Bible Book: Psalms  6 : 1-10
Subject: Repentance; Forgiveness
Series: Psalms - Kirksey

At this time of year when people think of love, let me encourage you to maintain your love relationship between you and the Lord; you and your spouse, you and your children. We are imperfect and we need forgiveness, therefore, we need repentance. The key to maintaining all of our relationships is repentance.

Rev. Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892) shares, “This Psalm is commonly known as the first of the PENITENTIAL PSALMS, the other six are 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, 143, (The other six are 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, 143) and certainly its language well becomes the lip of a penitent, for it expresses at once the sorrow, (verses 3, 6, 7), the humiliation (verses 2 and 4), and the hatred of sin (verse 8), which are the unfailing marks of the contrite spirit when it turns to God.”[1]

Isaiah the prophet, writes in Isaiah 57:15, “For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.”

William Cowper (1731-1800), the great hymn writer, penned the following words in a poem titled, “The Contrite Heart”:

The Lord will happiness divine

On contrite hearts bestow;

Then tell me, gracious God, is mine

A contrite heart, or no'

I hear, but seem to hear in vain,

Insensible as steel’

If ought is felt, ‘tis only pain,

To find I cannot feel.

I sometimes think myself inclined

To love Thee, if I could;

But often feel another mind,

Averse to all that’s good.

My best desires are faint and few,

I fain would strive for more;

But when I cry, “My strength renew!”

Seem weaker than before.

Thy saints are comforted, I know,

And love Thy house of prayer;

I therefore go where others go,

But find no comfort there.

Oh make this heart rejoice or ache;

Decide this doubt for me;

And if it be not broken, break—

And heal it, if it be![2]

Drs. Richard L. Ganz and William J. Edgar share the following in Sold Out!

How the Evangelical Church is Abandoning God for Self-Fulfillment: A Warning:

“Churches want to hear nice, optimistic messages, free of mention of sin or a call for repentance. Churches want nice, clean programs, directed at nice, clean families, leading to growth without sacrifice. They want their organization to become bigger and bigger, even as their God becomes smaller and smaller.”[3]

Dr. Daniel L. Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, North Carolina, reminds us, “Penitence is not penance.”[4] Dr. H. A. Ironside (1876-1951) former pastor of Moody Memorial Church in Chicago, Illinois, states, “Repentance is a recognition of the need of grace, not an act of merit opposed to grace.”[5] Repentance is an about face, it is a change of mind and heart that leads to a change of direction. Kent Crockett states, “Repentance means we love our Savior more than we love our sin.”[6]

Psalm 6 is marked by genuine repentance. Here we read, “O Lord, do not rebuke me in Your anger, Nor chasten me in Your hot displeasure. Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am weak; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are troubled. My soul also is greatly troubled; But You, O Lord—how long? Return, O Lord, deliver me! Oh, save me for Your mercies’ sake! For in death there is no remembrance of You; In the grave who will give You thanks? I am weary with my groaning; All night I make my bed swim; I drench my couch with my tears. My eye wastes away because of grief; It grows old because of all my enemies. Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity; For the Lord has heard the voice of my weeping. The Lord has heard my supplication; The Lord will receive my prayer. Let all my enemies be ashamed and greatly troubled; Let them turn back and be ashamed suddenly.”

Notice three issues related to this prayer recorded in Psalm 6.

I. Here we find a perennial experience.

Dr. Alexander Maclaren (1826-1910) calls it “a perennial experience.” He explains, “It is needless to look for a historical occasion of the Psalm; but to an ear that knows the tones of sorrow, or to a heart that has itself uttered them, the supposition that in these pathetic cries we hear only a representative Israelite bewailing the national ruin sounds singularly artificial. If ever the throb of personal anguish found tears and a voice, it does so in this Psalm. Whoever wrote it wrote with his blood. There are in it no obvious references to events in the recorded life of David, and hence the ascription of it to him must rest on something else than the interpretation of the Psalm. The worth of this little plaintive cry depends on quite other considerations than the discovery of the name of the singer, or the nature of his sorrow. It is a transcript of a perennial experience, a guide for a road which all feet have to travel. Its stream runs turbid and broken at first, but calms and clears as it flows. It has four curves or windings, which can scarcely be called strophes without making too artificial a framework for such a simple and spontaneous gush of feeling.”[7]

While the psalmist suffered affliction under the chastening hand of the Almighty, his adversaries viciously attacked him. They gloated over his condition saying it was hopeless. Dr. James Moorhouse (1826-1915) explains, “From vers. 7-10 we conclude that the sufferer is brought into great and grievous peril by the arts of malicious enemies. But we may better seek the origin of his distress in influences of a more inward and spiritual character.”[8] Dr. Joseph Parker (1830-1902) observes, “The numbers of a man’s enemies may be a tribute to the very greatness which they desire to modify or over-throw.”[9]

