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!
The outline of the Psalm is show below:
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)
B Lesson from experience
The Psalmist shares his experience of what life was like for him when he had unconfessed sin. This had a debilitating effect upon his sense of wellbeing. His anguish was like a wasting away of his bones, all his strength was sapping away. In Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones (ch 37) the bones signify the hopelessness and meaningless of life lived apart from God. It does not necessarily mean that the Psalmist was ill, but that the face of the Lord had been turned away from him and he no longer enjoyed the Lord’s presence. Day and night the disciplining hand of the Lord was heavy upon him. The Lord’s discipline was as intense as the baking heat of the sun. His strength was sapped away and he withered away like a plant in the parching sun. The Psalmist found no relief until he finally acknowledged his sin. Again we find the Psalmist using three different words to describe his sin: sin, iniquity and transgression. His act of repentance is also described in three ways: he acknowledged, did not cover up and he confessed. The Lord then forgave the guilt of his sin. The sin is forgiven, and the feeling of guilt is taken away.
C God’s protection (v6-7)
Suffering or illness need not be considered as discipline for sin. We should be careful about presuming to know why we are ill or why someone else is ill. Remember Job experienced an incredible amount of suffering and he was not guilty of sinning. However, any kind of suffering or other adversity ought to direct us to God in prayer. The Psalmist says the faithful should pray while God may be found. The Psalmist’s experience of the grace of God encourages him to point others to the Lord. There is a sense of urgency for us to seek the Lord because while God’s presence is always with us, God is not always available to be found. Our reluctance to confess our sins leads to delay and compounds the possibility of human error. God does not make Himself readily available to those who seek Him only in times of extreme distress. The Psalmist is encouraging us to have a relationship of trust and reliance on God to be built in times of relative freedom from adversity, so that when the mighty waters of trouble rise they will not overcome us. They will find a refuge in the Lord. The Lord is a hiding place, a place to shelter from adversity.
The importance of the Psalms is mentioned here. We are surrounded by songs of deliverance. We have been surrounding ourselves with these songs of deliverance everyday since the lock down started and perhaps many have spent a lifetime in the Psalms. The singing and praying of the Psalms should be part of our lives and in these songs our hearts will be encouraged.
Lord our God, help us not to be slow in coming to confess our sins. Help us to grow in confidence and in trust so that when difficulty comes into our lives that we will find in You a hiding place. Help us we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.