Year C – 4th Sunday of Lent – Psalm 32

How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
Whose sin is covered!
How blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity,
And in whose spirit there is no deceit!

When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away
Through my groaning all day long.
For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;
My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. Selah.
I acknowledged my sin to You,
And my iniquity I did not hide;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”;
And You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah.
Therefore, let everyone who is godly pray to You in a time when You may be found;
Surely in a flood of great waters they will not reach him.
You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble;
You surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go;
I will counsel you with My eye upon you.
Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding,
Whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check,
Otherwise they will not come near to you.
Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
But he who trusts in the Lord, lovingkindness shall surround him.
Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous ones;
And shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart.

Summary – We may see this Psalm as consisting in 4 parts:  Intro (1-2), Unconfessed sin (3-4), Confession of Sin (5-7), and Outro (8-11).  The Intro and Outro mirror each other, while Unconfessed Sin and Confession of sin negatively mirror each other.  In the Intro and Outro, we find that the one who has his sins forgiven is “blessed,” and those who trust in the Lord are loved.  These people have much to be joyful and thankful about (v 11).  The middle two sections give a set-up (Unconfessed Sin) and the resolution/remedy (Confession of Sin).  David’s personal state as he lived in unconfessed sin is one of abject misery.  His “body wasted away,” he “groaned,” and his “vitality was drained away.”  This is effected by God’s hand (v 4).  But when he finally decides to confess his sins, just like that God “forgave the guilt” of his sins (v 5).  David then exhorts other believers, on the basis of his own experience, to confess sins for as Isaiah 55 says, God will “abundantly pardon.”

Insight – In a county where there are many Amish folks, the sight of a horse-and-buggy is not unusual for us.  I am often amazed at the calm of the horses despite noisy vehicles flying past them at alarming rates.  However, I know that part of the reason for that is their “blinders” which block out the horse’s peripheral vision so they can only see the road ahead.  They also have bits, bridles, and reigns which keep them in the correct part of the road.  With this picture in mind, it is easy to see what David means when he tells us in Psalm 32 to not “be as the horse or mule who have no understanding.”  David admits that he struggled with sin and that God’s hand was heavy upon him to teach him the error of his ways, until he confessed his sins and was forgiven.  I have heard of some Amish horses who know the way home and don’t need to be driven to get there.  David wants us to be more like those kinds of horses.  He tells us that we ought to confess our sins and repent without having to be driven by bit and bridle.  Don’t wait, he says, confess immediately and often.  Keep your accounts short and maintain a forgiven status before God, for lovingkindness will surround you.

Why must you confess your sins?  I must confess my sins to obtain forgiveness from God.

Discussion – Can you think of people in the world who don’t seem to struggle with remorse and misery even though they have unconfessed sin?  Why do you think this is?  Do you think it is actually true?  How does this square with David’s experience?

Prayer – Most merciful God, your forgiveness is more forthcoming and dependable than we deserve, even moreso than we can imagine.  Be praised for your goodness to us, and build in us hearts which always confess our sins with humility and transparence, that we may be forgiven.  We desire to have no deceit in our hearts but to live and walk before you as blessed, for we have no iniquity counted against us.  Be most glorified for your Son’s sacrifice.  Make us the People you have foreordained, those who bear your Name to the world.  We love you, and offer this prayer in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.  Amen.

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