In this psalm, David is extremely sorry for something he’s done. As I read the following verse, I was just really moved by it.
Psalm 32:5 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.
When a child does something they know is wrong, they often times will hide from their parents. I think in a child’s mind, if maybe they can stay out of sight long enough, the parents will forgive and forget, maybe grow weary of searching for the guilty child. As much as we might try, we can’t hide from God. There’s no place that His eye does not see, no secret your mind or heart can keep shielded from His view. God knows what you’ve done and what you’ve thought.
As I read this psalm, I found inspiration in David’s words in verse 5. I just had this strong thought as I read it. Just get on with confession already! Get it straight with God, acknowledge what you’ve done, thank Him for His forgiveness, ask Him for the strength to truly repent from the sin and turn away from it, then get on with a victorious life. Too often we do something wrong and then we sit and just fester in the aftermath. I’ve been so guilty of this in the past. I’ll commit a sin and then I’ll feel bad, and I’ll just marinate in it. I’ll be disappointed in myself, I’ll feel unworthy, I’ll sit around and think about how I messed up. I’ll think about the godly things I was going to do that day and how those plans are now ruined because I’m just a sinner and I’ve really messed up my ability to get deep into the word or to spend time worshiping God or writing about His word. I’ll wait all day to pray about it, then woefully come before God that night in prayer and repent of my sin and thank Him that tomorrow is a new day with which I will do better.
It seems like David did something similar. Look at the two verses that come before verse 5.
Psalm 32:3-4 For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.
Just like I’ve done at times in my life, David was just sitting around living with his sin and it was obviously not going well. Honestly, that’s such a stupid way to deal with sin. God’s not a forgiveness drive-thru that’s only open during certain hours of the day. I don’t have to schedule a repentance appointment with Him for a week from next Monday. Why am I sitting around crushed under the weight of my sin when I can get on with repentance and move forward in forgiveness? A sin doesn’t ruin my day unless I let it. A sin doesn’t separate me from the ability to study my Bible unless I let it. I can initiate the forgiveness process seconds after committing a sin! I can slip up and then immediately go before the Lord and work it out. I’d rather not sin at all, but when I do I’m the one who’s choosing just how derailed I get from doing it. I can have a momentary disappointment in myself, talk to God about it, and move on with a clean slate, or I can sit for hours or days and feel defeated and get no kingdom work accomplished. It’s my call.
Now I do feel the need to say that having the incredible gift of God’s forgiveness isn’t a license to sin. I think if we’re treating it that way then we need to examine our relationship with God. We should have a desire to be sinless. We should be working to identify and remove our habitual sins, we should be upset when we sin. There’s an incredible beauty in the clean slate God grants to us through Jesus, but I think there’s a real danger when we view His forgiveness as some get out of jail free card. Thinking ‘Oh it’s cool if I sin, God’s already forgiven me,’ is a highly dangerous way of thinking.
I remember certain sinful mistakes I made, but I’m not ruled by those memories. From time to time they pop into my head, usually when I need to use them as inspiration to make a better decision in a present situation. Regret’s not a state of being becoming of a follower of Jesus. If Paul lived in regret over his past time spent persecuting Christians, he wouldn’t have accomplished much of anything. If Peter spent all his days regretting his denial of Christ, he never would’ve led three thousand to salvation in one day and been an early leader of the Christian church. We shouldn’t take our sin lightly, but we shouldn’t be ruled by it either. Get before God with it, and if it’s habitual then really make it a point to work on that area of your life. Get into deep prayer about it, make it a focus for you, get a trusted believer to be an accountability partner that can help you work on it. Get it dealt with, and move forward in victory. Satan’s gotta love it when we mess up and sin and then sit around and let that sin linger and fester. He may trip us up from time to time, but don’t give more power to the trips by letting them sit and linger.
PRAYER AND CLOSING
Father God, I don’t know if there’s a sweeter word than forgiveness. I am so unworthy, so flawed, and yet through you I am made clean and made whole and made new. I don’t know if I’ll ever fully understand why you do it, but I’m so thankful that you do. Thank you for the massive love you have for your people, the love that was put into action on that cross where Jesus suffered that terrible punishment for me, for my sins. Father, I tell you right now that he did not suffer in vain. I don’t take lightly the weight of my sins, the price that had to be paid for them to be forgiven. Grant me the heart that can properly weigh my sins while also getting them dealt with before you quickly. You’ve seen me derail entire days over one sin, reschedule Bible studies, cancel a night of Bible writing, all because one sin made me feel like the entire day was a loss. Change my heart, Lord. We are your people, your children, and I ask you right now to help us go beyond forgiveness. Help us destroy the sins in our lives, help us put an end to any habitual sins, help us to grow more like Jesus every single day. Help us come to true repentance, a repentance that lasts and is truly represented by a total change in our behaviors. Let us never take lightly the gift of forgiveness and the price that was paid to purchase that gift. Thank you for loving us so much that you give us the clean slate and the fresh start that we absolutely don’t deserve. Your love astounds me, your forgiveness floors me. I’m so thankful for it, Lord, so thankful for all that you do for me and around me. In Jesus’ precious name I pray, amen.
Alright, I love you guys and I’m excited about these last few Psalms this week. Each time I’ve returned to Psalms I’ve just been so blessed and enriched by what I find there. I hope the week is treating everyone well. As this year comes to an end I find myself full of hope for what comes next. God is the source of that hope, and never forget that God loves you.