Rochdale Canal - Psalm 32

Psalm 32 – Blessed Are the Forgiven

This Psalm, though it does not speak of Christ, yet it has a great deal of the gospel in it. David, in this Psalm, describes “the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputes righteousness,” Rom. 4:6.

Psalm 32 – A Psalm of David

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man in whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried as by the summer’s heat. Selah. I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover up my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”, and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah.

Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when You may be found; surely in the rush of great waters, they shall not reach him. You are a hiding place for me and preserve me from trouble; You surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near to you. Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord. Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

The nature of true blessedness

Henry says – In this Psalm there is the nature of true blessedness. There is nothing that we have no more need of instruction of than what is written in this Psalm. It tells us what we must do in order to be happy. We are taught that our happiness consists of the favour of God, and not in the wealth of this world—in spiritual blessings. When David says (Ps. 1:1), Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, and (Ps. 119:1), Blessed are the undefiled in the way – it means, “This is the character of the blessed man; and he who does not have this character cannot expect to be happy.”

But it is here written, Blessed is the man whose iniquity is forgiven, which means, “This is the ground of blessedness from which all the other blessings flow.” We all need the pardon for our sins and are undone without it. We ought to be very concerned for it and inquiring of it. Sin is the transgression of the law. Upon our repentance, the transgression is forgiven. That is, the obligation of punishment is cancelled; it is lifted off

The covering of sin

By the pardoning of our sin we may be eased of a heavy burden, like a load on our back, that makes us stoop, or a load on our stomach, that makes us sick, or a load on the spirit, that makes us sink. The forgiveness of sins gives rest and relief to those who are weary and heavily ladenMatt. 11:28. It is the covering of sin, as nakedness is covered, that we may not be shamed, Rev. 3:18.

One of the first symptoms of guilt in our first parents was blushing at their own nakedness. Sin makes us loathsome in the sight of God and utterly unfit for communion with Him. And, when we become conscience of it, it makes us loathsome to ourselves also. But, when sin is pardoned, it is covered with the robe of Christ’s righteousness, like the coats of skins which God clothed Adam and Eve (an emblem of the remission of sins). So that God is no longer displeased with us, but perfectly reconciled.

He remembers it no more

They are not covered from God’s omniscience (for my sin is ever before me), but from His vindictive justice. When He pardons sin He remembers it no more, He casts it behind His back, it shall be sought for and not found, and the sinner, being thus reconciled to God, begins to be reconciled to Himself once more.

We are made the righteousness of God in Christ. The righteousness of Him has been charged to us, and not our iniquity. God has laid upon Him the iniquity of us all and made Him sin for us. It is God who justifies. In the one of whom his sins are pardoned it is said there is no guile, or deceit. The pardoned sinner is one who is sincere and does not repent with a purpose to sin again. Or who does not sin with a purpose to repent again. Those who have honest intentions and deal honestly, who are really what they profess to be, are God’s own indeed.

Seek for peace

To the man whose iniquity is forgiven there is all manner of blessings, sufficient to make him completely blessed. That which incurred the curse and obstructed the blessing is taken away. God will then pour out His blessings till there is no room to receive them. The forgiveness of sins is the foundation of the covenant, which is the grounds for all the rest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousnessHeb. 8:12.

David describes from his own sad experience regarding the proud sinner, who sees his guilt, but has not yet made a penitent confession of it. (Ps. 32:3, 4): While I kept silent my bones waxed old. Those who cannot see the evil of sin and their danger in it, ease themselves by not thinking about it. They divert their minds to something else. They choose to not unburden their consciences by a contrite confession, nor seek for peace as they should, by fervent prayer. This is the way God has appointed for finding rest for their souls.

I acknowledged my sin to You

Their smothered convictions will fester like a wound and grow intolerably painful. If a conscience is severed, the case is much more dangerous. But if it be startled and awake, it will be heard. The hand of Divine wrath will be felt lying heavily upon the soul, and the anguish of the spirit will affect the body. David experienced this so that his bones waxed old. Even his silence made him roar all the day long, as if he had been under some grievous pain and distemper of body. When really the cause of all his uneasiness was the struggle he felt in his own heart between his convictions and his corruptions. Note that he who covers his sin shall not prosper; some inward struggle is required in repentance, but there is much worse in unrepentance.

The true and only way to peace of mind and heart is to confess our sins, that they may be forgiven and that we may be justified. David then said: I acknowledged my sin to You, and no longer hid my iniquityPs. 32:5. Those who want the comfort of their sins being forgiven must be willing to make a penitent confession of them. We must confess the particulars of our sins and acknowledge the Lord’s justice—I am no more worthy to be called Your son. We must confess sin with shame and with fear and holy trembling.

You forgave the iniquity of my sin

Yet God is ready to pardon the sin of those who truly repent: “I said, I will confess (I sincerely resolved to do it and hesitated no longer that I would make a free confession of my sins) and immediately You forgave the iniquity of my sin, and gave me the comfort of the forgiveness in my own conscience. I immediately found rest in my soul.” God is more ready to forgive sin, upon our repentance, than we are to repent of it, in order to obtain the forgiveness. David held a long time before he confessed his sins, (Ps. 32:3, 4). When he did surrender, he quickly and easily obtained good terms: “I said, I will confess, and You forgave.”

Like the father of the prodigal seeing his returning son when he was yet afar off. He ran to meet him with the kiss that sealed his pardon. What an encouragement is this to poor penitents, and what an assurance it give us that, if we confess our sins, we shall find God, not only faithful and just, but gracious and kind, to forgive us our sins!

God be merciful to us sinners

All godly people are praying people. We are to make use of the experience David had had of God’s readiness to forgive his sins (Ps. 32:6): For this shall everyone who is godly pray to You. The easiness of obtaining forgiveness, should encourage us to pray and pray specifically, God be merciful to us sinners. In this we come boldly to the throne of grace, with hopes to obtain mercy, Heb. 4:16. Those who would be quickened in prayer, must seek the Lord while He may be found.

When, by His providence, He calls them to seek Him, and by His Spirit stirs them up to seek Him, they must go speedily to seek the Lord (Zech. 8:21). They must lose no time, lest death cut them off, and then it will be too late to seek Him, Isa. 55:6Behold, now is the accepted time2 Cor. 6:2, 4. Those who are sincere and abundant in prayer will find the benefit of it when they are in trouble. Surely in the floods of great waters, which are very threatening, they shall not come near them, to terrify them, or create any uneasiness and much less to overwhelm them.

You are my hiding-place

David speaks to God, and professes his confidence in Him and expectation from Him, Ps. 32:7. Having tasted the sweetness of Divine grace to a repentant sinner, he cannot doubt of the continuance of that grace to a praying saint. In that grace he should find both safety and joy. You are my hiding-place. When by faith I have a remedy in You, I see all the reason in the world to be at ease, and to think myself out of the reach of any real evil. You shall preserve me from trouble, from the sting of it, and from the strokes of it as far as is good for me. You shall preserve me from such trouble as I was in when I kept silent,” Ps. 32:3.

When God has pardoned our sins, if He leaves us to ourselves, we shall soon run as far in debt again as ever and plunge ourselves again into the same gulf. Therefore, when we have received the comfort of our remission, we must fly to the grace of God to be preserved from returning to foolishness again, or having our hearts hardened again through the deceitfulness of sin.

God keeps His people from trouble

God keeps His people from trouble by keeping them from sin. “You shall not only deliver me, but encompass me with songs of deliverance. Wherever I look I shall have the occasion to rejoice and to praise God. My friends also shall join with me in songs of praise. They shall join their songs of deliverance with Mine. As everyone who is godly shall pray with me, so they shall give thanks with me.”

He turns his speech to the children of men. Being himself converted, he does what he can to strengthen his brethren. (Luke 22:32) I will instruct you, whoever you are who desire instruction, and teach you in the way that you shall goPs. 32:8. He resolves that when God restores to him the joy of his salvation he would teach transgressors His ways. He would do what he can to convert sinners to God, as well as to comfort those that are converted, Ps. 51:12, 13.

I will guide you with My eye

When Solomon became repentant he immediately became a preacher, Eccl. 1:1. Those are best able to teach others the grace of God who have themselves had the experience of it. Those who are themselves taught of God ought to tell others what He has done for their souls (Ps. 66:16) and so teach them. I will guide you with My eye. Some apply this to God’s direction. He teaches us by His Word and guides us with His eye by the hints and turns of His will. He enables His people to understand them and take direction from them, as a master makes a servant know his mind by a wink of his eye.

When Christ turned and looked upon Peter, He guided Him with His eye. But it is rather to be taken as David’s promise to those who sat under his instruction, his own children and family especially: “I will counsel you; my eye shall be upon you”; “I will give you the best counsel I can and then observe whether you take it or not.”

