My Bones are Vexed

Psalm 6:2-3.

Have mercy upon me, O LORD; for I am weak: O LORD, heal me; for my bones are vexed.

My soul is also sore vexed: but thou, O LORD, how long?

“My bones are vexed.”

It seems to me that the depths of David’s sin is matched only by the depths of his repentance. His grief over his sin is what earned him being called the man after God’s own heart.

In v. 2, David pleads for mercy. Mercy is defined in terms of being gracious, showing favor, being full of pity toward the offender. God’s great mercy was on display for all to see when His Son, Jesus Christ, was nailed to the cross to die in our place.

David, of course, had not seen that day. He knew, though, that he richly deserved God’s judgment on him for his sin. He didn’t deny his guilt. He did plead for mercy, because he was suffering mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically.

Those vexed bones David mentions? That speaks to me in a whole new way as I age. I took my bones for granted for years, and then they started to fall apart in my lower back. Crumbling bones pinch nerves, and cause intense pain. Have I begged God for relief? Oh yes! And I believe He sends that relief in the form of injections and pain medications that allow me to sleep comfortably and be able to face a new day.

Is my pain caused by sin? Certainly, in light of the fact that we are all born sinners. We inherited our nature to sin from Adam. But is there a specific sin I have committed that has resulted in my very bones being in agony? No, not to my knowledge. It is simply a part of living in a sin-cursed world.

David, however, clearly understood his pain to be the result of his sin. He mentions bones in other Psalms. For example, in Psalm 22, a Messianic Psalm that I hope to study here, Jesus’ body is described as being so dehydrated that even His bones were dry. There are many other references in which bones are mentioned when, under deep grief, the bones are dry and in need of healing.

David was in bad shape when he composed this prayer for mercy and healing. Most important of all, he says that his soul is sore vexed. His grief and guilt over his sin was an agony in his spirit, and he yearned for the chastening to be lighter, to be over, so that he could again find rest and peace with God.

The last words in v. 3 show his pleading: “How long?” While David accepted the chastisement, he also knew he could plead with God for his punishment to be shorter. He longed to be restored to God’s favor, and God desires that same restoration when we step away from Him.

What we tend to forget is that with every sin we commit, there is a consequence. We never escape the the results of our sin and self-indulgement.

There is a law of physics that says that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.When a child jumps on a bed, the equal and opposite reaction is that he’s going to come back down and probably damage something before he lands. When we sin against God, we can expect to come back down with a terrible crash that will cause our bones and our souls to be vexed.

4 thoughts on “My Bones are Vexed

  1. Linda Lee Adams/Lady Quixote

    Thank you for this teaching. I have been wondering how much my physical pain has to do with my past sins, or whether my pain was caused by my sin at all.

    In January of this year, I had an MRI done on my right shoulder. It was difficult to hold still in that uncomfortable, noisy, claustrophobic chamber, but I did my best. As soon as the ordeal was over, I asked the technician if he had gotten a clear image. “Oh yes, it’s textbook,” he exclaimed. After my experience as a nurse, calling the image of my painful right shoulder ‘textbook’ did not bode well.

    I have since seen the images of my shoulder, and it looks very bad. The bones are badly eroded, a large part of the joint is missing, and I have a significant labrum tear. I had not yet turned 69, when the MRI was done. How did my shoulder joint get so badly messed up?

    It took awhile, but then I remembered. When I was 24 years old, the young adult Bible study group that I belonged to went on a deep sea fishing trip off the coast of Galveston. About 100 miles off shore, we were caught in a storm that was just one knot below hurricane force, according to the captain.

    The small ship we were in road the waves like a roller coaster. At one point, a towering wave slammed into the boat, on the seaward side. I was sitting on the side of the deck where the wave hit, with my arms wrapped around the metal railing, hanging on with all of my might. But as the ship went over onto it’s right side, my grip was torn lose and I was flung across the wide deck, slamming into the bulkhead on the opposite side. My right shoulder took the full brunt of that hard hit.

    How we made it out of the storm without capsizing seemed like a miracle. I did not go to a doctor about my injured shoulder, because I didn’t have the money for a doctor bill at that time. If I had gone, I don’t know if anything could have been done to prevent the current state of deterioration. But going by the ‘textbook’ images of my right shoulder, those bones have been vexed ever since.


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