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A Psalm of Repentance

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
September 13, 2021 8:00 am

A Psalm of Repentance

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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September 13, 2021 8:00 am

Psalm chapter 6 describes David, a great king and man after God’s own heart, stuck in a place of utter hopelessness and despair. Join us for The Bible Study Hour with Dr. James Boice. We’ll discuss the complex issue of depression and discover that this modern psychological hot topic is really not so modern after all. In fact, depression is as old as sin itself.

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Psalms chapter 6 describes David a great King and man after God's own heart stuck in a place of utter hopelessness and despair. Thanks for joining us today for this broadcast of the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce will discuss the complex issue of depression and discover that this modern psychological hot topic is really not so modern after all.

In fact, depression is as old as sin itself to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically in times of trial.

Our hope comes not from our ability to pray well, but rather from God's ability to love us well. We've been studying the Psalms together. As you know as far as our progression through the solar is concerned, we have, only as far as Psalm six. It's the first of the so-called penitential Saul penitential Psalm is a Psalm in which the psalmist confesses his sin and ask God.

Forgiveness number of them, and further on Psalms 32, 38, 51, 102 and 31, 43, best known of them is Psalm 51 is introduced as a song written by David after his adultery with Bathsheba. When Nathan came to lamps await know that well that's a classic song, repentance, and yet this is one as well. Please Psalms the ones I just mentioned were some by the Christians in the early church on Ash Wednesday as an expression of confession of sin and although they not always been used on that day, but it been used on other days in the history of the church that is frequently the way they been employed.

Now I call this a Psalm of repentance. Following that tradition.

What I think is the judgment of the majority of the commentators but it's fair to say upfront and I think this is helpful, that it's not quite so easy to classify Saul very easy to classify Psalm 51 clear that David is Cindy's asking for forgiveness.

He spells it out explains how God answers that we can understand with this one as I say isn't quite so clear one thing, there is no specific confession of sin seem to be concerned about it but he doesn't actually confession. Specifically, there's no specific repentance or expression of repentance.

This is led some commentators to say well it's really misclassified if you call it a Psalm of repentance is really a Psalm in sickness are the best commentators best contemporary handlers of the song Peter Craig treats it that way.

He says here is a man who is in anguish and body physically and sees that as a judgment of God. And it's really out of his sickness that he cries the other hand, as you look at the Psalm. It's hard to be convinced that that's what's involved either one can understand that David here feels such grief over some sin that is affecting him physically, but it's hard to understand how if all he is experiencing a sickness that he should call out as he does in verse one, oh Lord.

Do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath. Maybe that's what he's doing but little bit difficult understand actually what we probably have here is the consciousness of sin in a more general sense, which is led to what we would talk about in our culture and our concern for psychology and such as a severe case of depression. David whether for some looming great in his mind, or merely sense of his own unworthiness and sinfulness in general is so burdened down by that. So afflicted that it has actually begun to take its toll on him physically. So it's out of this distress, which on the one hand is physical and on the other hand, and much more importantly a spiritual that he cries God is what some of the old writers used to call the dark night of the soul ever heard that expression dark night of the soul does reflect many does afflict Christians number of books have been written about that kind of depression. Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones was so aware of that, among members of his congregation after World War II that he wrote a book about occult spiritual depression. Its causes and cures been very helpful to many people.

Multnomah press published another book by Baptist minister named Don Baker who suffered severe depression was hospitalized for it in the wart called 70 which he refers to in the book in God brought him through that fee was delivered from it and is back in the ministry again and that has been very helpful to many people, so obviously something becomes quite often I don't mean to suggest by that by talking about books on depression and then referring to.

This is a Psalm of repentance that all depression is a direct result of sin many different things because depression, sometimes simply physical factors do it, but because all of us are simple question is generally related in some major sin, at least in our depressed state.

We become increasingly conscious of it or it may well be that sin so affects us and we feel so guilty because of what we have done that. We are depressed as a result, whenever it is. And I say that because the Psalm itself does not make explicit what the cause is whatever it is it's a condition that many of us know many of us who work with people, particularly the pastors here are aware that it's a common affliction in our day. So we will look at the Psalm to see how David handles it and what God does Psalm is divided into four sections according to the poetic form way that international version handles and that's not wrong in terms of the content of the Psalm.

