Psa. 32:0 A Psalm of David, Maschil.
“maschil” = A poem intended to teach; conveying instruction
Psa. 32:1 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
Happy is he whose rebellion/sin is forgiven (lifted, pardoned, taken away), whose crime/offense is concealed/hidden. This is another way of saying that it’s no longer there in God’s eyes—it’s been forgiven. David is speaking from experience.
(7/05) James Merritt made a statement that I liked on this point:
“He locks our sin in the vault of grace and throws it in the sea of mercy.”
Psa. 32:2 Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.
My paraphrase--Happy is the man that the Lord doesn’t charge with accountability for evil/sin and whose spirit (the rational part of man, the conscience) is without deceit—his conscience is clear. This describes the relieved spirit of the man who has confessed his sin before God and knows he has been forgiven.
Psa. 32:3 When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long.
Psa. 32:4 For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah.
In these verses David begins to explain his experience of repentance and forgiveness. We all can relate to wishing that we could keep a sin hidden. For a child of God to attempt that is pure foolishness. David had an intimate relationship with God; he knew that God knew he had sinned—He just didn’t want to confess it to Him. That immediately set the stage for a huge struggle with his guilt—to the point that he was moaning and groaning and experiencing great depression. He finally got to the point that he could no longer produce any tears.
(7/05) Another good quote from Merritt:
“Sin was the wound; silence was the infection.”
“thy hand was heavy upon me” – I thought that was a very telling expression. David’s relationship was so close to the Lord that he recognized his guilt as the hand of God pressing him to repent.
(7/05) One more good Merritt quote:
“Satan will accuse you of sin God has already forgiven. God will only convict you of sin you need to confess.”
Today’s society/culture has so conditioned us to believe that there is always something or someone else we can blame for depression and other mental/emotional conditions, that we don’t even associate them with sin in our life. David knew he was trying to hide sin. Because of the undermining of God’s word today as well as the lack of knowledge of God’s word, people sometimes don’t even recognize their sin.
“selah” = a suspension of music, a pause.
Psa. 32:5 I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.
Finally, David could take it no longer. He confessed his sin/rebellion to YHWH. The Hebrew for confess includes the idea of “bemoaning with wringing hands.” This describes an attitude that is an acknowledgement of sin with repentance—true regret with intent to change.
God never rejects His servant who comes to Him with true repentance and a desire for restored fellowship.
2Chr. 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin….
1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Psa. 32:6 For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.
The Hebrew for “godly” includes “kind, religious, merciful and holy.” Obviously, the term came about as a comparison to the character of God. I thought the first half of this verse was an interesting expression. It implies that those who want to be like God in character and have fellowship with Him are the ones who pray. It also implies a time when God is not to be found. The last half seems to be a direct response to the thought of the times that God can’t be found. Even though He can’t be found, His provision for and protection of His servants can be depended upon.
I think David is expressing this thought from a human perspective. We think God is able to “be found” when we are experiencing times of blessing and meaningful fellowship with God in worship and prayer. On the other hand, when the Lord permits those times that test us to refine and grow our faith, times when we don’t feel like God hears us, we think He can’t “be found.” Job is the perfect example. Although David has experienced those times when he couldn’t find God, he knew that God was still worthy of his faith; he could count on God to bring him through whatever trial or testing he was experiencing.
I immediately thought of those beautiful verses in Isaiah:
Is. 43:1 But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.
Is. 43:2 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.
Is. 43:3 For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour:
Psa. 32:7 Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.
David is confident of God’s protection and preservation in the midst of affliction, anguish, distress, sorrow, or trouble.
What does it mean for God to surround you with shouts of joy and triumph of deliverance/escape/safety? Maybe this is just an expression of joy after the time of testing is over. I would like to think more of it being a special gift of the Spirit to the servant of God that allows him to sing the praise of His Savior throughout the time of trouble. He is confident in His salvation in the Lord.
Psa. 32:8 I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.
In the next two verses, the prayer has changed from a time of David talking to God to a time of God talking to David. I believe that is what prayer is all about—a time of two-way communication.
“instruct” = to be (causatively, make or act) circumspect and hence, intelligent:—consider, expert, instruct, prosper, (deal) prudent(-ly), (give) skill(-ful), have good success, teach, (have, make to) understand(-ing), wisdom, (be, behave self, consider, make) wise(-ly), guide wittingly.
“teach” = to flow as water (i.e. to rain); transitively, to lay or throw (especially an arrow, i.e. to shoot); figuratively, to point out (as if by aiming the finger), to teach:—(+) archer, cast, direct, inform, instruct, lay, shew, shoot, teach(-er,-ing), through.
“guide” = Webster: 1. To lead or direct in a way; to conduct in a course or path; to pilot; as, to guide a traveler. 2. To regulate and manage; to direct; to order; to superintend the training or education of; to instruct and influence intellectually or morally; to train.
As I look over these definitions, it gives an emphasis of personalized instruction and direction. God wants us to have good success in life; He wants to give us understanding and wisdom to make application with that understanding. I liked the phrase “guide wittingly.” It means to guide by design; God has a special design/purpose for my life.
I couldn’t help but latch on to the phrase “to flow as water” pertaining to the word teach. Today, we believers can expect to experience God’s teaching through the working (flow) of the Spirit in our life.
John 7:37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
John 7:38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
John 7:39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.
The word teach also refers to taking aim, instruction with specific purpose.
Again, the word guide makes application to a specific path or course for each servant of God, but it also includes training the heart (morals) in conjunction with the mind (intellect).
Psa. 32:9 Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.
You can’t reason with a horse or a mule. You have to train them to a conditioned response through repetitive training. God is saying that He doesn’t want us to be like conditioned animals—like robots. He wants fellowship with those who come to Him through choice in response to His love and faithfulness.
Psa. 32:10 Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about.
When the wicked reap the consequences of their actions, they will find no comfort or relief; they can only expect sorrow/pain/anguish. Those who trust in the Lord, however, can always expect to experience God’s mercy (kindness, favor) to carry them through to a place of deliverance. It reminds me of the verse in John:
John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
The Lord specifically states that those who follow Him will experience tribulation/trouble. The key is that He will deliver us through that experience. Not only that, we will benefit from that experience if we keep our focus on Him.
Rom. 5:3 … but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
Rom. 5:4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
Rom. 5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
Psa. 32:11 Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.
As usual, David ends the Psalm in praise to the Lord. He exhorts the servant of God to be glad (joyful) and rejoice (to spin round with joy). I liked the thought that Webster added to the word glad—wearing a gay or bright appearance. As servants of God, our joy should be reflected in our countenance; people should be able to see the peace and joy that permeates our being. To “shout for joy” references being vocal so as to be heard by others. I think this is a reference to praising God aloud as the source of our peace and joy. We should reflect our love for and faith in God through our attitude and countenance as well as through bold and confident praise that can be heard and understood by others.