Psalm 32: Blessed Is the One Whose Transgression Is Forgiven
February 9, 2022
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Contrary to expectation, blessing (happiness, joy, the best life) comes neither from a pretended sinless perfection, nor from a free-wheeling, licentious lifestyle. Blessing is not to be able to follow all the rules all the time without mistake. Blessing is also not to do whatever you want whenever you want however you want. Blessing is not pretending to be able to live always as perfectly righteous in everything. Nor is blessing rebellion.
We tend to think that these are the only two options: being the older brother who stays at home with his father and does exactly what he thinks is right; or being the younger brother who squanders his money in loose living. But there is a third option, a gospel option, and that third way is to recognize our own need and ask God for forgiveness. “Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.”
The Pharisee thinks there is no sin that needs to be forgiven. Licentious people do not want their sin forgiven, but merely to live more freely and (they think) fully. But the ones who are truly blessed are the ones who acknowledge their sin and find forgiveness.
Perhaps you are not experiencing blessing in the way you wished. Perhaps the reason is that either you think there is no sin that needs forgiving, or that you have not confessed that sin. Perhaps you are experiencing the trauma of verses 3 and 4. “Bones” wasting away. Unconfessed sin actually hurts. It physically affects our bones, our bodies-not just our moods, but our physical makeup too. We are psychosomatic wholes, and when the soul is sick, it is not uncommon for the body to experience a sense of disease too. There can be “groaning,” a sense of heaviness and being ill at ease. Your strength can feel as if it is dried up like in the heat of summer. You have no energy. Lifeless.
What to do? Acknowledge your sin to God (32:5). Confess to the Lord. And God will forgive your sin. And so David encourages the “godly” to so confess their sins. A mark of a godly man is not the pretended holiness of the Pharisee who claims to have no sin. Godly people are ones who confess their sin. They offer prayer at a time when God may be found. That is, when you sense conviction of sin, right then confess your sin to God. Do not delay. If you harden your heart, there may come a time when you no longer are sensitive to your sin at all.
In verses 8 and 9, God now directly addresses the sinner. God wants to instruct us and teach us in the way we should go. Do not be like the “horse” or “mule” which has no understanding, and must be corrected with bit and bridle. That is, be sensitive to your sin, confess it, have that “understanding” to ask God for forgiveness. And do not be like a mule with no understanding, and find that you must be corrected by God’s discipline. While God is near, while he “can be found,” while you sense conviction upon you, right there and then confess your sins to God.
And then comes the blessed response: “Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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