It really has two parts, rather than for verse seven verses which are the largest portion of the Psalm are an expression of Islamist anguish and anxiety. He talked about it in a variety of ways and then in the latter portion of the Psalm last three verses eight through 10 suddenly becomes aware of God's deliverance. That's the way we want to look at it and I encourage you to look at the first section, not so much analytically, but rather for what it says to us about psalmist condition ensure that whether or not you've experienced severe depression. We talk about this you'll find does describe things you and I sense and one way or another, intensely or mildly at numerous times in our Christian life reversing. We sense, as we read the Psalm is that David is very aware of God's disapproval or his wrath is the way he starts it out, Lord. Do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath. I asked the question. Is she aware of some sin which God is disciplining and that may well be or is he simply afflicted, modeling, or in some other way. Any senses that God must be punishing them for something that we doesn't quite understand what it is. So I don't know the Psalm doesn't say that may well be in your experience. If you have something as well. Something particularly oppressive comes into your life. You feel discouraged by downcast the more you think about it the more depressed you because when you say what is the cause of that is that because of some great sin I've done is God punishing me for the sin maybe may well be.

Maybe God is using that to bring that sin to your attention so you'll confession turn from it and find forgiveness, but it may just be that something you don't quite know what it is.

Whatever the cause, it doesn't help still in the midst of the depression. You wonder how to deal with this example, suppose you're a young person.

Your parents are getting a divorce is a very traumatic experience. Sometimes young people cover a lot parents. I all they're doing all right there handling it, but generally they don't leaves its mark. Sometimes it shows up later. Many young people to go through something like that say well what if I done your whole world is falling apart, you say certainly I done something it must be my fault. It's very characteristic among children, particularly not their fault, but it's the way they feel so kind of depression sets in. It may be something like that. Suppose you're having trouble at work. Traumatic experience with your job. Maybe you've even lost her job may be that certain age of life where it's hard to go on and think of taking up another position.

Maybe you feel that nobody would want you or maybe you're leaving your work under a cloud, you're leaving something bad behind you wonder how your ever going to get references. I'm like I can be very depressing and you find yourself wondering what in the world am I going to do what you want to say to God, is this the Lord. Do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath gets a divorce. Maybe your husband is leaving you. Maybe your wife is sleeping yet I did used to happen much in evangelical churches even happen much less in society as a whole generation or so and all that's happening all the time these days.

You may be saying what I do is it my fault is God punishing me you may be saying no more. Do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath. Maybe your sick.

Maybe you're experiencing some kind of acute sickness. Eventually these messages will be heard on the radio heard on the Bible study hour by many people who were sick weren't able to get out go to church. It becomes their church, their sense of nourishment and people in sickbed somewhere unable to get out of able to enjoy the kind of fellowship and worship experiences that we have say what is God doing what is wrong. I just don't understand it. And often there's a great deal depression that results. I don't know the cause of that. But I do know the experience.

So when we read the Psalm is the first point at which we can identify with.

There is David sensing God's great disapproval wrath. The second thing he has experiencing see that easily, as well. He has since the loss of God's presence is one thing to feel that God is angry with you. But suppose God isn't even there. Rosie seems to have turned away from you and when you call to them. You don't get an answer. David is reflecting that in verse four, because there he says turn our Lord and deliver me. The Hebrew verb actually means turn back turned completely around what it implies is that God has turned his back on David needs marching off in a different direction.

David is calling out after me saying God turn around and come back.

Deliver me. I need help, but in his depression seems very much that God is gone gone through that ever times when God doesn't seem to be around doesn't seem to be listening had the woman here not long ago who has experienced case of severe depression and her complaint is this God doesn't answer my prayers feel like that. I'm sure you have the common experience and you say well what is happening. Things seem to be going downhill is 1/3 thing. David describes you find it in verse six and following he has been losing sleep unable to get to sleep at night.

I suppose after talking about sense of God's wrath displeasure in the fact that God perhaps is turned away sense of loss of his presence to talk about a loss of sleep seems almost trivial but isn't trivial if you're going through it lying there awake night after night, unable to go to sleep get that kind of refreshment that you particularly need seems very very desperate time people talk about that say that those hours of the night, when you lie awake at the worst of all, the daytime may be depressed. You may be unable to function very well but somehow you struggle through when you come home, get in bed at night in July.

