Daily Fiber
for the soul

by Edward E. Thomason

(feed your head)

The "crust" of the matter:
A prayer of anguish!
Ingredients this serving:
The suffering soul wrestles with his own conscience which may actually lead to redemption.
Ps 6:1-7 Singing blues
Ps 6:8-10 Singing blessings

The blessing of chastening

Lesson: Let us learn to pray that if the chastisements of our gracious God cannot be removed, that they will be sweetened by the knowledge that they are administered by a loving Father and not an angry God.

Ps 6:1 O Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.

Comments to munch on:

"Anger of the Lord" - a dreadful thought! (Cf., Hebrews 10:31); Punishment is an act of justice. The word "chasten" indicates an act of mercy. A tough love like that of a father who instructs and disciplines his child. The word can mean to correct with words (rebuke, reprove, admonish), or instruct and train.

1. Discuss how God rebukes us today? Discuss how God might chasten (teach) us when we do not respond to his Word?
2. Read Hebrews 12:5-8
When we feel that God may be chastening us, should we consider it to be out of anger toward us or out of love?

Ps 6:2-3
Have mercy upon me, O Lord; for I am weak: O Lord, heal me; for my bones are vexed. My soul is also sore vexed: but thou, O Lord, how long?

Comments to munch on:
As we look at the above verses it is easy to imagine someone physically suffering from some physical trial or disease and painfully searching their soul while pleading for Godís help. Illness or distress can become the avenue that encourages us to search our souls and examine our lives for unforgiven sin that we may have ignored or hidden away.

1. Discuss the "impatience" that someone who is ill or distressed may feel as expressed by Davidís statement "O Lord, how long?"

2. Discuss how sickness naturally brings us into a realization of our mortality and need to make our souls right with God. Could the trials of life, even sickness then be a means by which God chastens (teaches and instructs) us at times? (Cf., 2 Cor. 6:9 where Paul was chastened but not killed. This sounds like some kind of physical trial or affliction.) But let us be careful... because while sickness may be profitable to us in instructing us and causing us to draw closer to God, it is not a chastisement (or punishment from God.) Consider the book of Job. 

Ps 6:4-7 Return, O Lord, deliver my soul: oh save me for thy mercies' sake. For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks? I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears. Mine eye is consumed because of grief; it waxeth old because of all mine enemies.


Comments to munch on:
David addressed God regarding the most important thing - his soul. Sickness might remain and death might come, but his great fear was that of facing eternity unforgiven! It was not his illness nor his distressful circumstance that grieved him, but his thought that God had departed because of some sin he had committed.

When David prayed that the Lord would "return" he indicated that he felt detached from God because of his circumstance. His penitent heart was searching for Godís mercy and Godís presence in his life once more. "In death there is not remembrance." The grave yard is silent. Once dead, our mortal bodies are no longer able to serve God and perform oneís duty toward God here on earth. In life we can praise God and sing his songs but who can do so once they are in the grave? Davidís argument was that he wanted to serve God in this life longer before he ceased from his labors.

1. Which is more serious: Physical or Spiritual illness? Does sin separate us from God today? What are some circumstances that might make us feel separated from God? Is affliction more tolerable when our conscience is clear?
2. Are we working for the Lord while it is yet day (while we have life and vitality)? Do we realize that the night (death) is coming when no man works?

The blessing of conciliation

Lesson: We may have many enemies that cause us troubles in life (such as Satan, sickness and sorrow) but God is not our enemy.

Ps 6:8-10 Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity; for the Lord hath heard the voice of my weeping. The Lord hath heard my supplication; the Lord will receive my prayer. Let all mine enemies be ashamed and sore vexed: let them return and be ashamed suddenly.

Comments to munch on:
Our true enemies, that lead us away from God are workers of iniquity. David is confident that God heard his prayer and that all his enemies should be ashamed. It is interesting that God hears the "voice of our tears," the silent words that we have difficulty uttering. He knows our hearts. Cf., Romans 8:26-28.

(nourish your soul)

1. When we have trouble, the proper action is to pray with the confidence that God does hear our prayers. Should we do this? Do we?
2. When people are oppressed by illness or problems it is natural to wonder: "Is God angry with me? What have I done to deserve this?" In Godís providential love he may be allow- ing us to suffer in order to instruct us and help us to grow stronger (James 1:3). In other words, he "chastens" us in love. If we think this may be happening for our benefit, how should we feel toward God? Can troubles and trial sometimes cause us to draw closer to God?

(fragments overlooked)

It is easy to become impatient with God when we are hurting. We want and expect him to fix our problems, remove our enemies, and heal our illness "quickly." How long must we hurt? "How long, O Lord?" is the question of the ages but perhaps we should ask: How long will he be patient with us?

Edward Thomason - copyright © 2000