Psalm 6:1-6 Crime and Punishment

For the director of music. With stringed instruments. According to sheminith. A psalm of David.

Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger
    or discipline me in your wrath.
Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint;
    heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony.
My soul is in deep anguish.
    How long, Lord, how long?
Turn, Lord, and deliver me;
    save me because of your unfailing love.
Among the dead no one proclaims your name.
    Who praises you from the grave?
I am worn out from my groaning.
                                                  - Psalm 6:1-6

David had his share of bad days: hunted and reviled by his king and mentor Saul; his own kingdom turned upside down by his son trying to take the throne; even losing an infant child. David had many blessings in his life, but a lot of messed up stuff happened, too, most of which he brought on himself.
Whether a mob of soldiers is hunting you, or the bank is sending a couple of college kids to your house to repossess your car, there are moments when we cry out to God - not as one who will come on a white horse to rescue us, but as the cause of our pain.

How many people assume all bad things happening in their life is God punishing them? Is this true, or could guilt over something we’ve done make us assume He is mad and is sending punishment upon us? Stories in the Old Testament don't hinder this perception. The world is evil and gets flooded; Sodom and Gomorrah are sexually immoral so a meteor is sent to destroy the cities. When David has an affair with Bathsheba and sets her husband up to be killed in battle, a prophet reveals the child they eventually share together will die because of this sin.

Action and reaction. Crime and punishment. Throughout history life is filled with this message. Amid this mindset, Jesus' message of love is a paradigm shift, both in His day and ours. He hands a Get out of Jail Free card to everyone who asks. He isn't literally opening jail doors and letting people who've committed a crime free, nor does he preach that laws of the land should be abolished. Rather, we are forgiven in the long run for what we've done, if we simply ask for that forgiveness. Rather than wallowing in misery because of our actions, we turn away from them and look at Him for a better way to live.

I can only imagine what time in prison does to your self-image. Jesus offers to show you how much you are loved - more than you can ever imagine – in spite of this, and that the life you have now is not the end of Life Itself, it's only the beginning. He is preparing a place for you which is so much better than anything you've known here (John 14:3). If events in your life have left you feeling alone, abandoned, without any real connections to people, Jesus shows you that He is right there with you, and will open doors to places and opportunities we wouldn't have realized were around us. This life, right now, can be full of love and purpose and friendship, even before we are led to a perfect life with Him forever.

When you say yes to a relationship with Him, your physical situation might not change, but your outlook will. A love relationship opens for us many new possibilities. If we trust and lean into Him, He'll turn our world upside down (in a good way). It might not always be an easy road, but it will be Good (capital G) – whatever that might mean in our life.


Father, You want good things for Your children, but we make mistakes, and often mess up the life we're given. As we live with the consequences of our own actions, hold us close and steer our lives towards one that is perfect and whole, with You.