Text: Psalm 32
Happiness is ‘…an unexpected piece of chocolate’, ‘…Friday’; ‘…being married to your best friend’.
Here is the biblical answer.
1. Problem confronted, 3-5
‘Don’t be negative’. ‘I know I’m not perfect’. ‘Don’t go to church to be told I’m a sinner, I go to to be comforted, to be uplifted’.
Synonyms: rebellion, wandering away, twistedness.
How ridiculous to think that we can hide our sin from the all-seeing eye of God. Yet ever since the days of Adam and Eve people have been trying to do precisely that.
Effects of cover-up, v3: ‘my bones wasted away’, ‘groaning all day long’, ‘my strength was sapped’. Sleeplessness, fatigue, depression, irritability.
‘Your hand was heavy upon me’, v4. Isa 6 – ‘Woe to me!. I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the Lord.’ Peter – ‘Depart from me, for I am a sinful man.’
Put it into words. Look God in the eye, and say, “Look at me. Look at who I am. Look at what I’ve done.”
‘All the fitness he requireth…’
2. Burden lifted, v1f.
‘Blessed’ = ‘Happy’.
‘Transgressions forgiven’ (carried away)
‘Sins are covered’ (atoned for; they now belong to the past, and will not be brought up again)
‘Sin not count against us’
Not long before she died in 1988, Marghanita Laski, well-known secular humanist and novelist, said, “What I envy about you Christians is your forgiveness; I have nobody to forgive me.” Stott, The Contemporary Christian, 48
Someone has called forgiveness ‘the most healing force in the world.’
3. Others encouraged, v6ff
Everyone must come to God this way. ’Poor souls are apt to think that all those whom they read or hear of to be gone to heaven, went thither because they were so good and so holy…Yet not one of them, not any one that is now in heaven (Jesus Christ alone excepted), did ever come thither any other way but by forgiveness of sins’ (John Owen).
Everyone a sinner. Sins of omission and commission. Sins of the boardroom and of the bedroom. Impulsive sins and dispositional sins. Notorious sins and secret sins.
‘I will counsel you and watch over you’, v8 – probably the Psalmist (rather than the Lord) speaking.
Don’t be stubborn, v9. Some choose to bear the burden of unforgiven sin rather than confess it. But the climb-down is worth it.
To know we are forgiven by God prompts us to forgive one another. ‘He that demands mercy, and shows none, ruins the bridge over which he himself is to pass.’ (Thomas Adams)
This a gospel-psalm, a favourite of Martin Luther. Rom 4:6-8, ‘David…speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works.’ In the Cross we see (a) the problem of sin confronted; (b) how God has lifted the burden; (c) the essence of our message to one another and to the world, which is to point to Jesus, whom God has sent to be our Savour: no longer lost, but found; no longer enemies, but friends; no longer rebels, but allies.