Of David. A maskil.
Blessed is the one
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one
whose sin the Lord does not count against them
and in whose spirit is no deceit.
When I kept silent,
my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
For day and night
your hand was heavy on me;
my strength was sapped
as in the heat of summer.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you
and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, ‘I will confess
my transgressions to the Lord.’
And you forgave
the guilt of my sin.
Therefore let all the faithful pray to you
while you may be found;
surely the rising of the mighty waters
will not reach them.
You are my hiding-place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
Do not be like the horse or the mule,
which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
or they will not come to you.
Many are the woes of the wicked,
but the Lord’s unfailing love
surrounds the one who trusts in him.
Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous;(Ps. 32:1-11 NIV)
sing, all you who are upright in heart!
Ps 32 is one of the seven penitential Psalms (6,32,38,51, 102, 130, 143). Many times we sin and we need guidance on how to find our way back to God. These penitential Psalms serve as such a guide and they also give us reassurance that God forgives our sins.
This prayer of repentance expresses true biblical deep sorrow for sin. Sometimes when we sin we are sorry only because we have been found out, or just sorry about the consequences that have resulted from the sin. It is better for us if we clearly state the sin before God because a forthright repentance gives way to a forthright forgiveness. The Psalmist covenantal relationship has been disturbed and he seeks renewal.
I have not attempted until now to outline the structure of previous Psalms, but the structure here is so helpful in understanding the meaning.
A. Blessing of forgiveness (v1-2)
B Lesson from experience (v3-5)
C God’s protection (v6-7)
D. Promise of wisdom (v8)
B’ Lesson from experience (v 9)
C’ God’s protection (v10)
A’ Rejoicing in forgiveness (v11)
A. Blessing of Forgiveness
Twice the Psalmist mentions the state of the one who is forgiven, it is blessed to be cleansed and have all deceit removed from us.
There are three different words used for sin in Hebrew but the NIV has used sin to translate two different words. The three words are: transgression, sin and iniquity.
Transgression is an act of rebellion against God’s word, an open act of defiance against God’s will. It is important not to tone down the description of sin, because we need more than a toned down forgiveness.
Sin is missing the mark, the failure to live up to the standard that God established in Jesus Christ.
Sin (iniquity) is a crooked or wrong act and is often a conscious and intentional intent to do wrong. These are not different types of sin, but three ways of describing the wrong that we do and what it means for us to do wrong.
The forgiveness of sin is to be found in God alone. We can spend a lot of time wallowing in the misery of sin, but the focus of this Psalm is to shift us to the ground of the blessedness of forgiveness.
We are forgiven – sin is removed, the guilt and the remembrance of sin are taken away.
Our sins are covered – this is the act of atonement by which the sinner is reconciled to God and the sin is a past event, so God never makes mention of it again.
The Lord does not count our sin against us. We are justified, declared innocent in the sight of God.
The believers in the OT knew the blessedness of sins forgiven, but how much greater for us who live this side of the cross.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all(1 Jn. 1:9 NIV)
Lord our God we have to confess that our sin is an ugly thing. As ugly as sin is, the blessedness of forgiveness far outweighs the dreadfulness of sin. We come before You to describe our sin as the utter rebellion that it is. Lord forgive us and help us to enjoy that freedom, liberty and purity that comes from Your forgiveness. Cleanse us we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen