Summer in the Psalms: Psalms 6 - What to Do When You Mess Up Big Time with God

Summer-in-the-PsalmsHave you ever sinned in what the world considers a “big way”? Have you ever messed up so badly that you felt ashamed? Did this shame cause you to try to hide from God? If so, you’re not alone. Join the club. Many have felt the same way.

Throughout the Bible, we read about individuals who messed up big time with God. David, the writer of Psalm 6 committed adultery and got the woman pregnant. Then, my favorite character in the Bible, tries to cover everything up by arranging for Bathsheba’s husband to be killed. Really, I can’t make this stuff up! If you haven’t read that story, you should (2 Samuel 11). It’s shocking. No matter how you feel about the Bible, you can’t say is boring.

It’s easy to see why David might feel ashamed and run from God. But he’s just one example. Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation, lied about his wife not once but twice and each time gave her to another man (Genesis 20)! All this time, you thought you had trust issues in your relationships.

Truth is, we have all had mistakes, failures in judgment, sins (if you’re brave enough to call it sin) that keep us up at night. These are times in our life we so desperately wish we could do over, but we can’t. We’ve messed up big time! So, what do we do? We hide from God. That will fix it, right?

As we know from David in Psalm 6, he did just the opposite. He ran to God when he screwed up, and we should do the same thing. The world and Satan will try to convince you to run away in shame; we need to do the exact opposite and draw closer to God when things get desperate.

Why Knowing God Matters During These Times

When you are in a dark state of mind, look for the light. God is light and love. When you need to remember who God is, focus on Scripture. For example, recite and memorize 1 Corinthians 13:4-8:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.”

Assess the state of your heart by considering what love is and what it is not. As we read in 1 John 4:8, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” No matter how you have sinned, your Savior is merciful to those who believe and repent. His love covers all sins for everyone who believes. When you feel like hiding from God, this is the most important time to know Him.

Look at David. Psalm 6 is a psalm of repentance. It is his cry for help during the midnight’s despair. He could hide in shame and run from God; instead, he remembered who God is and what God does. In Psalm 6, David recalls God’s mercy, healing, deliverance, and salvation. When you feel like you have done something devastating, cling to what you know about God.

Let’s deepen our understanding by looking at this psalm in more detail.

The Tired Singer (v. 1-3)

Psalm 6 begins with David expressing the weight of the sin he carries. In the first three verses, we make three observations about David:

  1. His health was poor.
  2. His discipline was in doubt.
  3. His mind was troubled.

In the opening verses, David acknowledges his sin by asking the Lord not to rebuke him in anger or to discipline him in wrath. However, David is not simply asking for a “get out of jail free” card. He is truly remorseful and sorrowful. His soul is in anguish. Yet, He runs to the Lord and asks for mercy and healing.

The Prayer of the Singer (v. 4-7)

The psalms are filled with prayers of rejoicing, thanksgiving, praise, and repentance. Psalm 6 is a prayer of repentance. As we read or listen to David’s words, we feel his brokenness. David understood the importance of prayer in all circumstances.


We will never have time for prayer; we must make time.
--Richard Foster


In verses 4-7, David continues to express his sorrow over sin, but he also makes his needs clear to God. David asks God to do the following:

  1. Deliver me (v. 4).
  2. Remember me (v. 5).
  3. Hear me (v. 6).
  4. Save me (v. 4).

Why? Because David knows God! Prayer is how we communicate with God. We read His word, and we spend time in prayer to get to know God better. Through his established relationship with God, David knows God hears and answers prayer, and David calls upon the Lord in repentance. Like David, in our brokenness, we should say, “Turn, Lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love” (v. 4).


Behind every work of God,
you will always find some kneeling form.
-- Dwight L. Moody


The Restoration of the Singer (v. 8-10)


The three secrets to successful ministry are
prayer, prayer, and more prayer.
-- Billy Graham


David knows God; therefore, he knows God can restore him from his brokenness. David is truly repentant and mourning his sin. This is not simply a case of “getting caught” – David recognized that his sin separated him from his heavenly father, and David knows that he serves a God of healing.

His belief in God’s power to forgive and restore leads David to make several proclamations at the end of Psalm 6. He tells those who do evil to depart because he knows God has fulfilled the following promises:

  1. God heard his prayer (v. 8).
  2. God accepted his sacrifice (v. 9).
  3. God redeemed his soul (v. 10).

When you mess up big time with God, do not let the world or Satan convince you that God does not love or forgive you. Repent of your sin and place your faith in Jesus alone for eternal life. Remember his promises and fall at his feet.


“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret,
but worldly sorrow brings death (2 Corinthians 7:10).”