Charles Spurgeon notes that this psalm’s “language well becomes the lip of a penitent, for it expresses all at once the sorrow, the humiliation, and the hatred of sin, which are the unfailing marks of the contrite spirit when it turns to God.” Here is a truism: the one who is genuinely saved cannot sin without feeling the weight of his or her sin. Consider David’s confession in Psalm 51. Consider Isaiah’s cry in Isaiah 6. Consider Paul’s lament in Romans 7.
Perhaps particularly discouraging to us and, at the same time, encouraging is David’s plea in verse 2. I like the KJV translation: “Have mercy upon me, O Lord; for I am weak.” Spurgeon notes, “This is the right way to plead with God if we would prevail.” Indeed! We do not seek to bargain with God, laying out a case of good deeds. We do not plead unfortunate circumstances. We do not present from a position of strength but of weakness. Rather, sin so takes away our pride and self assuredness that we are like a withering flower (Spurgeon) blown away by the slightest breeze. Not only this, but David pleads for deliverance from evil doers and enemies. His plight, from within and without, seems hopeless. Well, not really, for he, as we, have One to whom we can turn: “The Lord has heard the sound of my weeping. The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord accepts my prayer” (6:8-9).
O that the Lord would hear my cry,
And stay his anger lest I die!
Thy wrath is just--yet, Oh, forgive!
And let a mourning sinner live.
Shouldst thou my body crush to dust,
I still must say that God is just;
But yet I hope thy grace to share,
That mercy will the sinner spare. --The Hartford Selection of Hymns (1857)