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Psalms 32; 51; 86; 122 Listen
A Psalm of David, Maschil.
1 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
2 Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.
3 When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long.
4 For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah.
5 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.
6 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.
7 Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.
8 I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.
9 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.
10 Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about.
11 Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.
Psalm 32 was written by David and is one of the seven penitential Psalms, the others being Psalm 6 (see notes), Psalm 38 (see notes), Psalm 51 (see below), Psalm 102 (see notes), Psalm 130 (see notes) and Psalm 143 (see notes). While not certain, it is quite probable that David wrote this in the aftermath of his sin with Bathsheba in II Samuel 11 (see notes); it seems very similar to Psalm 51 (see below) where we know from the introduction that the sin being confessed was that of adultery with Bathsheba. However, before David's confession regarding his sin, we see the torment of unconfessed sin in verses 3-4, "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." A close relationship with God is not possible through a veil of deceit and unconfessed sin.
Ever wonder why David was so highly favored by God? I think verse 5 captures the essence of this relationship when he says, "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." After being confronted by Nathan regarding his sin, David did not deny his sin; he just admitted and repented...continually. By the way, the word "Maschil" in the introduction of this Psalm indicates it was a "didactic" (teaching) poem.
This Psalm serves as a great example for the Christian life. II Corinthians 5:21 (see notes) describes the Believer's relationship with God through Jesus Christ when it says, "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." That fits nicely with verses 1-2 of this Psalm, "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." Just like David, our sins are forgiven as we exercise I John 1:9 (see notes), "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
David caps this one off with the joy experienced when we restore our fellowship with our Heavenly Father as seen in verse 11, "Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart."
Incidentally, Paul actually quotes verses 1-2 in Romans 4:6-8 (see notes) when he says, "Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin." He uses this reference to make it clear that David didn't believe salvation came through works either - all the way back to the Old Testament.
To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.
1 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.
5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
9 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.
15 O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.
16 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
18 Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.
Here's another of the seven penitential Psalms, the others being Psalm 6 (see notes), Psalm 38 (see notes), Psalm 32 (see above), Psalm 102 (see notes), Psalm 130 (see notes) and Psalm 143 (see notes). As the heading says, this one was definitely written by David subsequent to Nathan's identification of David's sin with Bathsheba in II Samuel 11 (see notes). He is very remorseful in this Psalm. Note that in verse 5 David ascribes original sin at birth - proof that David believed life started at conception. He wants to be cleansed and begs God for such.
By anyone's standards, David is confessing before God his sin for terrible transgressions - adultery and complicity in murder. Yet, David's position before God was always one of repentance. Look at I Samuel 13:13-14 (see notes), "And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever. But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee." David's legacy was that he was a man after God's own heart; he hated to disappoint God.
As a matter of reference, let's take a look at several commendations of David found in scripture:
Yet, we know David engaged in adultery and murder - sins to which he confessed when confronted by Nathan. As a matter of fact, David is commended again in I Kings 15:5 (see notes), but with a qualification, "Because David did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite." That brings up a practical Christian-living point. Many times people confess a wrong doing only after being cornered, leaving no plausible recourse for denial. Some often cynically point out that the only reason they repented is because they got caught. Somehow in their minds, one doesn't get full credit for repenting if they were caught first. It should be noted, however, that David was caught by Nathan before he actually repented, and it counted. Nonetheless, God didn't give David a free pass; he was still severely chastised with the death of his out-of-wedlock son linked directly to his sin along with subsequent turmoil in his own house several years later (II Samuel 12:24-25, see notes). Yet, once again let me say, God honored his repentant heart.
There's another fine point I see here in Psalm 51. While David acknowledges his "bloodguiltiness" in verse 14, he nevertheless says in verse 4, "Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight." Was David's sin only against God? As we have seen throughout the Old Testament, Kings had their way with their subjects; they didn't seem to feel restricted in their atrocities against their subjects by our modern-day social standards. Yet, God expected more from his anointed Kings of Israel. The Law of Moses - God's law - dictated the actions of God's people. David obviously realized that actions in which kings of other nations might view as their right, God himself deemed as absolutely, positively trespasses against God himself. Thus, David's sin was against God.
Incidentally, Paul quotes from Psalm 51:4 when he says in Romans 3:4 (see notes), "God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged."
What about the process of restoration of fellowship? Who makes the move...God or the child of God? In this Psalm we see David repenting of his sin in verses 3-4, but calling upon God to do his part in the process in verse 10, "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me." Today, only the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit can make one's "heart" clean. I John 1:9 (see notes) states the process when it says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." When we do the confessing, God does the cleaning.
One more issue should be noted in this Psalm: It's not about doing; it's about confessing and restoration. Notice what David says about simply going through the process of "doing" in verse 16, "For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering." Guilt before God isn't relieved simply with acts of sacrifice; it takes authentic confession before God, prompting David to declare in verse 17, "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise." Many Christians (and non Christians) go through the processes of formal worship-like practices when all God really wants from them is authentic confession from their hearts.
God is good; now bless me! (Psalm 86)
A Prayer of David.
1 Bow down thine ear, O LORD, hear me: for I am poor and needy.
2 Preserve my soul; for I am holy: O thou my God, save thy servant that trusteth in thee.
3 Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto thee daily.
4 Rejoice the soul of thy servant: for unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
5 For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.
6 Give ear, O LORD, unto my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications.
7 In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me.
8 Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works.
9 All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name.
10 For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone.
11 Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.
12 I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore.
13 For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell.
14 O God, the proud are risen against me, and the assemblies of violent men have sought after my soul; and have not set thee before them.
15 But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.
16 O turn unto me, and have mercy upon me; give thy strength unto thy servant, and save the son of thine handmaid.
17 Shew me a token for good; that they which hate me may see it, and be ashamed: because thou, LORD, hast holpen me, and comforted me.
David prays to God for support, from a conviction that God is merciful, good, ready to forgive, and that there is none like him. Notice verse 7, "In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me." David had confidence in God, to whom he turned when trouble rolled his way. Incidentally, you will notice that David credits God with everything in this Psalm. It is important for Believers to understand that it is God who gives us the power to live a separated, committed Christian life in a godless world. Our job is to establish uninterrupted communications with God; God will do the rest.
Jerusalem is a special place (Psalm 122)
A Song of degrees of David.
1 I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.
2 Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem.
3 Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together:
4 Whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the LORD.
5 For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David.
6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.
7 Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces.
8 For my brethren and companions’ sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee.
9 Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek thy good.
David is named as the author in this one. The introduction to Psalms 120-134 says "a song of degrees." The Hebrew word for degrees means "steps of ascent." It is not clear what this means. The Mishnah (Jewish collection of writings on Jewish thought and tradition) assigns the collection of fifteen songs (Psalms 120-134) with the fifteen steps of the temple suggesting that the Levites sang these songs of ascents. Perhaps so, but it may rather be that the songs were sung in the three annual festival processions, as the participants ascended to Jerusalem.
There's a clear theme in this Psalm - the health of Jerusalem. Verse 6 says, "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee." That's pretty clear to me; how about you? It is important for Believers to recognize that prophetic scripture revolves around the health and welfare of Jerusalem. The major events of prophecy have as their setting the physical location of Jerusalem itself. For more information, click here to read, "A Guide to Prophetic Scripture."