for posts each Thursday! And don’t forget to comment below and subscribe by hitting that button! See you next week!