Psalm 32: The Blessing of Forgiveness

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Psalm 32

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
    whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,
    and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
    through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
    my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah

I acknowledged my sin to you,
    and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
    and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

Therefore let everyone who is godly
    offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found;
surely in the rush of great waters,
    they shall not reach him.
You are a hiding place for me;
    you preserve me from trouble;
    you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
    I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
    which must be curbed with bit and bridle,
    or it will not stay near you.

10 Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
    but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord.
11 Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous,
    and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

Neighborhood Trees #2 | Cypress, TX | January 2023

Maybe you’ve had to deal with shame and guilt that haunts, stalks, accuses, and imprisons. When we’re racked with guilt it is such sweetness to learn of God’s forgiveness. When we’ve seen over the edge of the abyss between us and God, and realized that we cannot span that chasm, it is such joy to learn that Jesus has spanned it for us. When we realize we have hurt our loved ones, or betrayed God’s trust, or failed again to do the good we know we should, the message of God’s mercy is so precious.

But when we don’t even know we need forgiveness, we still do. In Psalm 19 we are led to pray, “Forgive me of my hidden faults.”  In either case – known sins that plague us, or sins of which we are unaware, David reminds us of the blessing of being forgiven. Although this psalm is numbered before Psalm 51, it may have been written later, and in part a fulfillment of part the the prayer there, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and uphold me with your free spirit. Then I will teach transgressors your ways…” Perhaps this is David’s way of teaching the likes of me the ways of God.

God’s ways are the ways of forgiveness, mercy, grace, and redemption. In fact, we have no other hope than to be forgiven of our sins if we are to live with God who is pure, holy, and just. So it is most certainly true: Blessed is the one transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

It might be that we need to be confronted in our sin – just as David awas by the prophet Nathan. If so, may the Holy Spirit work in our hearts that which he worked in David’s heart. The upshot of that encounter is a beautiful expression of repentance and forgiveness. Such a blessing!

Nathan said to David, “You are the man! …Why have you despised the word of the Lord, to do what is evil in his sight? … 13 David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die.  – 2 Samuel 12:7, 9, 13

It’s nothing we deserve. It is God’s gracious and precious gift – through Jesus, for all who repent and believe.

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