II. Here we find a penitent’s expectation.

Someone said, “David was a great sinner but he was a great ‘repenter.’” These days, it is rare to hear a person confess to be a sinner, but just because someone says, “I have sinned,” does not mean they have genuinely repented. On another occasion David really did repent when he said, “I have sinned” to Nathan the prophet (2 Samuel 12:13). He realizes his sin was not just against himself, or his nation, but ultimately it was against God. He confesses in Psalm 51:1-4a, “Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight.” The rest of Psalm 51 and Psalm 32 contain David’s written confession of sin. David also said, “I have sinned,” in 2 Samuel 24:10 as he repented of another matter.

Another one who said, “I have sinned,” was Nehemiah. He writes in Nehemiah 1:4-11, “So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven. And I said: ‘I pray, Lord God of heaven, O great and awesome God, You who keep Your covenant and mercy with those who love You and observe Your commandments, please let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open, that You may hear the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You now, day and night, for the children of Israel Your servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel which we have sinned against You. Both my father’s house and I have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against You, and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses. Remember, I pray, the word that You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations; but if you return to Me, and keep My commandments and do them, though some of you were cast out to the farthest part of the heavens, yet I will gather them from there, and bring them to the place which I have chosen as a dwelling for My name.’ Now these are Your servants and Your people, whom You have redeemed by Your great power, and by Your strong hand. O Lord, I pray, please let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant, and to the prayer of Your servants who desire to fear Your name; and let Your servant prosper this day, I pray, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.”

Micah the prophet, also said, “I have sinned,” as he identified with the nation. In Micah 7:8-13 we read, ‘Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; When I fall, I will arise; When I sit in darkness, The Lord will be a light to me. I will bear the indignation of the Lord, Because I have sinned against Him, Until He pleads my case And executes justice for me. He will bring me forth to the light; I will see His righteousness. Then she who is my enemy will see, And shame will cover her who said to me, ‘Where is the Lord your God?’ My eyes will see her; Now she will be trampled down Like mud in the streets. In the day when your walls are to be built, In that day the decree shall go far and wide. In that day they shall come to you From Assyria and the fortified cities, From the fortress to the River, From sea to sea, And mountain to mountain. Yet the land shall be desolate Because of those who dwell in it, And for the fruit of their deeds.”

When we think about the nation of Israel, we think about our nation, the United States of America, blessed by God second only to the nation of Israel. We do not need to look far to see things of which we should repent.

Jeff Carroll shares, “True repentance has a double aspect; it looks upon things past with a weeping eye, and upon the future with a watchful eye.”[10]

Confessing sin without forsaking sin is not genuine repentance. Proverbs 28:13 reads, “He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.” An unknown author wrote, “There is a radical distinction between natural regret and God-given repentance. The flesh can feel remorse, acknowledge its evil deeds, and be ashamed of itself. However, this sort of disgust with past actions can be quickly shrugged off, and the individual can soon go back to his old wicked ways.”[11] Paul the apostle writes in 2 Corinthians 7:10, “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.” Simon Peter illustrates the first part of this verse as he genuinely repents of his denial of our Lord Jesus Christ. He received God’s mercy and continued serving the Lord. On the other hand, after betraying our Lord, Judas Iscariot demonstrates the sorrow of the world by hanging himself.

Just because someone says, “I am sorry,” does not mean they have genuinely repented. Many people expect mercy without genuine repentance. The only way to receive God’s mercy is by repentance.

Dr. J. C. Ryle (1816-1900) states, “One thief on the cross was saved, that none should despair; and only one, that none should presume.”[12] The only difference between the two thieves is that one repented and the other did not. Repentance is the key to eternal life and the key to abundant life. Without repentance you will have neither eternal life nor abundant life.

III. Here we find a petition expressed.

As the psalmist cries out in misery he cries out for mercy (Psalm 6:1-7a). He also cries out for justice (Psalm 6:7b-10) where we read, “It [my eye] grows old because of all my enemies. Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity; For the Lord has heard the voice of my weeping. The Lord has heard my supplication; The Lord will receive my prayer. Let all my enemies be ashamed and greatly troubled; Let them turn back and be ashamed suddenly.” Dr. William De Witte Alexander writes, “A difficulty is often felt in reading or repeating these imprecations. These denunciations are appalling, withering.”[13] The second part of this psalm seems inconsistent with the first part, as the psalmist moves from praying for mercy to praying for justice. Remember, the psalmist is justly suffering under the chastening hand of almighty God and he is suffering unjustly from those who do not have a love relationship with God. Those outside of a love relationship with God do not understand the chastening of God. Beware if you can sin and not receive the chastening of God. The writer to the Hebrews writes in Hebrews 12:5b-8, “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.’ If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.”

