Scripture: Psalm 32
Psalm 32 is an expression of David’s awareness of sin and of the joy which comes with forgiveness.
The greatest blessing of our salvation, at least from the viewpoint of our experience, is the forgiveness of sins. We do not feel our justification, our adoption as God’s children, or our sanctification — though we may experience the results of them in our lives. But when we come to Christ with our sins with the assurance that he paid the penalty for all of them, we feel the joy of forgiveness from the One who really matters.
David spoke of real forgiveness through God our Father, not merely a quieting of conscience or a feeling of peace, but a feeling of ‘oneness’ with God, protected by God – hidden in the shelter of His wings.
The first verses set the tone for the whole psalm:
Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one against whose sin the Lord does not count against them, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. (Psalm 32.1-2)
In Romans chapter five, the apostle Paul quotes these verses to show that justification by faith was experienced in the Old Testament. Both Abraham (Genesis 15.6) and David (Psalm 32) are held forth as believers before the coming of Christ who knew the forgiveness of sins by faith and without works. The two passages are connected because they both use the word ‘count.’
And [Abraham] believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness (Genesis 15.6).
Blessed is the one against whose sin the Lord does not count against them (Psalm 32.2)
Many people have the idea that Old Testament people were saved by obeying the law. A careful reading of the Old Testament would not lead to that conclusion. This psalm particularly indicates that David rejoiced in the forgiveness of sins. His acceptance with God was not based on his perfect obedience to God; it was because his sin was covered and the LORD counted no iniquity against him.
Psalm 32 was written by David for worshippers to use when they come to God. He held his guilt inside until it made him physically sick (v 3–4). Then he went to God and confessed his sin and found God to be a forgiving God (v 5). Note, then, how he encourages worshippers to go to God with their sins:
Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach him (Psalm 32.6).
We have ‘all sinned and fall short of the glory of God’. We are all caught up in the sin of the fallen world we live in, and very often we are sinning by making ourselves the centre of the universe. There is too much of the ‘me, me’ focus but life is not all about us. God does not want our offerings, He wants our hearts. He wants us to open up to Him and admit our failings and then to be glad to be in a renewed relationship with Him, searching for Him in prayer and finding solitude in Him.
Why should we hold our sin inside when we have a forgiving God? We can go to him at any time and acknowledge our sin to Him and, because of Jesus, we will find that he is accepting and loving.
This Psalm gives repeated and compelling reasons for the believer to be glad, to rejoice, and to shout for joy. It appropriately ends with a call for God’s people to remember and respond to the joy of His forgiveness. This deep joy is hat gives us hope even when others are despairing.
Faith tells us sin is not the final word.
Pray today that God would grant you true faith in Him.
“Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous; and shout for joy, all you upright in heart.” (v11)