April 30, 2014
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
In Psalm 32 David continues to think back on the grievous sins in his life – committing adultery with Bathsheba, and murdering her husband Uriah to cover it up. He rejoices in the first two verses that his “…transgression is forgiven…sin is covered…[and God did] not impute iniquity…” to him. But in verses 3 through 5 the king remembers the dry year he had between when he committed his sins and when he confessed and repented after the prophet Nathan confronted him. The story is recorded in II Samuel 11 and 12. But back to Psalm 32:3 through 5:
When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all the day
long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was
turned into the drought of summer. Selah. I acknowledged my sin to
You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my trans-
gressions to the LORD,” and You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah.
Two Selahs – why are they there? According to Eerdman’s The New Bible Dictionary, Selah – meaning “to lift up” – “…is generally agreed…a musical or liturgical sign, though its precise meaning is not known….” It may mean to lift up the tempo or volume of the music and/or voice, or to lift up the hands in praise to God. So this was a Psalm to be sung in public worship. In other words, David’s sin was publically known, and he wanted also his people to understand he had confessed and repented of his deeds! Public confession is good – if the sin is publically known – and it can help cement the determination of the repentant one to turn from the sin confessed and get back into fellowship with God.
David wrote, “When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was turned into the drought of summer.” Sin has that effect! Isaiah wrote about it in Isaiah 59:2: “…your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.” It sure makes for a dry time spiritually – like “…the drought of summer…”!
Dear people, Jesus said He came so that His followers “…may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10). That abundant life is for the here and now – for it would be redundant if it referred to heaven – since heaven is obviously abundant! (see I Corinthians 2:9; Revelation 21:3 through 5). But I firmly believe the abundance referred to by the Lord is not necessarily abundance of health, money and things! It is the abundance of “…the fruit of the Spirit…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22 and 23 – NIV). With those qualities abundantly manifested in our lives, we can get through anything victoriously!
But if you take away such abundant fruit, life seems to increasingly proceed into “…the drought of summer….” The tragedy of it all is that it happens so subtly, we often don’t realize how far we have moved away from the Lord and His blessings! We don’t realize it, that is, until someone – or someOne – brings us up short to know what we have done and where we now are!
That is what happened to David when God sent Nathan to confront the king. It must have taken a great deal of courage on behalf of the prophet, because David was the king of Israel! He could have ordered what the Red Queen screamed in Alice in Wonderland, “Off with his head!” But, no, David was a better man than that. In verse three of our Psalm he tells us, “I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,’ and You forgave the iniquity of my sin.”
It is a conscious decision – confess and repent of your sin! If we try to hide it, we are only fooling ourselves. It is written in Hebrews 4:13, “…there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” And it says in Proverbs 28:13, “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.”
David certainly found mercy! For when he confessed and repented – even though those sins included adultery and murder! – he tells us, “…You forgave the iniquity of my sin.” I stand forgiven in Jesus Christ! My relationship to Him will never be broken. But if I try to hide my sins – and not confess and turn from them – I will break the sweet fellowship with my God! I don’t want to do that! Do you?