O Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger,
or discipline me in your wrath.
The Psalmist begins this song in a state of terror. The entire song is centered around terror; the fear of death, of suffering, and the total lack of power.
The heart cries out to the only one who can save it,
Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing;
O Lord, heal me, for my bones are shaking with terror.
What is this illness that he suffers? He is dying. Or, he thinks it. His body is giving way to the grasp of death—heal me! But it is not only his body that suffers:
My soul is also struck with terror,
while you, O Lord—how long?
The reader is struck with the incomplete thought, followed only by a desperate plea for a quick recovery. While you… how long?
This is the cry of the soul in terror, in anguish. It is aware just enough to know how bad things are, and disturbed enough not even to finish a thought—only a question remains. How long must I wait?
And then, the soul attempts a plea—an appeal to reason:
Turn, O Lord, save my life;
deliver me for the sake of your steadfast love.
Why should God deliver you? Because that is who God is. So do this then—heal me—for your namesake, to reveal your mercy. And also:
For in death there is no remembrance of you;
in Sheol who can give you praise?
What good would it be if I were to die here like this? Death is a finality, the end of life, and, subsequently, the end of my praising you.
But we must read this spiritually. For we know that through Christ, “death is swallowed up in victory.” Death is not a finality, we will be raised. But the second death could only have been conquered by Christ.
I am weary with moaning
every night I flood by bed with tears
This illness has lasted for a season. God, hear my prayer. Please!
My eyes waste away because of grief;
they grow weak because of all my foes.
Has this illness not been caused by anxiety itself? Over those who seek to end his life? Over the enemy who waits at his door, seeking to kill and destroy? Where, then, is rest? And here is the crux of the matter:
Depart from me, all you workers of evil
The Psalmist’s command is not to his illness, but rather those who do evil around him. It is the unjust, the unrighteous—those who seek their will above the Lord’s—who have caused his state. What is his illness? Terror and its effects.
And why must those who call it go?
for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping.
The Lord has heard my supplication
the Lord accepts my prayer.
The Psalmist here shows why he is not an evildoer—his faith. In the midst of his terror he trusts in the goodness and mercy of the Lord. Even in the midst of misery and anguish, he trusts in the Lord and his goodness.
All my enemies shall be ashamed and struck with terror;
they shall turn back, and in a moment be put to shame.
The roles here shall be reversed—and not through justice, but rather mercy!
I fear for my life,
heal me, O Lord.
I trust in you,
the source of my illness will be vanquished.