Saturday, July 29, 2017

Psalm 32 - the Blessedness of Forgiveness


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.

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



The smell of a county garbage dump in the summertime can be almost UNBEARABLE.  

After receiving hundreds of complaints, officials in one community installed high-pressured deodorant cannons in an effort to mask the smell. These cannons would spray several gallons of fragrance per minute all around the mounds of decaying garbage.

But no matter how many gallons of deodorant they sprayed, the problem wouldn’t go away until the dump --- was closed.

In many ways, that’s how it is with SIN in our lives.

We may THINK we are successful HIDING our sin from friends and family.  But no matter how clever we are, we cannot hide from God.  

And BEYOND that, no amount of spiritual acrobatics can alleviate the shame we feel or restore the peace we’ve lost because of our sin.  The Holy Spirit is INSIDE us - and ONE of His jobs is to convict us when we sin. We shouldn't be surprised, then, when sin makes us, well, MISERABLE.

King David understood this.  He had tried to cover his sin… and for nearly a year, he did a pretty good job keeping his scandal out of the headlines.  But he couldn’t hide from God.  And like the relentless power of waves crashing on a beach,  sin eroded his peace and joy.

When God confronted David with his sin, all his deceit, all his guilt burst into a river of hot tears on his cheeks.  It almost seems like he was HOPING God would confront him about it.  Psalm 51 was born out of his time of brokenness before God.  Unable to withstand conviction any longer, David uncovered his sin and God forgave and restored him.

In that passage, Psalm 51, David made a promise: “If you will forgive me and restore me, I will teach transgressors Your ways.” THIS psalm, Psalm 32, makes good on that promise.  

I guess you could say these two psalms are sisters reflecting on the same bitter event – one written BEFORE his restoration… the OTHER, after it.

In an effort to teach sinners the way BACK to God, he offers four points…
1.  First, consider the Penalty we face when sin is concealed.  

In verse 3 he says, “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.”

David had always been a HEALTHY man, vibrant and full of life – a warrior - the kind of physical specimen that set him above his peers.  But because he tried to hide his sins from the eyes of the Lord, his guilt sapped every bit of strength he had.  He says, “my bones wasted away.”  He felt OLD – EXHAUSTED.

That’s the thing about sin - the pain created is more than just spiritual – but emotional and physical too.  You don’t believe me?? Look at what alcohol and drugs do to a person – how their sin literally transforms their appearance.

Sexual sins impact us too – mentally, emotionally, and physically.  It's the same with Greed and gluttony too.

David felt the physical toll of his sin.

He had always been a HAPPY man, one whose joy was infectious…a leader of worship…the kind of man others aspire to be – but the moment he sinned his happiness was replaced by tears of guilt he describes as “groaning all day long.”

David had always been a HEARTY man – attractive, whimsical, but not anymore.  He’s miserable.  Though still on the throne, he is a shell of his former self.  What he thought would make him BETTER, had only made him BITTER.

You see??  It’s always that way when we have something WEIGHING on our conscience.

We think we have it hidden.  We think we can keep our sin in a neat little package tucked out of sight in the closet of our minds.  But it doesn’t work that way.  Sin had stretched its tentacles around David’s heart and was choking the life out of him.
Maybe YOU can identify with David.  The thing you thought would make you completehappyfulfilled, has only made those things IMPOSSIBLE to attain.  Until you come clean with God, you will continue to pay the price for your sin.

2.  But not only do we see the Penalty we face when sin is concealed, we THEN see the Pardon we find when sin is confessed.  

Look at verse 5, “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.”

To put it simply ⇒ When David confessed his sin, his Judge PARDONED him.  His guilty verdict was set aside - his record expunged.  

If you are in prison, pardon is what you pray for.

Such was the story of Harold Morris… a young man in the wrong place at the wrong time. Morris was convicted of a crime he didn’t commit.

Unbeknownst to him, his friends went into a convenience store for drinks, robbed the clerk at gunpoint and shot him when the cash was handed over.

Morris, the driver of the car, was framed for murder and sentenced to life in prison.

For years, Morris pleaded with lawyers and judges, exhausted every appeal, told anyone who would listen that he was not guilty – but like MOST convicts who claim innocence, no one believed him.

While in prison, something happened to Morris that forever changed his life.  Someone shared the gospel with him, and for the very first time, he felt clean and, though STILL in prison, he was FREE.

He took correspondence courses and studied the Bible with an insatiable appetite. He began to witness to and win his prison-mates to the Lord.

9 years after his imprisonment, the governor of the state of Georgia reviewed his case and pardoned Morris - restoring all of his rights as a citizen.

Afterwards, Morris traveled the country sharing his testimony to thousands of young people of how he had been TWICE - pardoned. ONCE by the Governor, the OTHER by God.

Unlike Morris, however, David WAS guilty of his crimes.  There was no one to blame – no excuse or justification he could offer.  In his lust he destroyed a good man’s life.  And now he stands guilty before a just God.  

