Psalms 32

Part 8


Psalm 32 is one of the seven penitential Psalms in the book of Psalms (Ps. 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, and 143). In simpler terms the writer expresses his sorrow for the sins he has committed. Psalm 32 was written by David, which is confirmed by Paul in Rom. 4:6-8. Not only does David express sorrow for his sin in this Psalm, he also expressing thanksgiving.


Because of Davidís assurance of Godís forgiveness in this Psalm, it is one of the more popular Psalms in history. For example:


Augustine is reported to have counted it his favorite psalm. He read the 2nd Psalm with weeping and, along with other penitential psalms, had it posted in the waning hours of his life on the wall near his deathbed.


Martin Luther counted it a favorite and identified it as ďa Pauline psalmĒ because of its emphasis on forgiveness.


The noted expositor G. Campbell Morgan in his Notes on the Psalms says, ďAmong all the psalms there is none that touches deeper the things in the life of the soul, or more perfectly reveals the methods of Jehovah in the matters of sin, sorrow, and guidanceĒ (FHU Lectureship 2009)


In this Psalm, David writes about how he has received Godís grace after he repented and confessed his sin to God. Many believe this Psalm was written after Psalm 51, which expresses Davidís sorrow of his sin he committed with Bathsheba and having her husband killed. When we read it, it seems he is remembering back to that dark time in his life when committed that sin and is expressing his thankfulness that God has forgiven him of that atrocity.


Psalm 32:1 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered.2 Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit.


Blessed means happiness, and true happiness only comes from knowing that your transgressions are forgiven, and only God can provide forgiveness from our transgression. We are so fortunate as Christians to be able to experience the forgiveness of God, which was made possible by Jesus death on the cross.


Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.


Knowing that God forgives us of our sins should make us some of the happiest people on face of the earth. When David says our sins are covered, it does not mean they are only hidden like when you cover up dirt with a rug, it carries the idea that they blotted out and cannot be seen or found again because when God forgive us of our sin, it is forgotten, and it will not be held against it.


Again, David reemphasizes how blessed we are when God does not impute iniquity and how blessed we are when we have an honest spirit. It takes an honest spirit and humble attitude to come before God and admit you have sinned against him and to ask for His forgiveness.


In our first two verses, David uses three different words that will separate us from God.


  1. Transgression -an act of rebellion or disloyalty
  2. Sin Ė is the act of missing the Mark
  3. Iniquity Ė a crooked or wrong act

(Truth for Today Commentary p. 429)


In using these three specific words, which all mean to rebellion against God, David is saying that we can be forgiven of them all by God.


Psalm 32:3 When I kept silent, my bones grew old Through my groaning all the day long.4 For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah


David is describing what he went through as he lived with his sin before he repented. His sin was eating him up, and it was so hard on him, he felt like his bones grew old, and it caused him to groan all day long. His sin was constantly on his mind because he felt guilty for what he had done. Since his guilt was bothering him day and night, he felt like Godís hand was pressing down on him. Just as a summer drought sucks the life out everything, he felt like his sin was sucking vigor out of his life.


This shows that David still had a conscience that was guided by Godís Word. If he had been a worldly man, his sin would not have bothered him as it did. I am sure all of us can relate to the pain David is going through. Think about how guilty you felt when you lied to someone or got involved in a sin that you should not have. When you spend most of your time doing the right thing and living by Godís Word, your entire being will scream out when you sin and try to remain in it.


Our conscience can be good thing as long as we continue to program it with the Word of God. The worst thing that could happen to us is when we can sin without any remorse, but if we allow ourselves to be influence by the world, it can happen. As Paul said:


1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,


If we allow our conscience to be seared with a hot iron, then our conscience will not help us at all. So, I want to encourage you to always do your best to put Godís Word into your heart more than you allow worldly things to come in so you will feel guilty and have remorse when you sin. This is another tool we can use to help us recognize sin in our life, and it will give us the desire to take care of it, so we can stop feeling so miserable.


As much as David loved God and tried to stay away from sin, I can just imagine the guilt he had after he committed adultery with Bathsheba. When Bathshebaís husband came back home and he had to look him in the face, imagine the shame he felt as he tried to cover up his sin by trying to get Uriah to go lie with his wife so he would think the baby she was carrying was his own. Then when David had Uriah killed even though he knew it was wrong, it must have destroyed him on the inside.


While his sin was eating him alive, Nathan came to him and exposed his sin. First, he told how a rich man took a poor manís only ewe lamb when the rich man had plenty, and David was ready to put the rich man to death, but Nathan tells David that he is the rich man. Then he says:


2 Samuel 12:9 'Why have you despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword; you have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the people of Ammon.10 'Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.'11 "Thus says the LORD: 'Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun.12 'For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, before the sun.' "


David deserved everything God was going to do to him, but since God is full of grace, He was willing to forgive David when he repented.


