Psalm 6 Sermon From March 2012 Prayer Service
Mount Olive Lutheran Church / Rev. Ted A. Giese /Wednesday March 7th2012: The Season ofLentPsalm 6. “From Showbread to Supper, a Prayer Answered”
O LORD, rebuke me not in Your anger,
nor discipline me in Your wrath.
Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am languishing;
heal me, O LORD, for my bones are troubled.
My soul also is greatly troubled.
But You, O LORD—how long?
Turn, O LORD, deliver my life;
save me for the sake of Your steadfast love.
For in death there is no remembrance of You;
in Sheol who will give You praise?
I am weary with my moaning;
every night I flood my bed with tears;
I drench my couch with my weeping.
My eye wastes away because of grief;
it grows weak because of all my foes.
Depart from me, all you workers of evil,
for the LORD has heard the sound of my weeping.
The LORD has heard my plea;
the LORD accepts my prayer.
All my enemies shall be ashamed and greatly troubled;
they shall turn back and be put to shame in a moment.
(Psalm 6 ESV)
Let us pray: May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight O Lord. Amen.
Grace peace and mercy to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Good Christian Friends. Psalm 6 is a lament over “the great, yet hidden, suffering of the conscience when on account of sin, one’s faith and hope are tormented by the law and anger of God.” It is a lament on account of deep despair. This is more troublesome than a dark depression; in fact in earlier times the word “despair” was linked with a ‘giving up on ones faith.’ So Psalm 6 wrestles with a serious concern in the life of a believer. This again is a Psalm of King David and in it the mighty warrior and man after God’s own heart is troubled to the point of despair saying “I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping. My eye wastes away because of grief; it grows weak because of all my foes.” Here is a man in need of relief from his suffering; David’s in need of strength, in need of forgiveness, in need of a fresh start, in need of something to cling to in the hour of darkness.
Where will David find his relief, where will he find relief for the sorrow which has troubled him to the bone and has troubled his soul? David earnestly asks! “But you, O LORD—how long? Turn, O LORD, deliver my life; save me for the sake of your steadfast love.” How long until I’m saved? This is a longing prayer for the coming incarnation, for the time of salvation in Christ Jesus; the time when God would graciously come, incarnate, in body and blood, to rescue David and all who languish. And David’s question leads us to the topic for this evening’s Lenten Service. At the annunciation the incarnation began, in the womb of Mary the Holy Spirit began a miracle that we celebrate with great joy each Christmas (God made flesh Who has come to dwell among us); this promised baby born of Mary, our Immanuel: Jesus, the answer to David’s prayer. This same Jesus said, following His Crucifixion and Resurrection that He would be with us always to the end of the age. Before His death upon the cross, for our sin, Jesus our LORD gave us a holy meal, the Lord’s Supper, (His supper) and in it the weak and despairing, the ones troubled by their sins, who desire to make amends in their wretchedness, all these repentant followers of Jesus take refuge. Trusting that in the meal Jesus their LORD does as He says He will do. That Jesus comes to them in His Body and in His Blood; that the wait for Jesus to come and relieve the suffering, and sorrow over sin with His promised forgiveness happens there in the meal. A meal linked intimately with the crucifixion. When David asks “How Long?” the answer is this: “your life is delivered by the steadfast love of God at the cross and that steadfast love is shared to you both in your baptism and placed in your mouth at the meal.’ David received it as a promise of things to come: trust that this salvation is both retroactive and active; it flows from the cross backward to David and forward to us. Unfortunately some don’t see the meal as a means by which God’s grace is shared.
Lutherans simply believed the Word of God that is read in the Bible. We confess that the Sacrament of the Altar, this blessed meal “is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the bread and wine, instituted by Christ Himself for us Christians to eat and to drink.” Regrettably, there are many who hear Jesus’ words and refuse to believe them. In doing so they would tell the suffering King David of Psalm 6, ‘your rescue will be spiritual in nature; you will have nothing tangible to place your trust in this side of paradise.’ Yet David had had a foretaste of the Supper to come when David had eaten the “bread of the Presence,” the Showbread, from the tabernacle. The “bread of the Presence” was a tangible indication of God’s Holiness, set aside not for consumption but for adoration, a kind of bread pointing forward to the bread of the Lord’s Supper. While it was an exceptional set of circumstances that put the “bread of the Presence” into their hands, nevertheless, this was something David and his men could handle in their hands and grasp onto.
