What kind of sinner are you? Do you consider yourself mildly sinful, at least not as bad as others? Or do you realize how serious each sin is and what punishment it deserves? Like the street after the parade has gone by, do you see each day littered with the debris of your sinful thoughts, words, and deeds?
That’s how David had painfully felt until the Lord brought him to repentance and the comfort of full forgiveness. We see an example of this in 2 Samuel 11 and Psalm 51. We see similar content in Psalm 32.
Admit our need
For almost a year David had refused to use that difficult word wrong. Instead he tried to hide his sin and avoid facing its consequences. When he couldn’t trick the husband of the woman whom he had impregnated in adultery, David arranged to have him killed on the battlefield. Though he then married Bathsheba and gave his name to their child, that did not square accounts with the Lord. With such “deceit,” as he himself called it in our psalm (Psalm 32:2), David avoided that word wrong and refused to confess his sin.
But David didn’t get away with his deceit. His conscience was invisible but not inactive. The more he tried his deceit, the worse it became. God’s law was exerting heavy pressure on his heart. It made him feel like an old man with brittle, breaking bones. Instead of enjoying the showers of God’s blessings, he was living in a perpetual midsummer drought of guilt (cf. v. 3,4)—until he admitted his sin to the Lord.
Did you notice his confession? It wasn’t “If I did such and such.” It wasn’t “But you know there were some unusual circumstances.” It wasn’t “What about Bathsheba? She helped me do it.” It was instead “I acknowledged my sin to you.” It was “I did not cover up my iniquity.” It was “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD” (v. 5). It was the heartfelt admission, “I was WRONG”—in capital letters. And his admission was to the right person: the Lord against whom he had sinned and who alone could do something about it.
What kind of sinner are you? The Lenten season is a good time to put aside the 12-inch ruler we so often use to measure our sin and instead lay God’s 20-foot tape measure on it. It’s a good time to roll the wheelbarrow overflowing with our sins to the foot of his cross and admit our need for his ever-ready forgiveness.
Rejoice in his forgiveness
Did you notice how David described God’s forgiveness in Psalm 32:1,2? He used three terms to emphasize it.
- “Transgressions are forgiven,” he wrote, a word meaning to carry away. With eyes of faith, he looked ahead and saw his whole stinking mess of sin carried away by the Savior on Calvary’s cross.
- “Sins are covered,” he added. They’re not just hidden from God’s sight but totally erased by the Savior’s precious blood.
- “Whose sin the LORD does not count against them,” he added. With eyes of faith, David saw that a just God did not write “canceled” over sin’s unpaid debt but sent his Son in payment. With his holy life and innocent suffering and death, Jesus covered every sin and canceled all its guilt.
What kind of sinner are you? The Lenten season is a good time to roll home the wheelbarrow of daily life, emptied of its load of sin, with a song in our heart and praise on our lips. It’s a good time to join David, the redeemed sinner, in rejoicing, “Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered” (Psalm 32:1).
Other psalms for when you feel the need for forgiveness: Psalm 38, Psalm 51, and Psalm 143.
This is the second article in a six-part series about the psalms’ guidance for our daily lives. Read the psalms with FIC in a new six-month Bible reading series.
Author: Richard Lauersdorf
Volume 110, Number 02
Issue: February 2023
- Psalm 103: When you count your blessings
- Psalm 91: When God lifts you up on his lap
- Psalm 4: When you draw nearer to the end
- Psalm 42: When you ask, “Where is God when I’m hurting?”
- Psalm 32: When you need forgiveness
- Psalm 130: When rocks fall
- Bible study: Freedom in service
- What does this mean for me? Article 6
- Bible study: Spiritual gifts
- What does this mean for me? Article 5
- What does this mean for me? Article 4
- Bible study: Rejoice in your status!
- Bible study: Baptismal blessings
- What does this mean for me? Article 3
- What does this mean for me? Article 2
- Bible study: Gifts of tongues and miraculous healing
- What does this mean for me? Article 1
- Bible study: Jesus is everyone’s Savior
- Bible study: Love one another
- Bible study: Above all things!
- Bible study: The comfort of God’s providence
- The book of James: Waiting for Christ’s return
- Bible study: Precious grace
- The book of James: Active in using prayer
- Bible study: Rewards of grace
- The book of James: Active in showing love
- The book of James: Correctly evaluating riches
- Bible study: What’s going to happen on the Last Day?
- The book of James: Avoiding loveless judging
- Bible study: Interpretation practice
- The book of James: Taming the tongue
- Bible study: The Bible’s attributes
- Bible study: The importance of the family altar
- Bible study: God’s attitude is grace
- Bible study: The Bible’s account of Easter morning
- Bible study: Different types of sin
- Bible study: God’s inspiration
- Bible study: Giving God glory
- Bible study: Judge for yourself
- The book of James: Using the Word of Truth
- Bible study: The need for the Bible and worship
- Bible study: Citizens of two kingdoms
- The book of James: Active in good works
- The book of James: When battling temptation
- Bible study: God cares
- Bible study: God made the world
- The book of James: When facing trials
- Bible study: A loving God saved people from hell
- The book of James: A blueprint for living out our life of faith
- A Bible story just for me: Guilt
- Bible study: God provides victory over death!
- A Bible story just for me: Anxiety
- Bible study: God forgives and refuses to remember our sins
- A Bible story just for me: Grief
- Bible study: God helps those who cannot help themselves
- A Bible story just for me: Depression
- Bible study: God has not grown soft on sin
- Bible study: Only one path leads to God’s presence
- A Bible story just for me: Trauma
- A Bible story just for me
- Bible study: God wants me in heaven
- Bible study: The incarnation of our Lord