Monday, February 19

Scripture: Psalm 32:1-11Oh, what joy for those
    whose disobedience is forgiven,
    whose sin is put out of sight!
Yes, what joy for those
    whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt,
    whose lives are lived in complete honesty!
When I refused to confess my sin,
    my body wasted away,
    and I groaned all day long.
Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me.
    My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. Interlude

Finally, I confessed all my sins to you
    and stopped trying to hide my guilt.
I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.”
    And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone. Interlude

Therefore, let all the godly pray to you while there is still time,
    that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgment.
For you are my hiding place;
    you protect me from trouble.
    You surround me with songs of victory. Interlude

The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.
    I will advise you and watch over you.
Do not be like a senseless horse or mule
    that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.”

10 Many sorrows come to the wicked,
    but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the Lord.
11 So rejoice in the Lord and be glad, all you who obey him!
    Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!

Some thoughts:

     In keeping with the healthy reality of facing life and death head on, it is necessary to likewise face our own sin forthrightly for it is the reason we die in the first place. Honesty with repentance is one of the key themes of this season. Confessing involves facing our sin with courage, not making excuses, repenting, saying no to continued sinning, and resolving to resist the next time the situation arises, and it will. These four steps of recognize, regret, resolve, and refrain are what rabbis call Teshuva.

     The word for “confess” in Greek is “homologeo,” meaning “same word.” In other words, to recognize my sin and confess is to agree with God’s perfect assessment of my situation. If God always agrees with me, I have a problem. I do not have the God of the Bible! Confessing is not a negotiation process with God! God does not need my explanation. I need to humble myself and bow before him. Repenting involves viewing our lives as God does.

     David writes in the second verse of Psalm 32, “blessed is the one whose sin the LORD does not count against him, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.” What matters is not what you and I think about our own sin, but rather, what God thinks about it. The heart is deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9). We are also reminded that deceiving ourselves about our sin does not bring blessing either. Keeping quiet about it, ignoring it, or pretending it didn’t happen or doesn’t exist, does not make it go away. Unrepentant sin eats at us continually. It is an osmosis that will not leave or dry out in time. It is more like a fungus!

     In verse five David has had enough. He finally acknowledged his sin to the LORD and did not try to cover it up anymore. He said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.” And wonder of wonders, God forgave him (and us). In fact, God has already forgiven all our sin.

The result is a clear conscience, blessedness (being on the right road), lifted guilt, and protection. Look at what the result of repentance is (v.8-10). The Holy Spirit 1) instructs and teaches us as we move along this pilgrim path; 2) The Holy Spirit counsels us with his loving eye on us. Notice it is his loving eye on us. 3) We are not to be stubborn like animals that need to be driven and controlled. 4) Those people who reject God’s care and voice have a tough time. 5) God’s unfailing love surrounds those who trust him. What joy there is in repentance. Again, notice the emphasis is not on what we have done wrong, but on the joy and care God wants to shower on us.

     When one of our boys was little and had misbehaved, he was not a happy boy. After he confessed and was punished for his actions, his words were, “Daddy, I’m happy now!” Oh, the joy of a forgiven heart. Jesus took our punishment and paid the penalty for our sins. In John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress we see Christian, upon conviction coming to the place of repentance, cried out, “I perceive by the Book in my hand, that I am condemned to die, and after that to come to Judgment; and I find that I am not willing to do the first, nor able to do the second.” He saw his life as God did and began his pilgrimage of faith.

Music: “Miserere Mei Deus” Allegri, Voces8          k

The song is a Latin translation of Psalm 51 David’s psalm of confession.

Prayer: O Lord our God, grant us grace to desire you with our whole heart, that so desiring we may seek and find you, and so finding you, may love you, and loving you, may hate those sins from which you have redeemed us.              –Anselm 1033-1109