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Psalms 32; 51; 86; 122 Listen
The essence of David's relationship with God (Psalm 32)
A Psalm of David. A Contemplation.
1 ¶ Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
Whose sin is covered.
2 Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity,
And in whose spirit there is no deceit.
3 When I kept silent, my bones grew old
Through my groaning all the day long.
4 For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;
My vitality was turned into the drought of summer.
5 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.
6 For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You
In a time when You may be found;
Surely in a flood of great waters
They shall not come near him.
7 You are my hiding place;
You shall preserve me from trouble;
You shall surround me with songs of deliverance.
8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will guide you with My eye.
9 Do not be like the horse or like the mule,
Which have no understanding,
Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle,
Else they will not come near you.
10 Many sorrows shall be to the wicked;
But he who trusts in the LORD, mercy shall surround him.
11 Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous;
And shout for joy, all you 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 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." 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 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." After being confronted by Nathan regarding his sin, David did not deny his sin; he just admitted and repented...continually.
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 made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become 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 to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit." 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, you righteous; And shout for joy, all you upright in heart!"
Incidentally, Paul actually quotes verses 1-2 in Romans 4:6-8 (see notes) when he says, " just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works: 'Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, And whose sins are covered; Blessed is the man to whom the LORD shall 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.
What do you say when your prophet has exposed your sin? (Psalm 51)
To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.
1 ¶ Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I acknowledge my transgressions,
And my sin is always before me.
4 Against You, You only, have I sinned,
And done this evil in Your sight—
That You may be found just when You speak,
And blameless when You judge.
5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me.
6 Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,
And in the hidden part You will 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 hear joy and gladness,
That the bones You have broken may rejoice.
9 Hide Your face from my sins,
And blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
The God of my salvation,
And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
16 For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
You do not delight in burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise.
18 Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion;
Build the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then You shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness,
With burnt offering and whole burnt offering;
Then they shall offer bulls on Your 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, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the LORD your God, which He commanded you. For now the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you." 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 what was right in the eyes of the LORD, and had not turned aside from anything that He commanded him all the days of his life, except 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 "guilt of bloodshed" in verse 14, he nevertheless says in verse 4, "Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your 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), "Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written: 'That You may be justified in Your words, And may overcome when You are 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 steadfast 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 You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight 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— These, O God, You will 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 Your ear, O LORD, hear me;
For I am poor and needy.
2 Preserve my life, for I am holy;
You are my God;
Save Your servant who trusts in You!
3 Be merciful to me, O Lord,
For I cry to You all day long.
4 Rejoice the soul of Your servant,
For to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
5 For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive,
And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.
6 Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer;
And attend to the voice of my supplications.
7 In the day of my trouble I will call upon You,
For You will answer me.
8 Among the gods there is none like You, O Lord;
Nor are there any works like Your works.
9 All nations whom You have made
Shall come and worship before You, O Lord,
And shall glorify Your name.
10 For You are great, and do wondrous things;
You alone are God.
11 Teach me Your way, O LORD;
I will walk in Your truth;
Unite my heart to fear Your name.
12 I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart,
And I will glorify Your name forevermore.
13 For great is Your mercy toward me,
And You have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.
14 O God, the proud have risen against me,
And a mob of violent men have sought my life,
And have not set You before them.
15 But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious,
Longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.
16 Oh, turn to me, and have mercy on me!
Give Your strength to Your servant,
And save the son of Your maidservant.
17 Show me a sign for good,
That those who hate me may see it and be ashamed,
Because You, LORD, have helped 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 You, For You will 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 Ascents. Of David.
1 ¶ I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go into the house of the LORD.”
2 Our feet have been standing
Within your gates, O Jerusalem!
3 Jerusalem is built
As a city that is compact together,
4 Where the tribes go up,
The tribes of the LORD,
To the Testimony of Israel,
To give thanks to the name of the LORD.
5 For thrones are set there for judgment,
The thrones of the house of David.
6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May they prosper who love you.
7 Peace be within your walls,
Prosperity within your palaces.”
8 For the sake of my brethren and companions,
I will now say, “Peace be within you.”
9 Because of the house of the LORD our God
I will seek your good.
David is named as the author in this one. The introduction to Psalms 120-134 says "A Song of Ascents." 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: “May they prosper who love you." 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."