There wide awake all the long hours of the night go by, you know you have to start it again in the next morning, sometimes times like that are accompanied by tears. David apparently experience that he said I am worn out from my groaning all night long. I flood my bed with weeping and wrenched my couch with tears. My eyes grow weak with sorrow. I fail because of all my photos. I'm sure if you experience something like that. And particularly if you're experiencing something like that. Now that last thing you want is a simple answer Pollyanna kind of solution, let me suggest one thing that might be helpful.

That is to remember that this is King David who is describing this from his own experience. David was not an unsuccessful man. It was not a weak man the greatest king Israel ever had and he was enormously successful.

But here was this great successful, intelligent, spiritual, strong man spirit dancing back kind of loss of sleep and anguish.

So if you go through something like that it is some help to know that people like King David of experienced it to. I suppose it is proper to say that it is often the strong though experience something like this. Most Martin Luther did you know Martin Luther, the leader of the Reformation. Sometimes he got so depressed, he began to doubt even the value of the Reformation that which God had worked at him to bring about Charles Haddon Spurgeon is another he had severe depression was brought on by a physical condition what they called doubt those days. Eventually was adopted children, but he was very depressed as a result great men say then that God greatly used it yet without experience so wrapped itself to go through something like that to realize that you're not alone. Other people have experienced up to as 1/4 thing in the last thing I want to mention in terms of the psalmists display and that is his total spiritual and bodily fatigue mentions that several times he says in verse to be merciful to me oh Lord Ryan thinks verse six. He says I am worn out from groaning known people who have gone through last. They have become so spawned so depressed.

Their sense of God having left them that they find themselves, to try really to do anything too tired to get out of bed in the morning and get dressed to tired to get in the car and drive off to work too tired to go to church to tired to clean the house to tired to wash the dishes too tired to make the meals to tired to read the Bible to tired even to pray.

Sometimes when you go through something like that you find yourself saying, as David does, at the very end of verse three. How long will Lord how long it's about the only thing you can pray reading what Charles Spurgeon had to say about this all when I discovered there that he refers in his analysis of verse three to John Calvin John Calvin at a favorite prayer. John Calvin prayed in Latin that his prayer was this the only night was quake well that means Margaret know she has Latin.

It means how long will Lord how long that was John Calvin's favorite prayer because of the many misunderstandings he endured the dangers he face burdens the more as being in the forefront of the Reformation. Here is David praying the same thing. How long will Lord how long ago were pray that you're in fix. You don't know when you're going to get out of it and all you can find yourself saying is Lord, how long is this going to go on how long before you deliver well as an analysis of the problem. I'm sure we can identify with it at different points like you to see now is the psalmists hope and that emerges in these verses as well.

What is this hocus-pocus in God you noticed as you've looked at those first versus how many time the word Lord occurs occurs five times in four verses look at it. Oh Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger to support me in your wrath. Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am faint. Oh Lord, heal me for my bones are in anguish. My soul is in anguish.

How long will Lord how long. Turn Lord and deliver me, save me because of your own mailing love is a made sense that God is angry with them or at least wonder if God is in. He may have no sense at all of God being present but nevertheless Jehovah redeeming God is still is not. God is still there may not sense his there God is always there, so any praise, whether it's out of sheer force of habit for disciplining our faith or whatever it may be the reason when he prays it still the name of Jehovah that he finds on his lips, old Lord Jehovah, Lord Jehovah, Lord Jehovah. I praise again and again and that is his hope, not that he is strong in faith, not that he can repent adequately not certainly that he can figure out what is happening because it's very clear from the Psalm that he can't but his hope is in the name of the Lord is upon Lord that he calls but as he asked God to do well is prayer simple.

We saw when we were studying the last Psalm that even when David was very conscious of being set off from the evildoers around him. He didn't want to be like them. One act that way all nevertheless returns to God and praise is not on the basis of his own self-righteousness. He doesn't say here me because I'm not like them nothing of the sort. That's the way the Pharisee prayed. I thank you that I'm not like other men, especially not like this tax collector. Pray that way.

David prayed on the basis of God's mercy did exactly what the tax collector did not be merciful to me a sinner and he does the same thing here says in verse three. Be merciful to me, Lord.

And in verse four. Save me because of your unfailing love is a God is his hope he turns to God and the character of God, mercy, and the unfailing love of God is that which he turns she pleads with God in the basis of that he gives reasons for it. He says be merciful to me, for I am faint you will Lord because my bones are in anguish, my soul is in agony repeats those things three times. It is never wrong to appeal to God on the basis of your weakness.

