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We have all done things in our life that we need forgiven. We have sinned against God, we have hurt others, and we have been embittered by others actions. If we allow these things to fester in our life, we will become miserable. In order to be a healthy Christian, we need forgiveness. We need God to forgive us, and we need to forgive others. Psalm 32 addresses the problem of forgiveness. As McCaw writes, "The joy of forgiveness. This Psalm deals with the blessedness which is known when sin is forgiven...."
In Romans 4:6-8, Paul quotes from Psalm 32, "So also David pronounces a blessing upon the man to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works: Blessed are those whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not reckon his sin. "
Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
When we go to God with our sins, our transgressions are forgiven. They are covered up as if we never did them. Whenever we have a Pot Luck in the Fellowship Hall, we use some tables that look pretty beaten up. But what we do is cover them with a table cloth, and then they look lovely. You dont think that right underneath all this food is a stained, ugly table top. All you see is the brightly colored tablecloth.
Thats the way it is with our sins. God covers them up and we never see them again.
As Psalm 103:12 tells us, "as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us." And Micah 7:19 says, "He will again have compassion upon us, he will tread our iniquities under foot. Thou wilt cast all our sins into the depths of the sea."
Blessed is the man to whom the LORD imputes no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
The Hebrew word used here for deceit < hy@Fmir:> rmiyyah seems to indicate a laxness in perception, and could indicate being dishonest with ones self as well as dishonest to others. When a man is honest with himself, he realizes he has a need to come to God for forgiveness.
This is what John means when he wrote in 1 John 1:8-9, "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
So let us not deceive ourselves. A patient cant get the cure until hes ready to admit that hes sick. When we come to the Great Physician of our soul, we know that we will receive mercy and pardon.
When I declared not my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.
When we continue to deceive ourselves and we refuse to acknowledge our sin, then we dry up inside. We feel awful inside as if we are being drained by the scorching heat. What is really happening is our spirit is in turmoil because it longs to be in communion with God, but our rebellious attitude keeps us out of Gods throne room of blessings. The result is we feel miserable.
Spurgeon comments, "...better suffer all the diseases which flesh is heir to, than lie under the crushing sense of the wrath of almighty God. The Spanish Inquisition with all its tortures was nothing to the inquest which conscience holds within the heart."
I acknowledged my sin to thee, and I did not hide my iniquity; I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD"; then thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin.
Notice the progression in this verse. First, David acknowledges his sin. We must admit our faults to God. Next, it says he did not hide his iniquity. Sometime we dont want to examine ourselves too closely. We like fooling ourselves into thinking that everything is all right. Well, David did not hide his iniquity. We shouldnt either. The third thing we see him doing is confessing his transgressions to the Lord. Yes, God already knows what our sins are, but he wants us to come before him and confess our transgressions to him. As we do this, we will sense God taking them from us and cleansing our soul. Finally, David says, then you did forgive the guilt of my sin. First, he acknowledged his sin, he did not hide it, then he confessed it to God, and then he receives the mercy and pardon from Christ. This is an important process.
Oswald Chambers wrote, "Conviction of sin is one of the rarest things that ever strikes a man. It is the threshold of an understanding of God. Jesus Christ said that when the Holy Spirit came He would convict of sin, and when the Holy Spirit rouses a mans conscience and brings him into the presence of God, it is not his relationship with men that bothers him, but his relationship with God.... Repentance always brings a man to this point: I have sinned. The surest sign that God is at work is when a man says that and means it."
Therefore let every one who is godly offer prayer to thee; at a time of distress, in the rush of great waters, they shall not reach him. Thou art a hiding place for me, thou preservest me from trouble; thou dost encompass me with deliverance.
After we experience forgiveness, then the barrier between us and God is removed. We can boldly come to him. We have a new relationship with Christ. We no longer look at him as our harsh judge or our adversary, but now we see him as one who is our friend and helper.
Look at the beautiful promises in these two verses made to the one who has been forgiven. When we are forgiven, we can freely offer prayers to God. We can come to him in times of distress even when great flooding waters are threatening to rush over us. Verse 7 tells us that God is now our hiding place. Before we committed our life to Christ, we felt like hiding from him. We felt uncomfortable in church, and we didnt like people talking to us about religion. But now instead of hiding from God we find that he is our hiding place. God preserves us in trouble. He surrounds us with deliverance.
Notice the stark contrast between verses 6-7 and verses 3-4. Before David confessed his sin to God, he was miserable. He felt like his body was wasting away under a scorching heat. But now he is confident in God. His faith is restored. What happened? He turned to the Lord and asked forgiveness. God did this for David. He will do the same for you.
I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
This verse and the next verse has God speaking to David, and to us. God tells us that he will teach us the way we should go. Not only does he forgive us, but he also gives us guidance and direction. There may be things in your life that you have struggled over for years. You may feel that you cannot overcome them. You see it as a weakness in your character, a flaw in your personality. You feel weak and hopeless. God did not say to come to him for forgiveness only when you were able to conquer sin in your life. No, he only said to come to him to receive forgiveness.
After we come to him, then he begins instructing us how we can overcome those weak areas in our life. He teaches us how to trust him more and how to overcome our sinful impulses. He not only forgives our sin, but he helps us so that we will overcome the sin.
Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, else it will not keep with you.
Well, you can tell this verse was written for us. Sometimes we can be like a horse or a mule, not understanding Gods ways. But remember he has promised that he would instruct us. Let us be willing to receive the instruction. The horse and the mule have to be turned about by bit and bridle. God doesnt want to jerk us around. He wants us to willingly follow him.
Spurgeon remarks, "Understanding separates man from a brute let us not act as if we were devoid of it. Men should take counsel and advice, and be ready to run where wisdom points them the way. Alas! we need to be cautioned against stupidity of heart, for we are very apt to fall into it. We who ought to be as the angels, readily become as the beasts."
Many are the pangs of the wicked; but steadfast love surrounds him who trusts in the LORD.
Let us not experience the pangs of disobedience, but let us trust the Lord and feel Gods steadfast love surrounding us. In 1623 John Donne wrote this poem which is just as appropriate for us today as it was 375 years ago.
Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!
When we are forgiven, we experience a true spiritual cleansing. We feel like a new person. As David, we will be glad in the Lord, we will feel like rejoicing, we will want to shout for joy. All because of Gods mercy to us.
Thomas Aquinas experienced the same joy in 1269 when he wrote, "That uplifting of the soul ensues from the sorrow which is according to God, because it brings with it the hope of the forgiveness of sin."
Have you been carrying guilt in your heart for years? Do you feel overwhelmed inside of your soul? Come to God for forgiveness. He has promised to meet you at his throne of mercy. Be free of the misery, of the bitterness, of the anger. Allow God to forgive you.
This study on Psalm 32 © 1997 by David Humpal. All rights reserved.
McCaw: The New Bible Commentary, pg. 434, 1954 edition, William B.
Eerdmans Publishing Company