Reflections on Scripture

by Wayne Bandy

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Scripture Passage

      Psalm - Chapter 32 (Contemporary English Version)
    1. (A special psalm by David.) Our God, you bless everyone whose sins you forgive and wipe away.
    2. You bless them by saying, "You told me your sins, without trying to hide them, and now I forgive you."
    3. Before I confessed my sins, my bones felt limp, and I groaned all day long.
    4. Night and day your hand weighed heavily on me, and my strength was gone as in the summer heat.
    5. So I confessed my sins and told them all to you. I said, "I'll tell the LORD each one of my sins." Then you forgave me and took away my guilt.
    6. We worship you, Lord, and we should always pray whenever we find out that we have sinned. Then we won't be swept away by a raging flood.
    7. You are my hiding place! You protect me from trouble, and you put songs in my heart because you have saved me.
    8. You said to me, "I will point out the road that you should follow. I will be your teacher and watch over you.
    9. Don't be stupid like horses and mules that must be led with ropes to make them obey."
    10. All kinds of troubles will strike the wicked, but your kindness shields those who trust you, LORD.
    11. And so your good people should celebrate and shout.

Psalms - Chapter 32

Entered: November 05, 2008
David had everything except happiness in the period of his life leading up to this psalm. What he discovered, and is singing about in this psalm, is that happiness consists in having favour with God. "happy is the one whose transgression is forgiven," he says. This is personal testimony, which some believe is reference to his sin related to his affair with Bathesheba and killing of her husband. David went for a time without acknowledging his sin, and this for him was a time of unhappiness. With David's sin in mind, consider verse 2. Even though David had made a huge transgression, he says in verse 2, "happy is the man the LORD does not charge with sin." With David's confession of his sin and the Lord's forgiveness of it, no longer is he charged with that sin. No wonder David was happy. When he kept silent about his sin, verses 3 & 4 tell us he was miserable. The Lord's hand was heavy on him and his strength was drained. But now David is free from all that and he encourages those who are faithful to pray to the Lord. For in Him even great floodwaters cannot reach them. Now, with David's eye on the Lord, he says he will give counsel to others. And his counsel is, "Do not be like a horse or mule, without understanding." The one who must be controlled with bit and bridle will not experience happiness but rather will experience many pains. Instead of this, he counsels others to be glad in the Lord and rejoice.

Entered: December 10, 2013

David expressed through this psalm the joy of being forgiven by God for sin he had tried to ignore. Perhaps he was trying to hide it or even deny it. For a long period he "kept silent" about it. (32:3) But in his silence his guilt ate away at him and God dealt with him. He became so miserable his "bones became brittle from (his) groaning all day long." (32:3) Furthermore, he says, "my strength was drained as in the summer's heat." (32:4)

This is the effect of sin on us. Sin affects us in a variety of ways that we cannot escape as hard as we may try. We become so miserable we are desperate to get rid of the way we feel and turn to any number of things to dull or suppress our misery. But strangely, we often avoid the only thing that will rid us of our misery - confession. David said, "I acknowledged my sin to You and did not conceal my iniquity." When he did, the Lord "took away the guilt" of his sin. (32:5) His misery turned to joy. To one who has not experienced the joy and freedom of confession and the resulting forgiveness God gives, this may seem strange and even foolish. But it is real, and the foolishness is in avoiding it. There is no freedom and no peace like that which comes from confession.

David has a word for those who avoid taking their sin to God in confession. He says, "Do not be like a horse or mule, without understanding, that must be controlled with bit and bridle, or else it will not come near you." (32:9) He goes on to say, "Many pains come to the wicked, but the one who trusts in the LORD will have faithful love surrounding him." (32:10)