Psalm 32 - Practical & Relevant
Want straightforward, practical advice on how to live a blessed life? Just open the Psalms.
Read / Listen
Read Psalm 32
Of David. A maskil.
1 Blessed is the man
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
2 Blessed is the man
whose sin the Lord does not count against him
and in whose spirit is no deceit.
3 When I kept silent,
my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night
your hand was heavy on me;
my strength was sapped
as in the heat of summer.
5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you
and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess
my transgressions to the Lord.”
And you forgave
the guilt of my sin.
6 Therefore let all the faithful pray to you
while you may be found;
surely the rising of the mighty waters
will not reach them.
7 You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.
8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
9 Do not be like the horse or the mule,
which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
or they will not come to you.
10 Many are the woes of the wicked,
but the Lord’s unfailing love
surrounds the one who trusts in him.
11 Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous;
sing, all you who are upright in heart!
Listen to passage & devotional:
Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 115
Q. No one in this life
can obey the Ten Commandments
why then does God want them
preached so pointedly?
A. First, so that the longer we live
the more we may come
to know our sinfulness
and the more eagerly
look to Christ
for forgiveness of sins
Second, so that,
while praying to God
for the grace of the Holy Spirit,
we may never stop striving
to be renewed more and more
after God’s image,
until after this life we reach
our goal: perfection.
"The Bible just isn't very relevant in this day and age..." What a lousy excuse so many people give for not digging into God's Word! As if the Bible is nothing more than page after page of ancient history, obscure laws, and meaningless religious rituals!
Quite the opposite is true! This is the second day in a row now that our passage has given us pointed, specific and actionable instruction as to how you can live a blessed life; that is, a life filled with happiness, joy and shalom. What could possibly be more practical and relevant?
Like the other Psalms we've looked at this week, Psalm 32 is divided up into strophes (stanzas / verses). Notice how these strophes progress:
Gets right to the point that the key to happiness is having sins forgiven.
Not confessing sin crushes people (bones waste away under God's heavy hand, strength sapped)
Acknowledging / confessing sin leads to immediate forgiveness of sin & guilt
God's heavy hand is transformed into a hand of protection and songs of deliverance
People who repent of their sin and follow God's commands rejoice and are glad in life!
David demonstrates the two primary uses of God's law here in Psalm 32. To the unrepentant, God's law feels like a heavy hand on them, sapping their strength with bone crushing guilt (v3-4). As ugly as this seems, this is God's redemptive power at work, causing us to "more eagerly look to Christ for forgiveness of sins and righteousness (QA 115)."
This makes sense. Without the law bearing down on us, we'd never know of God's holy wrath until it was too late to repent! Guilt is a gift of grace that drives us to the cross! When you confess your transgressions to the Lord, He will forgive the guilt of your sin (v5).
But God's Law becomes even more valuable on this side of the cross. Through it, God "will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go," so that you don't get sucked into the many "woes of the wicked (v9-10)," but instead live a blessed life, rejoicing and being glad in the Lord (v11).
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, whose ḥěʹ·sěḏ love surrounds the one who trusts in Him (v10);
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Thank God that His Law exposed your sin and pointed you to the cross, and pray that you will be instructed and taught by His Law in the way you should go (v8);
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - John 14