Blessed are the Realistic

"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."
Psalm 32:1-2

 

I don’t know for sure the precise occasion of the 32nd Psalm for King David. But I’m pretty sure I know the precise reason. There are few things in this world more comforting or beautiful than for the clouds of sin and regret to break so that the light of knowing you’re forgiven shines through. 

 

There are few things in this world more comforting or beautiful than for the clouds of sin and regret to break so that the light of knowing you’re forgiven shines through.

 

There’s a connection David makes for us here that is invaluable to the endurance of our souls: the connection between sinning and reality. It is an immeasurable blessing to be forgiven. It is an indescribable joy for our sins to be covered. It is an incalculable gift to have the Lord Himself not keep a record of our sins for future reference. But it is also an immeasurable blessing to know why.

Blessed is the one who isn’t unrealistic about how desperately he needs the Lord not to count his iniquity against him. 

Blessed is the one who isn’t deceived about his condition. 

 

[3] For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. [4] For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah
 

To reject our ongoing (nay, hilariously desperate) need for God’s forgiveness is to commit internal suicide. Our “bones” don’t “waste away” under conviction due to the weight or power of sin. Sin has been defanged; it’s back has been broken by the Righteous One. They waste away because nothing erodes the insides like neglecting the Gospel.    

 

Do you want to let the water fill your lungs as you gasp and wheeze for air? Fine.
Slap the lifeguard’s hand away.

 

It’s the only time I can recall that God is described specifically as “heavy-handed.” Do you want to feel the hand of God Himself holding you to the floor? Try to run from mercy. Do you want to let the water fill your lungs as you gasp and wheeze for air? Fine. Slap the lifeguard’s hand away.

 

[5] I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah [6] Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found; surely in the rush of great waters, they shall not reach him. [7] You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah

 

Here’s what David is getting at…now we know what he’s trying to say. Confession is not about a debt still unpaid. Confession is about honoring the wisdom and intent of the Benefactor of Grace. You aren’t going to surprise Him. He isn’t going to have to sit down and catch a breath due to some inconveniently unforeseen depth in your depravity. Confession is about who forgives, not what needs forgiving. He’s a hiding place for you. He is preservation from trouble. When you confess that you have, once again, shotgunned a fifth of poison, it is an occasion for the Benefactor to remind you just how wealthy He really is. Which would explain why, against every millimeter of human logic, when the prodigal comes home for say…the 1932nd time, He surrounds you with shouts of deliverance. “YOU’RE CLEAN! IT’S DONE! IT IS FINISHED! YOU ARE SAFE!” He booms again and again and again. In the face of that, maybe we can start to see why refusing to confess our sin makes less-than-zero sense. What in the world are we running from? What on earth is the point of withholding confession? It’s either that we don’t believe He’s that good or that we’re not that bad. Both are poison. Both reject Jesus. Both are trying your hands behind your back and running face first into a brick wall. 

 

Be realistic. Bank on needing forgiveness. The well will
never run dry. 

 

 

[8] I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. [9] Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you. [10] Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD.

 

David records in the ninth verse that God has broken into the writing of this Psalm to say, “Don’t be stubborn and refuse to confess what I already know…that’s how horses and mules act. They have to be forced against their will with a tool separate from their owner’s hand. If that’s how you respond when you sin, the assurance of forgiveness (“it”) won’t be found anywhere.” There is no refuge somewhere outside the arms of your Father.  

Be realistic. Bank on needing forgiveness. The well will never run dry. 

Horses and mules choose sorrow over being surrounded by the steadfast love of the Lord. The call to forgiveness is a call to sanity in the asylum of our own selves. 

 

[11] Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart! 

 

This whole psalm is about worshipping God for redemption and having the grace-given wisdom to acknowledge, confess, and then FORGET about my sin. That’s who He is. That’s what He does. Bank on it. Ask for the gracious gift of good sense to keep you from running from mercy. Shout for joy because you’ve been forgiven! Imagine that life. Imagine that while you’re shouting for joy because God has forgiven you, He shouts back with assurances of deliverance. Let that sink in. Selah.

Humility is the only realistic form of self-awareness. Bank on mercy. You’ll need it. 

He’s good.