Focal Passage: Psalm 32:1-7
In August 2014, Esquire magazine ran an article about the fallout from the cheating scandal that ended the “career and the endorsements for the world’s most successful cyclist.” According to the article the individual has commendably been busy trying to make amends to those he hurt but still “hasn’t experienced the liberating power of forgiveness.”
Like this phenomenal athlete all of us have made decisions we later regret. We all mess up. We all sin. The good news though is that all of us can be forgiven and find true joy and happiness. That is the message of Psalm 32! We must confess that sin has our life spinning out of control and that we can’t fix it. God is the only one who can fix us! King David sinned like all of us sin. King David sought joy and happiness like all of us seek joy and happiness. However, true joy and happiness cannot be found by resolving to do better in the future. Psalm 32 suggests that David found true joy and happiness in the same place you and I can find it.
We can find true joy and happiness as a result of God’s forgiveness (32:1-2). David writes that one is joyful who is forgiven, whose sin is covered by the LORD. We often try to cover our sin ourselves but here the idea is that only God can cover our sin. And when He covers our sin it is totally and completely covered so much that the LORD doesn’t charge us with the sin. The psalmist discovered that forgiveness comes to one in whose spirit is no deceit! That means joy comes to one who doesn’t try to cover the sin from self, from God, and from others.
We can find God’s forgiveness only as a result of personal confession (32:3-5). In verses 3-4, David wrote of the misery of unconfessed sin. He insists that his lack of confession hurt him to the core of his being in saying my bones became brittle. His distress became evident as his silence regarding his sin resulted in the sounds of what he described as my groaning all day long. He described his 24/7 weakness to the LORD as “Your hand was heavy on me.” It was so bad that metaphorically it was as if his strength was drained as in the summer’s heat.
Then he came to himself (v. 5). Sometimes it takes us a while to get to the “then.” But when we do we will realize what David realized as he wrote, “I acknowledged my sin to You.” As a result David experienced true joy and happiness as depicted in “You took away the guilt of my sin.” Yes, we can find true joy and happiness as a result of God’s forgiveness and we can find God’s forgiveness only as a result of personal confession.
Finally, we can find ongoing contentment as a result of faithfully praying and trusting God as our refuge (32:6-7). When we experience forgiveness through personal confession we can continue to experience that true joy and happiness by maintaining daily prayer and devotional disciplines. David wrote that as the “faithful” we should “pray to You at a time” when “You may be found.” When we are disciplined to do that we will not be reached by the great floodwaters when they come. God will be our refuge and we will be surrounded by joyful shouts of deliverance.
Just as King David and the aforementioned fallen athlete sought true joy and happiness — so we seek true joy and happiness. We can find it through personal confession of sin and living daily in the shelter of God’s forgiveness!
— Pressnell is senior pastor of Oak Grove Baptist Church, Mount Carmel.