As Lutheran Christians we confess that the bread and wine in the Sacrament are not mere bread and wine, such as are served at our dinner table, “but this is bread and wine included in, and connected with, God’s Word” (LC V 9), set aside for holy use, set aside for us to eat and drink. We know that Jesus can never lie or deceive so when Jesus says, “This is my body. This is my blood,” we trust this and grasp onto the truth of it for our comfort. If in our moaning, in our trouble, in our suffering, in our grief we knew not what great gift Jesus puts into our hand how much should we be pitied? It would be like giving a beggar a gold coin when he had no knowledge of currency or commerce, when he had no idea that he could use it to relive his hunger. So too, with the gift of Holy Communion, if you didn’t know that by the Meal Jesus forgave sins, or that by the His Supper He personally and physically comes to you to comfort you in your weariness and distress, to give you strength for the trouble you are in, how sad would this be?
Thanks be to God that there is forgiveness of sins in the Sacrament, and that because of this it can be called food for the soul. And thanks be to God that we have been taught this faithfully from the Holy Scriptures, that we have been taught that in the Meal we truly do we receive nourishment to refresh and strengthen our faith. For if we did not know this we would be in frequent danger of falling into David’s deep despair.
As it is, if you are honest with yourself, you’d confess that your Christian life is a struggle too. The Bible tells us that the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. King David in Psalm 6 shows his contempt of those who desire to ruin him in his faith saying to them,“Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the LORD has heard the sound of my weeping. The LORD has heard my plea; the LORD accepts my prayer.” Between the devil, the world, and individuals who want to see you weakened in your relationship with God the Father, those who want to see you cut off from God, between them and you stands Jesus! Because of Jesus you can say with David in Psalm 6, “All my enemies shall be ashamed and greatly troubled; they shall turn back and be put to shame in a moment.”
When the road is long and the way is difficult, Jesus gives you His Holy Supper to strengthen you for the struggle, to give you courage in the face of discouragement, and to embolden you for battle. Jesus defeated sin, death, and the devil by the sacrifice of His body and blood on the cross. His work is done. Forgiveness of sins is secured. He gives you this treasure through His Holy Word. You receive it by faith. He makes it personal for you by connecting His forgiving Word to the bread and the wine, His body and blood, that you eat and you drink. This is the benefit and effectiveness of the Sacrament. What David longed for in his distress is yours here this night!
In the Large Catechism we are reminded, concerning Holy Communion, that, “Whoever now accepts these words and believes that what they declare is true has forgiveness. But whoever does not believe it has nothing” (LC V 35).
Some may come to the Holy Supper but refuse to see what God has offered there. Jesus has placed a treasure on the Table, but some ignore it and walk away without any benefit from the Supper at all. In fact, St. Paul tells us that anyone coming to the Holy Supper without faith “eats and drinks judgment on himself”.
On the other hand, whoever believes the words has what they declare. Jesus says, “This is my body. This is my blood given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” Here Jesus offers and promises forgiveness of sins. It is received by faith. The benefits and blessings of Baptism cannot be seized with a fist, but this treasure is received and made yours with the heart (LC V 36). 
On Sunday morning at the beginning of each service I or Pastor Terry pronounces the forgiveness of sins and from the pulpit we proclaim Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection for the salvation of souls. However, at times, even after hearing this, people may feel that their sins are so great or that their faith is so weak that this forgiveness must be only for the other people around them. Like those people, you, too, may believe that the salvation won by Christ on the cross is for everyone else, but the pastor really never meant it for you.
But when you come to the Sacrament and kneel before the altar, when you take and eat the true body of your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ given for you for the forgiveness of sins, and when you take and drink the true blood of your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ shed for you for the forgiveness of sins, then there can be no doubt that this treasure is yours: That the relief that David longed for in Psalm 6 is meant for you. At that very moment there is no uncertainty that you are the one eating and drinking and that the blessings and benefits of the Holy Supper are meant directly and absolutely for you. Jesus Intends You to Have the Riches of the Treasure: Forgiveness of Sins, Life, and Salvation. Amen.
Let us pray: LORD, have mercy on us; Christ, have mercy on us; LORD, have mercy on us, “take our minds and think through them, take our lips and speak through them, take our hearts and set them on fire; for the sake of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Amen.”
 Reading the Psalms with Luther, Concordia Publishing House 2007, pg24.
 Matthew 28
 1 Samuel 21:1-9
 Titus 1:2
1 Peter 5:8
 1 Corinthians 11:29
 Luther's Large Catechism, Tapert Edition. 1529.