Weds 2 February - Psalm 32
1 Blessed is the one
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
2 Blessed is the one
whose sin the Lord does not count against them
and in whose spirit is no deceit.
3 When I kept silent,
my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night
your hand was heavy on me;
my strength was sapped
as in the heat of summer.
5 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.
6 Therefore let all the faithful pray to you
while you may be found;
surely the rising of the mighty waters
will not reach them.
7 You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.
8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
9 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.
10 Many are the woes of the wicked,
but the Lord’s unfailing love
surrounds the one who trusts in him.
11 Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous;
sing, all you who are upright in heart!
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Meditation on Psalm 32
According to a bible scholar, James Boice, Psalm 32 was St Augustine’s favourite psalm. Augustine had it inscribed on the wall next to his bed before he died so that he could meditate on it better.
The NIV Study Bible notes that this psalm is a ‘grateful testimony of joy for God’s gift of forgiveness towards those who, with integrity, confess their sins and are receptive to God’s rule in their lives.’
Paul reminds us in Ephesians 1:3 that we should ‘praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.’
Paul goes on in the next few verses to explain some of those blessings:
- predestined for adoption
- recipients of divine grace
That’s how our psalm opens up – there is divine blessing on all those who confess their sins.
This is not just ‘happiness’; not just a ‘fuzzy feeling’ (whatever that might be!); not just a smile on our faces but deep-down joy in our hearts.
We don’t know the exact situation that David is referring to – it may be the time when David had Uriah killed in battle, having slept with his wife Bathsheba, resulting in her pregnancy, the birth of a baby who subsequently died. Psalm 51 is certainly a psalm of confession and penitence following that series of events.
Here David is rejoicing in the forgiveness that follows confession.
- THE BLESSINGS OF FORGIVENESS Verses 1-2
Charles Spurgeon reminds us that ‘the word blessed is in the plural – oh the blessednesses. The double joys; the bundles of happiness; the mountains of delight.’
In these opening verses sin is defined in two ways.
- ‘transgressions’ – crossing the line; breaking the rules; defying authority
- ‘sin’ – falling short; missing the mark
But God’s mercy is defined in three ways.
- ‘forgiven’ – the burden has gone; the debt has been paid
- ‘covered’ – no longer visible; buried in the deepest sea (as the chorus says)
- ‘not counted against them’ – the storage file is empty; my sins are gone.
These opening verses themselves cause us to ‘praise Him for His grace and favour.’
- THE PAIN OF UNCONFESSED SIN Verses 3-4
The dangers of silence affect every part of me – physical, emotional, spiritual.
Every part of me aches.
I become listless and lifeless.
I have got nothing left.
I am worn out.
I become like a plant that wilts in the heat of the summer.
Spurgeon helps us again when he writes, ‘God’s hand is very helpful when it uplifts but it is awful when it presses down. Better a world on the shoulder, like Atlas, than God’s hand on the heart, like David.’
- THE RELIEF OF CONFESSED SINS Verses 5-6
‘Then…’ This is David’s light-bulb moment. He has got to the point of no-return. What should he do?
- he acknowledged his sin
- he took the covers off his sin
- he confessed his sin to the LORD
And how did the LORD respond? The prophet Nathan (2 Samuel 12) didn’t water-down his words when he confronted David – “you are the man.”
David was helpless in the face of that statement, other than to confess his sin – “I have sinned against the LORD.”
Nathan’s response brought the relief of forgiveness when he said to David – “The LORD has taken away your sin.”
And this is how David recognises this great truth in our psalm … “I will confess … you forgave.”
Notice it wasn’t just the sin that was forgiven but the guilt of the sin was removed.
- THE SECURITY OF FORGIVENESS Verses 6-7
Those who seek the LORD will find him.
Those who find Him are safe ‘from the mighty waters.’
In the LORD alone there is safety, shelter and protection.
In the LORD alone there are songs of deliverance.
We can sing of our Redeemer because He has dealt with our sin on the Cross and we can know His forgiveness which never runs dry.
- THE LESSONS TO BE LEARNED Verses 8-9
Here are some words of sound advice as David reflects on his spiritual journey and shares those lessons that the LORD has taught him.
- Let’s learn which way to go as we read our Bibles, as we listen to God’s Word being shared and as we have fellowship with each other
- Let’s not be like the wild animals - hopefully, we will be more sensible. Let the horse and mule go free and havoc may follow because they need guiding and controlling with ‘bit and bridle’.
- We are free because of the freedom which Jesus has won for us on the Cross. Let’s use this freedom wisely as Paul reminds us in Romans 6:18 – ‘you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.’
- THE RESPONSE OF THE REDEEMED Verses 10-11
Whilst the wicked face many dangers, toils and snares, the redeemed can bask in the unfailing love of the LORD.
This love ‘surrounds us.’ Each one of us is loved with an everlasting love.
Therefore we can…
- be glad
How blessed we are.
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