He knows that your week psalmists is later on in the psaltery, knows our frame, he remembers that we are dust knows exactly how weak you are and it's to such people, ready, send.

That's what David hoped for. That's what he's praying for all Lord. He says be merciful to me here me your may respond in your unfailing love, and of course that's exactly what God does. If there's a turning point in the soul. This is it. When David turns to God and calls upon them as is Lord, sometimes the commentators look at this and I find trouble with it because they say that difference in tone between the first seven verses in the last three verses assault brought something obviously must intervene re-commentators that do that they can never take it for what it says. Some of them suggest.

While this is prayer that he came to the temple with 3.47 verses as a serious commentator site one of your professional theologian or Bible student you have to read that in between his giving that after you prayed the first part one of the priests came with an Oracle for consent. God said so and so and then he says wonderful verse eight, the Lord is heard by weeping. Imagine commentator saying that how on sensitively are to what's really going on what's happened here, why does the tone changed between verses seven and eight. Obviously, because God heard this prayer God gave them a sense deep in his soul deep in his bones as we would say that he had been heard. Never had that experience.

I hope you have through the midst of the depression you might not be having it now, but I trust at some point as you prayed, you had that sense that God really is heard you don't know what is going to do this, a change in the 10 series is heard by weeping and heard my cry for mercy and then at x-rays where it says he accepts my prayer that actually becomes a future. He is accepting my prayer in the sense it is going to answer it someday does know what that answer is going to be, but he does know God is heard. So when God hears them the burden rolls away you're experiencing depression.

I don't know when that's going to come for you. It may be delayed a long time sometime is I pray that it won't and it will come quickly, but it will come because God is here prayers of his people.

He does answer and he does deliver you remember the book I referred to earlier. The book on depression but by the Baptist minister elsewhere.

The end of that his experiences God heard his prayer. I want to read it to you because I think it's an expression of real hope and genuine experience and I trust will be an encouragement if you're discouraged now. This man's name is I said was Don Baker. He had spent months in therapy. Then, in a special ward for the dangerously depressed but he been released from that it was on the way to recovery. He was way by himself violate the family had a cottage praying for a long time to be kneeling by a couch room of the cottage and here's how he tells what happens.

I continued, he says to nearby that counts long after the tears dried in the prayer is finished.

I noticed as I remained there that things felt difference. Nothing ecstatic or noisy. Nothing high-powered or sensational.

I just felt different. As I examined that feeling. I became aware of strengthen my slims objects before my eyes I saw I felt I heard possible was slick cloud finally gone my world come alive again stood and moved carefully at first, feeling the sensations the awareness the strength was it real. Is it back to this day, I began thanking and praising God, singing and laughing.

I put on my shoes and went outside and ran down the hillside more falling than running Marni's cabin to where carpenters were building a new dining hall. One of my deacons was there working. I shouted to them, Jerry, I'm all right. Thank you for praying he looked bewildered and unbelieving. He needed time but eventually to rejoice at the reality of what had finally come full circle.

I continued to walk with vigor for the full 3 miles around the lake. I sang I cried. I laughed, I prayed. I quoted Scripture I talked to the birds. I talked to the trees.

To this day I'm grateful. No one saw me, because I would've been shipped back toward 70 for sure is that he yourself is that acceptable story well. It may be perhaps it is but it's a genuine story. It's real man is back in the ministry. What I want to suggest is that that's what happens eventually those who turn to God, but because they turn to God strongly because they repent of sin. Well, because of God because God is still there and he is a merciful God hears his people and restores again and again pray father lesson study to our hearts study was foreman with David obviously has poured out his heart telling openly the very clear way what he experienced C since.

Half-life in which you seem to of left him. But, in which she found you again because you and always been with them, pray that you would use this study in the lives of many were experienced exactly that kind of abandonment and depression encourage them cause them to hang in there, continuing to call upon your name, name of the Redeemer, Jehovah, and then in time bring them to the fullness of the blessing of your presence. Once again, Jesus, thank you for listening to this message from the Bible study our listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance is a coalition of pastors, scholars and churchmen who hold to the historic creeds and confessions of the reformed faith and who proclaim biblical doctrine in order to foster a reformed awakening in today's church. To learn more about the alliance visit alliance and while you're there, visit our online store reformed resources.

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