Where there is renewing grace there is no need of restraining grace

Here is a word of caution to the unrepentent, to not be unruly and ungovernable: Do not be like the horse and the mule, which have no understandingPs. 32:9. When the Psalmist reproached himself for his sins he compared himself to a beast before God (so foolish have I been and ignorantPs. 73:22) and therefore warns others to not be so.

We have been given the faculty of understanding, that we are capable of being governed by reason and of reasoning with ourselves. Let us therefore use it and act rationally and not be like the horse or mule that need bit and bridle. Let us not be hurried by appetite and passion, at anytime, to go contrary to the dictate of right reason and to God’s true interests. If sinners would be governed and determined by these, they would soon become saints and would not go a step further in their sinful ways. Where there is renewing grace there is no need of the bit and bridle of restraining grace.

Sin will have sorrow

The reason for this caution is because the way of sin will certainly end in sorrow (Ps. 32:10): Many sorrows shall be to the wicked, which will not only put an end to their mirth but will make them pay dearly for it. Sin will have sorrow, if not repented of, everlasting sorrow. It was part of the sentence, I will greatly multiply your sorrows. “Be wise for yourselves therefore, and turn from your wickedness, that you may prevent many sorrows.”

Here is a word of comfort to saints. They are assured that if they will trust in the Lord, and keep close to Him, mercy shall encompass them on every side (Ps. 32:10). They shall not depart from God, for that mercy shall keep them, nor shall any real evil break in upon them, for that mercy shall keep it out.

Be glad in the Lord

They are commanded to be glad in the Lord, and to rejoice in Him, to such a degree as even to shout for joyPs. 32:11. Let them be so transported with this holy joy that they will not be able to contain themselves. Let them affect others with it, that they also may see that a life of communion with God is the most pleasant and comfortable life we can live in this world. This is that present bliss which the upright in heart, and they only, are entitled to and qualified for.

Adapted from the Matthew Henry Commentary

  [Slide right to left]
 Unlimited Blessings
 In the service of the Lord 
 As we continue to grow
 The time will never come, when God
 Has nothing more to bestow.
 God gives to us progressively 
 There is always so much more
 Something better yet to come
 A new avenue to explore.
 Divine blessing is unlimited
 We can never receive all of His best
 Every new day a door opens
 Into another great treasure chest.
 You can never come to the end of God’s goodness
 As in His love you remain steady.
 The truth is, there isn’t any experience
 For which He will have no blessing ready.
 By the late Andrew Feakin 
 (passed away 16th March 2019)

Prayer for the Day

Prayer: Father, I come to You. I know that my happiness consists only in Your favour and not in the wealth of this world. I need Your pardon for my sins and am undone without it. May I be very concerned for it and be in pursuit of it. For in this is rest for my soul.

May I be a person of fervent prayer. Quicken me to pray and to seek You while You may be found. Thank You that in Your Divine grace You are ready to forgive. Therefore let this easiness of obtaining pardon, encourage me to pray. Those who are sincere and abundant in prayer will find the benefit of it when they are in trouble. 

The sweetness of Your grace

I have tasted the sweetness of Your grace when I have confessed my sins. In this grace I find both safety and joy. You are my hiding-place. By faith I have a remedy in You, I see all the reason in the world to be at ease, and to think myself out of the reach of any real evil. For You have promised to preserve me from all trouble.

May I fly to You for the grace to be preserved from returning to any foolishness in which I have walked in the past. May my heart never be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. You keep me from trouble by keeping me from sin.

May I be one who seeks to strengthen the brethren

May I be one who seeks to strengthen the brethren. I resolve that when You have restored to me the joy of my salvation, I will seek to teach transgressors their ways. Help me do what I can to convert sinners to You, as well as to comfort those who are converted.

Teach me by Your Word and guide me with Your eye. Enable me to understand it and take direction from it. Let me not be like the horse or mule that need bit and bridle. Let me not be hurried by appetite and passion, at anytime, to go contrary to the dictate of right reason and to Your true interests. Thank You that I am assured that if I trust in You, and keep close to You, mercy shall encompass me on every side.

I will be glad and rejoice in You. Cause me to be so transported with holy joy that I will not be able to contain myself. Cause me to affect others with it, that they also may see that a life of communion with You is the most pleasant and comfortable life we can live in this world. In the name of Christ I pray. Amen.

Psalm 32

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