Psalm 6 is classified as the first of seven of what are known as ‘Penitential Psalms” (the others are 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, and 143). In it we find David’s sorrowful prayer for mercy at a time of deep affliction, which he recognizes is the result of the just chastening of God, which he has brought upon himself. He affirms that he can no longer bear up under his present suffering and that divine glory would only be obscured should his distress continue until his death. Despite this he nevertheless ends up sure of divine compassion – that his prayer is heard and answered in the defeat of his enemies.
In pleading his case before God for deliverance, we find David recognizing the terrible consequences of his personal sin. We find sorrow, humiliation, and even hatred of sin which are the unfailing marks of a contrite and repentant heart. A sense of his own sinfulness has removed the Psalmist’s pride, and so taken away any reliance which he may have had upon his own strength. In this way God even uses sin in our lives to remove any hope that we might have in ourselves. It is one of the ways all things work together for good for those who love Him. Even our very rebellion against God, is used by Him for our good and His glory.
The Penitential Psalms, just like sin and repentance itself, though beginning in the darkness of unbelief usually end in hopeful exultation. This is a reminder to us sinners, that when we sin and are chastened, if we would only pour out our complaint before the throne of grace, our soul too would be unburdened. Can you not see the glory of God’s love and Gospel in this wonderful truth?