2 Samuel 12:13 So David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD." And Nathan said to David, "The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.14 "However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die."


Yes his sin was forgiven, but it wasnít without consequence because the child would die. We need to understand that we can be forgiven of our sins, and they will be forgotten, but many times there are consequences that we will still have to face because of our sins such as broken marriages, diseases of the body, or division in the church just to name a few. Back in our Psalm, David talks about how he confessed his sin:


Psalm 32:5 I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD," And You forgave the iniquity of my sin.


David had been silent about his sin and did his best to keep it a secret, but we cannot hide our sin from God because we are like an open book to Him. Therefore, David stopped hiding his sin and confessed it to God, and God forgave him. Since God is willing to forgive sin, David continues and says:


Psalm 32:6 For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You In a time when You may be found; Surely in a flood of great waters They shall not come near him.7 You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah


David recommends that every child of God learn from his mistake and pray to God for the forgiveness of their sins. Donít put off taking care of yours sins while you are drowning in them because you may be to late to take care of them, but if you will recognize the sin in your life early on, you will have plenty of time to confess it to God and have it forgiven.


1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.


You should never have the attitude that we can take care of our sin later because your life may end that very hour and then you will be forever separated from God. So, stop putting your eternal soul in jeopardy, repent and confess your sin to God knowing that it will be forgiven and forgotten.


Since God loves us, protects us, and forgives us, David considers God as his hiding place. When I think of a hiding place, I think of safety and security. David has no doubts that God will preserve him from his enemies and deliver him from them, which equates to songs of deliverance.


We should have this same confidence in our Lord because He will always be there for us no matter what trouble we find ourselves in. Staring in verse 8, David records Godís instructions to him.


Psalm 32:8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.9 Do not be like the horse or like the mule, Which have no understanding, Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, Else they will not come near you.


God has always been willing to guide us down the right pathway, but we must be willing to listen to His to instructions and follow them. Unfortunately, many act like a horse or mule who has no understanding and they allow the world to put a bit in their mouth and lead down wide road to destruction. We must do our best to open our hearts to Godís ways because His Words are life.


No wonder Davidís Son Solomon wrote:


Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil.8 It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones.


Our Psalm ends with more of Godís instructions:


Psalm 32:10 Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; But he who trusts in the LORD, mercy shall surround him.11 Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous; And shout for joy, all you upright in heart!


When we choose not to trust in God and we live how we want to, then we will have many sorrows because all we can have hope is ourselves or some other person. When we get sick or when trouble comes our way, we are on our own because we do not trust in God. However, when we do trust in God, we can be glad and rejoice because we know that Godís mercy will surround us and we can shout for joy because we know that God Almighty will always be there for us:


As Paul said:


Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?36 As it is written: "For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter."37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


If that doesnít bring joy to your heart as a Christian then nothing will. As good as David had it under the Law of Moses, we have it better because we have the completed Word of God, and we can see how God worked in Davidís life and in others. From that, we can see a complete picture of how loving our God is and how he is willing to forgive us of our sins when we turn to Him, repent, and confess those sins to Him.


We have the assurance that we can be saved and have a home in heaven when we continue to walk in the light, and continue to repent, and confess our new sins to the Lord. I cannot think of anything on this earth that can bring more peace and joy than being a child of God.


I believe the message of our Psalm can enrich our lives in several ways.


First, it reminds us how blessed we are to have freedom from sin and all its burdens. We can have a greater appreciation of this because our freedom from sin came by Jesus dying on the cross for us, and His death made is possible for us to be justified by an obedient faith:


Romans 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.


Second, it teaches us the importance of repenting and confessing our sin to God because if we donít we will be lost:


1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.


Thanks to Jesus being our high priest, we can boldly come before God in prayer.


Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.


Third, it teaches us that God is our only hiding place and refuge, and we can trust Him and know He will forgive our sins, forget them, and help us in our time of need.


Fourth, it teaches us not to be mindless beast when it comes to listening to God. Instead, we should open our ears wide and our hearts wider and allow God to direct our pathway.


Finally, it teaches us that we should shout for joy and rejoice because God loves us and will continue to forgive us and have mercy on us as long as we continue to walk toward Him by doing our best to keep His commandments.


As Paul said:


Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!


Now that we have examined this Psalm, perhaps you understand the reason it has a been a comforting and well-liked Psalm throughout history. I want to close this lesson with first two verses of our Psalm:


Psalm 32:1 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered.2 Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit.