First Sunday in Lent
Happy are they whose transgressions are forgiven, * and whose sin is put away! Happy are they to whom the LORD imputes no guilt, * and in whose spirit there is no guile! While I held my tongue, my bones withered away, * because of my groaning all day long. For your hand was heavy upon me day and night; * my moisture was dried up as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you, * and did not conceal my guilt.I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.” * Then you forgave me the guilt of my sin. Therefore all the faithful will make their prayers to you in time of trouble; * when the great waters overflow, they shall not reach them. You are my hiding-place;you preserve me from trouble; * you surround me with shouts of deliverance.” I will instruct you and teach you in the way that you should go; * I will guide you with my eye. Do not be like horse or mule, which have no understanding; * who must be fitted with bit and bridle, or else they will not stay near you. “Great are the tribulations of the wicked; * but mercy embraces those who trust in the LORD. Be glad, you righteous, and rejoice in the LORD; * shout for joy, all who are true of heart.
Summary – Like Psalm 51 which is perhaps better known, Psalm 32 records David’s confession of sin. In this text David makes clear that when we confess our sins and our transgressions against God’s law, God restores us through this His forgiveness. This Psalm extols God’s forgiveness. Happy is the man to whom the Lord does not impute guilt. This precious truth of God’s forgiveness finds its way into the book of Romans written by St. Paul. Romans 4:6–8 – “Just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: 7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; 8 blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” Paul explains the basis of this free forgiveness is ultimately the work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
Insight – Have you ever led a horse by the bit? Living in Lancaster County Pennsylvania, it’s very common to see an Amish buggy driver controlling horse at a stoplight with the bit and bridle. Sometimes the horse is at ease, but often it looks like the horse is striving against the driver’s control. David makes this point about us. Do not be like one that has to be controlled by external circumstances – A bit and bridle. We are to be those people who confess our sins freely, receive forgiveness freely, and are controlled inwardly by a motivation to do what is truly good. This can only happen by the power of God’s Spirit working within us. We are to be those who freely face our own transgressions. We sometimes fear honestly facing our failures and sinful actions, but only in this do we find the greatest of mercies. “While I held my tongue, my bones withered away” . . . “Then I acknowledged my sin to you . . . Then you forgave me the guilt of my sin.”
Child catechism – What kind of person is happy and blessed? The kind of person that freely confesses their sins to God.
Discussion – When someone is honest with you about their failings, how do you usually respond to them?
Prayer – Heavenly Father, we thank you for your infinite mercies through our Lord Jesus Christ. Grant that we, being always sinful, may more freely acknowledge our own sinfulness so that we may receive your mercy by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit God forever, Amen.