Scripture reading – 1 Chronicles 20; Psalm 32
Our Scripture reading is taken from 1 Chronicles 20 and Psalm 32. You will notice that 1 Chronicles 20 begins with a summary of our prior study in 2 Samuel 11-12. The author noted David’s failure to accompany his servants to war and the siege and defeat of Rabbah, the Ammonite city (1 Chronicles 20:1). However, the historian did not record David’s sin with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11:2-5), his tragic attempt to conceal his sin (2 Samuel 11:6-13), and the murder of Uriah (2 Samuel 11:14-24; 2 Samuel 12:7-12). We are also given a brief record of Israel’s defeat and victory over the Philistines, including the slaying of a giant of Goliath’s household (1 Chronicles 20:4-8).
Today’s Bible study is taken from Psalm 32. The setting of the psalm was not stated; however, it is believed to be about the time of the king’s tragic sin with Bathsheba. Psalm 32 reflects the joy of every believer who has confessed his sin and found forgiveness.
The Pardon and Forgiveness of Sin (Psalm 32:1-2)
Two beatitudes are recorded in the introductory verses of Psalm 32.
Psalm 32:1 – “Blessed [happy; favored] is he whose transgression [sin; trespass] is forgiven [removed; lift; carried away], whose sin is covered [hide; conceal].”
Beatitudes typically begin with the word “Blessed” (Psalm 1:1; Matthew 5:3-11). The “blessed” are confident they are the object of God’s grace and mercies. They are joyful, and their happiness is independent of favorable circumstances. The truly “blessed” know the relief and joy of having their sins forgiven. They have acknowledged their sin (Romans 3:23) and understand their transgressions are covered by the blood of Christ (Psalm 32:2; Romans 6:23). They can sing with the saints, “Redeemed, How I Love to Proclaim It!”
Psalm 32:2 – “Blessed [happy; favored] is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth [count; reckon; devise]not iniquity [sin; fault], and in whose spirit [breath; temper; mind] there is no guile [deceit; treachery].
The sins of the “blessed” have been reckoned and accounted by God as a debt to Him that was paid in full. The “blessed” are honest and sincere before the LORD, and the weight of their guilt and chastening is removed.
The Agony of Unconfessed Sin (Psalm 32:3-4)
Psalm 32:3-4 – “When I kept silence [peace; speechless], my bones [body; life] waxed old [spent; consumed]through my roaring [rumbling; moaning; cries] all the day long. 4 For day and night thy hand [arm; rule] was heavy [grievous; burden-some] upon me: my moisture [vitality] is turned [overthrown; changed] into the drought [heat] of summer [harvest]. Selah. [pause; i.e., suspend music]
Psalm 32:3-4 was David’s vain attempt to conceal his sins (Psalm 32:3-4). He endured the guilt and shame of his sins for a year until the LORD sent the prophet Nathan to confront him. The king was guilty of adultery with Bathsheba, guilty of engineering the murder of her husband Uriah, and guilty of deceit in a futile effort to conceal his sins.
Silent and unwilling to confess his sin, David’s life was consumed with guilt, and his conscience roared against him day and night (Psalm 32:3). He felt the heaviness of God’s hand and the reality of His judgment pressed upon him. Having failed to confess his sin and repent, David felt his strength and vitality drying up like water in the heat of a summer drought (Psalm 32:4).
Repentance (Psalm 32:5)
Psalm 32:5 – “I acknowledged [know; understand] my sin [offence; guilt] unto thee, and mine iniquity [sin; fault] have I not hid [cover; conceal]. I said [answered; promised], I will confess my transgressions [trespass; sin] unto the LORD; and thou forgavest [took away; removed] the iniquity [sin; fault] of my sin [offence; guilt]. Selah.”
The reward of David’s confessing his sin was like fresh water to a thirsty soul (Psalm 32:5). There was only one answer for sin: honest confession and sincere repentance. No more excuses or blame-shifting; David said, I am guilty. He knew his offence and could no longer conceal it (Psalm 32:5a). He confessed… adultery, murder, and deceit! Yet, the LORD mercifully responded with His mercy and grace. David confessed, “Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin” (Psalm 32:5b).
The Penitent Prayer and the Delight of Forgiveness (Psalm 32:6-7)
Psalm 32:6-7 – For this shall every one that is godly [saint; pious] pray [i.e., intercede] unto thee in a time [season] when thou mayest be found [found out]: surely in the floods [deluge; overflowing] of great [many]waters they shall not come nigh [touch; reach] unto him. 7 Thou [LORD] art my hiding place [protection; cover]; thou shalt preserve [keep; guard] me from trouble; thou shalt compass [surround; encircle] me about with songs [shout; ringing cry] of deliverance [escape]. Selah.
“Forgiven,” what a wonderful truth! To be forgiven is more than the absolution of one’s guilt. It is the LORD’s gracious response when a sinner has acknowledged sin. As the Redeemer, He pays sin’s debt, carries away our guilt, and frees us from our slavery to sin.
Remember, the illustration of forgiveness was the “scapegoat” sent out of the camp of Israel on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:15-22). The priest sacrificed a goat and acknowledged the nation’s sins (Leviticus 16:15-19). After sprinkling the blood of the sacrifice on the altar, the high priest symbolically placed his blood-stained hands on the living goat and confessed the sins of Israel (Leviticus 16:20-22). Sending the “scapegoat” out of the camp symbolized God’s promise to forgive and take away Israel’s sins.
David’s Advice (Psalm 32:9)
Psalm 32:9 – Be ye not as the horse [i.e., which is swift], or as the mule [i.e., a beast of burden], which have no understanding [regard; prudent; discernment]: whose mouth must be held [muzzled; i.e., held in check; lit. to hold in] in with bit and bridle [halter; i.e., device for restraining], lest they come near [approach; draw near]unto thee.
David learned concealing sin carries grave consequences for the sinner and those he loves. So, the king urged God’s people to be humble and obedient before God! Don’t be a “mule-headed,” hard-hearted, irrational believer (Psalm 32:9).
David’s Admonition: Choose the Path of the Righteous (Psalm 32:10-11)
Psalm 32:10 – Many sorrows [pain; grief; affliction; sufferings] shall be to the wicked [ungodly; i.e., immoral]: but he that trusteth [confident; secure] in the LORD [Yahweh; Jehovah; Eternal, Self-Existent God], mercy [loving-kindness; goodness] shall compass [surround; encircle] him about.
Psalm 32:11 – Be glad [rejoice; be merry] in the LORD [Yahweh; Jehovah; Eternal, Self-Existent God], and rejoice [be joyful], ye righteous [just; lawful; blameless; innocent]: and shout [cry out; sing; i.e., be overcome]for joy, all ye that are upright [right; just] in heart [mind; understanding].”
Closing thoughts –
David described the egregious effects of one failing to confess and repent of sins (Psalm 32:3-4). Are you bearing the weight and consequences of secret sins? If so, I urge you to confess your sins, understanding God will forgive you and restore you to the life of the “blessed” (Psalm 32:1-2).
Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith
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