Psalm 32: Blessed are the Forgiven

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 First Off…read Psalm 32!

What does it mean to be blessed? I think initially to me that becomes an easy answer. I feel “blessed” because I have a roof over my head, a job that pays the bills and puts food on the table, I have a family that I love tremendously and loves me, I have my health and I have a church and community that I love to serve with and alongside. I truly feel “blessed” in that sense. The “problem”…is that’s not what David is talking about. To David…being “blessed” is only seen and experienced through forgiveness.

Now we’re not TOO sure on where David is coming from here…ie which “sin” is he speaking of – but most feel that it’s safe to say he’s reflecting on the sin of adultery and murder as seen in 2 Sam 11 in regards to Bathsheba and her husband. And regardless if this is where we find David or not – the fact remains: his sin is so heavy it was as if he simply could not do anything. He couldn’t get up and walk around, no energy to be or do anything – he had relegated himself to simply sitting. There was no living in this “space”. And maybe that’s where we need to see this psalm. That David is reflecting on that moment BEFORE Nathan came to him and called him out for his sins. So while he’s moved to rejoicing for the forgiveness of God…he’s recalling back to the feelings before confession and yet after the sinful act. Recalling the feelings, the emotions, and the fact that IN THIS space there is no living.

Have you ever done that before? Taken a step back and thought about how you were feeling after you sinned and yet before confession and repentance took place? I can’t say that I have. I obviously cannot count how often I have sinned…and I definitely know the “doozy” ones … but more often than not after confession I want NOTHING to do with reflecting on why I did what I did or how I felt after. It’s just not something I want to feel. Now I’ve made TONS of mistakes in my life and some of those would also be chalked up as sins…and I’ve learned lessons because of them (just as David has here) but what does it look like to take an internal temperature or a feeling-gauge of those moments? It makes perfect sense TO do it – right? I mean, all sins are committed for the same reason: they make ME feel _________. It’s about the feeling. Right? And I think, the more we chew on it, we’ve all been in that moment before confession and after sin – right? ESPECIALLY as we’re “dwelling” into how to approach the person we sinned against and asked their forgiveness? There is NOTHING fun about those moments!

For David – he’s felt the chastening of God…but he’s also felt the weight of sin upon himself as well. Not liking either of them and believing in a God who forgives…he comes to the understanding that this feeling is NOT where he is supposed to be. And let’s be honest, it’s probably not where we’d LIKE to be either.

And it is here that we find the two “feelings” of this psalm. Where one is depressed and heavy…the other is full of rejoice and praise.

Why?

I think on one hand we all understand that it is not enjoyable being in a place of knowing we need to seek forgiveness and then actually doing it. Dwelling upon the sins is really crushing to our heart, mind, and soul. And if you’ve ever sinned and tried to sweep it under the rug without addressing it and seeking forgiveness…then you know as well how that feels. It simply is not good, it’s not healthy, and it’s not right.

David experienced a release of pressure and weight when he confessed – when he brought it out into the open and sought forgiveness…and that’s where this psalm encourages us to come to: forgiveness.

I think we need to remember what forgiveness really is. We seek forgiveness when we’ve realized the harm we’ve caused and the damage we’ve done to not only the person, to not only God, but to ourselves as well. And so forgiveness becomes the “neutralizer” in our lives. Think of forgiveness as the extinguisher of the flames of sin and destruction we cause each and every day. We were not created to be bringers of sin and chaos…we were created with quite the opposite desire of God. To be loving, peaceful, grace-filled bringers of God’s love. But when we do the opposite of that, when we hurt and harm…we cause destruction – and the only way to right the wrong is to seek forgiveness. To have the flames of sin extinguished.

Again – we are NOT to be in either the ash heap caused by our sins nor are we to be IN the fire still either. God’s desire for us is to simply be in beauty and life…not destruction and death.

I want to come back to verses 1 and 2…because those are the key points. We need to understand that in life there is really only 2 understandings and ways to live by: God’s way and NOT God’s way. You are either blessed and being blessed because you are walking in the ways of God…or you are not. You are either heavy-burdened because of your sins and have not sought forgiveness or you are free from sin and guilt because you sought forgiveness from God.

David’s recollection of the pain of being pulled between the two places is written here because he’s being open about his personal struggles. He writes to encourage you and I to acknowledge our sins and place them at the throne of God – not only because we’re supposed to, not only because forgiveness only comes when you seek it from Him, not only because God is the only one who CAN fully forgive, but on top of all those things…that place of “blessings” is where we want to be and live into.

God has given us life through forgiveness. God has given us blessings through reconciliation. God has given us both of those…through His Son and Holy Spirit. Psalm 32 simply is the reminder that it is offered to those who seek it.

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