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Of David. A maskil.

Blessed is the one
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one
whose sin the Lord does not count against them
and in whose spirit is no deceit.

When I kept silent,
my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
For day and night
your hand was heavy on me;
my strength was sapped
as in the heat of summer.

Then I acknowledged my sin to you
and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess
my transgressions to the Lord.”
And you forgave
the guilt of my sin.

Therefore let all the faithful pray to you
while you may be found;
surely the rising of the mighty waters
will not reach them.
You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
Do not be like the horse or the mule,
which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
or they will not come to you.
10 Many are the woes of the wicked,
but the Lord’s unfailing love
surrounds the one who trusts in him.

11 Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous;
sing, all you who are upright in heart!


A few years ago a Snowy Mountains holiday resort received an anonymous letter along with a cheque for $150. It was payment, said the letter, for a night’s accommodation over 20 years ago! Someone who’d been staying there left without paying, and ever since it’s been eating at their conscience. They felt guilty, until they finally did something about it.

We all know that sort of guilt. Guilt over things we’ve done that we wish we hadn’t. Guilt over things we’d like to put right. King David sure knew that sort of guilt. When it comes to guilt, David’s an expert. And what he says in Psalm 32 is a great message for the guilty.

This is no philosophy class for David. He’s talking from personal experience. He doesn’t go into details here, but the source of his guilt included adultery, and murder. We’ll see it in detail when we reach Psalm 51.

David is racked by guilt. He describes it in verses 3-4 as that heavy feeling you get in the middle of a hot summer’s day when you can hardly move, or that knot in your stomach when you’re worried about something.

David knows where this feeling really comes from: God. It’s the hand of God on him (verse 4). Tapping him on the shoulder, constantly reminding him that it’s wrong. David also knows where the solution comes from: God. In verse 5 he stops covering up. Instead he fesses up. Confesses his sin. And so God forgives his sin. As simple as that. Or is it that simple really?

In the cross of Jesus we know that the simple truth of Psalm 32 verse 5 has an awesome truth behind it: it took the blood of a king without sin to pay for David’s guilt, for your guilt and my guilt. Paul quotes Psalm 32 in Romans 4:7-8 in a long argument that climaxes in the statement “therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).


Head: What have you learnt about Jesus from Psalm 32? What have you learnt about yourself?

Heart: How does it make you feel that your guilt is removed when you trust in Jesus?

Hands: how might the confession and praise of this Psalm fill your prayers to God and your words to others?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, Blessed indeed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven. Blessed indeed is the one whose sins are covered. Thank you that Jesus’ blood covers every sin. I confess my guilt before you. I don’t want to cover up my sin, but to rejoice that Jesus covers it over. Please fill my heart and my mouth with praise for what Jesus has done for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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