He had NO RIGHT to expect mercy, much less pardon, but he nonetheless flung himself at the feet of his Judge and begged God to set his guilty verdict aside.

And He DID!



Before you harshly criticize David, understand, Pardon is OUR only hope too!  ALL of us are guilty sinners before a holy God.  We have NO RIGHT to expect anything but judgment from Him.  But David shows us from experience that those who come clean with God - WILL BE pardoned!  

As Isaiah the prophet explains, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and HE will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for HE will ABUNDANTLY pardon!

3.  But not only do we see the Penalty we face when sin is concealed, and the Pardon we find when sin is confessed, in vv. 1 and 2 we see the Pleasure we Feel when sin is Cleansed.  

David says, “Blessed (he uses that word TWICE) 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.”

David begins his psalm with worship; and why not, for his sins had been forgiven!  His crimes were covered by the blood.  The Lord no longer held him guilty.  The burden had been lifted.  The stain - removed.  His debt - paid!

THAT FACT ALONE - merits our highest praise, amen??

I realize the Christian life ISN’T about feelings… but there isn’t any BETTER feeling in the world than to be forgiven!  To walk down the aisle to an altar… to kneel down a sinner and stand up a saint!  Friend, you can’t put a price on that!!

David shouts “Blessed” is that man!

It comes from a Hebrew word that means, “Oh the happiness of the man!”  He is describing unmitigated joy!  Like the thrill of falling in love or the feeling that comes over a young mother as she holds her newborn baby – David’s joy washed over his soul as he thought about the unfailing grace of His God!

There isn’t a better experience this side of heaven!

Don’t misunderstand me --- there’s pleasure in sin TOO.  Anyone who denies that isn’t telling you the truth, because God’s Word SAYS there is. THAT pleasure, however, is short-lived.  When David came to his senses and saw the calamity, the death, and the guilt that always follow on the heels of sin, he knew first hand that the pleasure of sin doesn’t last.
BUT when he confessed his sins, the joy he felt at that moment was better than anything he could find in this world.

4.  But wait!  There’s one more point in vv. 6 and 7, and that is the Path we Follow when sin is Conquered.  Listen to it:

“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”

It’s ONE THING to confess your sin, it’s ANOTHER THING to LEAVE that old life behind and go forward committed to honor the Lord.  Unless sin is conquered, you will fall into the rut of so many who pass through the doors of church – Who make a decision for Jesus on Sunday, but on Monday they walk right back into a life of sin.  

People who refuse to do the things they know they ought to do, mark it down – it won’t be long and they will fall right back into the sin they promised to leave.

How can we overcome sin?? David tells us 4 things we need in this passage:

  • First, we need the power of prayer. He says, Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found;

Sin is too big a problem for you to handle alone.  Don’t think you are too smart to be deceived, too strong to fall.  It was that kind of thinking that got you into this mess to start with.  You need the strength that only comes from the power of prayer.

  • Then he speaks of the power of position when he says to God, “You are my hiding place.”  David found refuge in the Rock of Ages… safe from the storm - near the heart of God.  When you find yourself tempted to sin, getting closer to God is always the answer.

  • After the power of prayer and position, David speaks of the Power of Peace when he says, “You preserve me from trouble.”  The Christian life is not a trouble-free life.  But in spite of life’s storms, the Christian has the peace of God.

  • And finally, to conquer sin, David had to lay hold of the power of Praise.  He says, “you surround me with shouts of deliverance.”  

There is something particularly comforting in the songs of the faith.  How many times have we found our hearts lifted by the music of the church?  How many times has our soul rejoiced when we heard some chorus that was like a lifeline to us?  Though grumbling and complaining are powerful DISablers, PRAISE will refresh the soul EVERY time!

Look at Paul and Silas in prison with their backs torn to shreds by a Roman whip - their hands and feet chained to the floor of a dungeon.  But those two precious men of God weren’t bitter – no, they began to sing songs in the night in spite of their troubles and the Spirit of God was so thick in that place that when the walls fell down around them, no one tried to flee - they were captives of the Holy Spirit.

David was surrounded by songs of deliverance… are you??

Christians are not immune to failure – some of the strongest people you have ever met are people who know what it is to fall.  David, a man after God’s own heart, a warrior, a hero of the faith, was a man who knew what it was to see his testimony destroyed in a moment of weakness.

So today, like an expert in human behavior, he shows us how to return, by sharing…
  • the Penalty we Face when sin is Concealed
  • the Pardon we Find when sin is Confessed
  • the Pleasure we Feel when sin is Cleansed
  • and the Path we Follow when sin is Conquered

Do you need God’s help today?  

Maybe you have made some decisions that have led to disappointment and brokenness…

  • your joy is gone.
  • You feel shame
  • You don’t see anything good on your horizon.  

Friend, I’m glad to tell you that my God will forgive you, empower you, will make of you a trophy of His grace.  But you’ve gotta do like David… and come clean.

Will you do that this right now???