Thursday, May 12, 2016

A Wise Choice

Psalm 32:1-11

A Psalm of David, Maschil.

“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.    Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.” (Psalm 32:1-2)

The title Maschil means to be circumspect or intelligent.  Proverbs 1:7 tells us, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”     In this Psalm, David is describing the benefits of that wisdom or intelligence involved in facing our sinful nature and confessing our sin. 

How wonderful it is to have ones sins forgiven and the penalty paid.  Even better, the very record of that sin has been expunged, and we no longer have to pretend to be good, but can live openly, without any sense of guilt or need to hide our sin from others. 

“When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long.  For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah.” (Psalm 32:3-4)

As we have said before, there is nothing harder to live with than a guilty conscience, and psychology views guilt as an evil thing.    In reality, Just as physical pain warns that there is a physical problem that needs to be addressed, guilt signals that there is a spiritual problem that needs to be addressed.  Unfortunately, many people, including doctors view the pain itself as the problem and ignore the underlying problem, using painkillers or other techniques to reduce the amount of pain.   Because the underlying problem has not been resolved the use of the pain killer of other technique must be used on a regular basis, and can lead to an addiction.  Similarly, attempts to deal with guilt, treating it as an emotional problem or the result of cultural conditioning results in and ongoing need for psychological counseling or medication, and frequently leads to addiction to alcohol or other drugs, because the underlying spiritual problem has not been dealt with.

The longer David lived with his guilt the worse it became.   He became depressed, and it became harder and harder to force himself to do anything.  He felt constantly weighted down and like every bit of energy and hope was being drained away.    Finally, he took a different approach. 

“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.” (Psalm 32:5)

Guilt is a sign of a spiritual problem, that our relationship with God has been damaged or broken.    Isaiah 59:2 tells us, “…your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.”  I John 1:8-10 describes what needs to be done to fix thast underlying problem.  “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.   If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.   If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

At first David had tried to ignore his sin and the resulting guilt, but when he confessed it, God forgave it just as he promised, and expunged the record, clearing away every trace of it.  Unfortunately, many people confess to a sinful action, without confessing to the sinful attitude that caused the action.  God is not fooled by such tricks.  Cleansing us requires the attitude being changed.  Otherwise we just commit some other sin. 

“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.” (Psalm 32:6)

Every person who is Godly prays, confessing their sin and asking forgiveness when the opportunity is still available, not waiting until they die or the Lord returns.   Once the person dies, he will not be given another chance, as Matthew 18:18 makes clear.  “Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”  The decision on earth is final.  People who act while they still can need have no fear of future judgment. 

“Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.

 I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.  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.” (Psalm 32:7-9)

Because he had confessed his sin and received forgiveness, David could rest in the Lord, depending on him to preserve his soul from trouble.  God promised to instruct him and guide him in the proper way, but David was expected to willingly yield so that he didn’t have to be forced to do the right thing like some animals need to control them and protect their owners.  God wants us to obey willingly. 

“Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about.  Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.” (Psalm 32:10-11)

The wicked will be in constant state of turmoil and struggle, but the man that trusts God will experience God’s forgiveness and mercy, avoiding many of the natural consequences of his actions.  They should be glad and shouting for joy that they will not have to suffer the judgment they would otherwise face.    It is a wise and intelligent choice to give up our pride and confess our sin so we can receive God’s forgiveness and blessings.

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