Paul the apostle writes in 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2, “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you, and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith.” Remember the psalmist’s cry for justice is that he may be delivered from those who oppose the will and work of God, who have no concept of the chastening of God.


Rev. Archibald Symson (1564-1628), former pastor of the church at Dalkeith in Scotland and author of A Sacred Septenarie, or, A Godly and Fruitfull Exposition on the Seven Psalmes of Repentance (1638), explains, “In our affliction we must look to God, and not to secondary causes. To go to God for help in our distresses. When, then, we are wounded, we must go to one who can cure us, even Him who hath heaved us up, and cast us down again, and will again raise us up. Prayer is our wings to fly to God in our affliction.”[14]

Sir Richard Baker (1568-1645) comments on Psalm 6:6-7, “Oh let my remembering thee in life supply the place of my forgetting thee in death; and when I lie in my grave senseless and silent, be pleased to remember how I have lain in my bed sighing and weeping.”[15] Rev. Joseph S. Exell (1849-1909) added the following prefatory remark, “Repentance in time will be remembered when repentance is impossible.”[16]

Hebrews 12:14-17 reads, “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.”

Jesus said to the church in Thyatira, “Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works” (Revelation 2:20-23).

Remember Jesus commanded five of the seven churches of Asia Minor to repent or else. What does the Lord think about this church? What does the Lord think about you? What does the Lord think about me? It matters much more than you might think.

The psalmist, David, writes in Psalm 32:6 “everyone who is godly shall pray to You In a time when You may be found.” The prophet, Isaiah, writes in Isaiah 55:6-7, “Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the Lord, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.”

Someone said, “People on earth hate to hear the word Repent! Those in hell wish they could hear it one more time!” God in mercy calls us to repentance.

[1]Charles H. Spurgeon, The Treasury of David, Psalm 6, Accessed: 02/03/14,

[2]Olney Hymns, William Cowper, from Cowper’s Poems, Sheldon & Company, New York, Accessed: 02/09/14,

[3]Richard L. Ganz and William J. Edgar, Sold Out! How the Evangelical Church is Abandoning God for Self-Fulfillment: A Warning, (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: Onward Press, 1990) cited by Skip Heitzig, God Print: Making Your Mark for Christ, (Alachua, FL: Bridge-Logos, 2009), ch. 4.

[4]Daniel L. Akin, A Theology for the Church, (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2007), 730, Database © 2007 WORDsearch Corp.

[5]H. A. Ironside, cited in Gordon R. Lewis and Bruce A. Demarest, Integrative Theology, vol. 3 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994), 100.

[6]Kent Crockett, "Definition of Repentance," Accessed: .

[7]Alexander Maclaren, The Psalms, vol. 1, Third Edition, (New York: A. C. Armstrong and Son, 1896), 50

[8]The Biblical Illustrator, ed. Joseph S. Exell, Psalms, vol. 1, (New York: Fleming H. Revell Company,1887), 107

[9]Illustrator, Exell, 49

[10]Jeff Carroll, 6,000 Plus Illustrations for Communicating Biblical Truths, “Repentance,” “A Double Aspect,” Database © 2012 WORDsearch Corp.

[11]Henry G. Bosch, Our Daily Bread, “True Repentance,” Monday, July 16, Accessed: 02/08/14,

[12]J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, St. Matthew, (London: Wertheim and MacIntosh, 1856), 250

[13]William De Witte Alexander, The Great Question and Other Sermons, (New York: Thomas Whittaker, 1886), 109.

[14]Illustrator, Exell, 101

[15]Sir Richard Baker, Meditations and Disquisitions upon the First Psalm; The Penitential Psalms; and Seven Consolatory Psalms, [originally published as Meditations and Disquisitions upon the Seven Psalms of David Commonly Called the Penitential Psalms, (London: John Dawson, 1639)] (London: Charles Higham, 1882), 120-121.

[16]Illustrator, Exell, 108

Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey, The Secrets of the Psalter: Discover Unclaimed Treasure All Rights Reserved © 2014

By Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey, pastor First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort 30775 Jay Drive Spanish Fort, Alabama 36527

Author of Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice Available on and / / (251) 626-6210

© February 9, 2014 All Rights Reserved