Psalm 32:1-2 - Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
Our psalm is one of the seven penitential psalms; the others are Psalms 6, 38, 51, 102, 130 and 143. These psalms of repentance were grouped this way in the early centuries of the church. They are often used in worship, especially during the season of Lent. Yet the use of these psalms, including Psalm 32 above, is not restricted to Lent. These psalms provide the words for daily prayers of repentance.
According to the psalmist David, blessings fall to the person whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessings come to the one "in whose spirit there is no deceit." When it comes to matters of repentance, that necessary lack of deceit is explained more fully by the apostle John: "If we say 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" (1 John 1:8-9).
Sin itself is deceitful and easily blinds us to our need for repentance and our need for a Savior. In these penitential psalms, the Word of God breaks through the deceit and reveals our need. David describes the spiritual and physical results of his futile attempts to conceal his sin: "For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer" (Psalm 32:3-4).
An earlier psalm describes our Lord's suffering on the cross in words that mirror the psalmist's struggle with hidden sin: "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from saving Me, from the words of My groaning? ... I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint" (Psalm 22:1, 14a). Jesus bore in His body the sins of the world, the sins that caused His groaning and put His bones out of joint. On the cross the terrible wrath of God against sin was revealed as the Son of God was abandoned to suffering and death. It was the price that had to be paid for our healing and forgiveness, for "without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins" (Hebrews 9:22b).
The psalmist acknowledged his sins, confessed his transgressions to the Lord, and received forgiveness. When we stop trying to hide our sins, when we confess our sins to God, He is "faithful and just to forgive us." In Jesus Christ, through His redeeming death and triumphant resurrection, we are blessed—our transgressions are forgiven, our sins covered.
To be "blessed" is to be happy, but it is much more than that. To be blessed is to receive God's favor, favor we do not deserve, favor granted for the sake of Jesus. Washed clean in Jesus' blood, we join close our prayer of repentance with words of praise: "Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!" (Psalm 32:11)
THE PRAYER: Almighty God and Father, we praise You for the gift of our Savior, whose blood has cleansed us from sin. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler.
1. Do you feel remorse for your sins? Do you repent of your sins? What happens next?
2. How does God cover our sins?
3. How is forgiveness of our sins even possible?
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