[Today:] Psalm Thirty-Two / Thirty-Three: The Forgiveness and Ardent Favor of God. In these two chapters we discover a different kind of psalm based not only on motivating us with prose but instructing us as well. Psalm 32 speaks of the forgiveness of God and the need for our sins to be forgiven, lifted off and covered. Psalm 33 tells us that the earth is full of God’s goodness and the ARDENT and PASSIONATE love of God. We tend to see God as an aloof, altruistic figure on a distant throne. David saw God in a completely different light than this. For David – looking out upon the earth, the goodness of God and passionate love of God was everywhere in evidence.
[Psa 32:1-11 KJV] 1 [[[A Psalm] of David, Maschil.]] 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.
In the beginning of this psalm we find the first mention of “maschil” which some believe is reference to a musical instrument. Rabbinical sources suggest that it is actually a description of a psalm that is instructional in nature. An example of that for us would be the “abc” song that teaches us the alphabet. When Paul speaks in 1 Cor. 14:15 of “singing in the spirit and singing in the understanding” some believe that he is referring to this type of psalm, in effect a “maschil” or instructional psalm – sung extemporaneously. This is interesting because it would suggest from the reading in 1 Corinthians then that a prophetic, extemporaneous song “in the spirit” could be doctrinal in nature which is generally not the opinion among Charismatic, renewalist Christians.
If this psalm is “instructional” in nature what is it instructing us? It is speaking about pardon for sin and the forgiveness of God. When verse 1 speaks of sin being pardoned it means literally “lifted up, bore and carried away”. Sin therefore is a burden that the sacrifice of Christ on the cross lifts off of us. This is interesting and it is helpful to us because younger generational have little understanding of the idea of sin even those who have come up with religious instruction. When you mention sin they get a blank stare on their face as though they little understand how that concept has any application to them. However if we speak to a young person about being “burdened down” because of the past then there is a better connection and they way is shown for us in personal evangelism how to expostulate the claims of Christ to an uniniatiated young person in today’s culture.
When mention is made of sin being covered it carries with it the idea of something disgusting and impure that we don’t want to look at. Our sins are obnoxious and nauseating to us (or at least they should be if our conscience is intact). How are our sins covered? Our sins are covered by the provision of the shed blood of Christ. The shedding of blood is necessary because sin calls for punishment or consequences in light of divine justice. There is a sense of justice in God. When man disobeyed he not only yielded to Satan but he also defied God. 1 Tim. 2:14 tells us that Eve was actually deceived by Satan when she was tempted but that Adam was not deceived. Adam actually knew exactly what he was doing when he partook of the forbidden fruit. This is the difference in a crime of the 1st degree and a crime of the 2nd degree.
A 1st degree crime is premeditated and carries with it a heavier punishment. Adam premeditated with full knowledge of his rebellion against God. That culpability is in us an inborn rebellion by virtue of our birth into the human race. When that rebellion explodes into actions, choices and pursuit of life outside of the Lordship of Christ then punishment is called for – unless by repentance and contrition we become recipients of the covering blood of Christ whereby He put Himself on the cross to suffer in our place. Thus our sins are covered by the love of God who gave His son and His son who willingly took our place and accepted on Himself our just punishment.
[Psa 33:1-22 KJV] 1 Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: [for] praise is comely for the upright. 2 Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery [and] an instrument of ten strings. 3 Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise. 4 For the word of the LORD [is] right; and all his works [are done] in truth. 5 He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD. 6 By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. 7 He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses. 8 Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. 9 For he spake, and it was [done]; he commanded, and it stood fast. 10 The LORD bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect.
In this psalm David extols the goodness of God. In fact David overlooks all of the nations of the wicked around him who hunted his soul and sought his destruction in saying this. David declares that God is good and that the earth is full of His goodness. The word used for “goodness” here is translated as mercy in the bible 149 times in other references. It also is translated as God’s lovingkindness, pity, faithfulness, desire and zealous ardor. We see then that God’s goodness is not an aloof altruism. God is zealous in His goodness. God’s goodness flows through His passion. God is passionate in His nature. We tend to see passion or zeal as unsophisticated. The word ardor that is included in the meaning of the word goodness as it applies to God is unfamiliar to us. The best example we could give of the ardent love of God is in Jane Austen’s “Pride and Predjudice” when Elizabeth’s Mr. Darcy exclaims to her “I love you – most ARDENTLY!” This reflects for us in a small way the passion of God. He puts His goodness in the earth for the same way you surprise your wife with roses or a bottle of her favorite perfume. (You do this do you not?) God is a good God and His fills the earth with His goodness in the same passion and love that a suitor fills the life of his beloved with the tokens of his affection for her. God loves you – MOST ARDENTLY!
11 The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations. 12 Blessed [is] the nation whose God [is] the LORD; [and] the people [whom] he hath chosen for his own inheritance. 13 The LORD looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men. 14 From the place of his habitation he looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth. 15 He fashioneth their hearts alike; he considereth all their works. 16 There is no king saved by the multitude of an host: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength. 17 An horse [is] a vain thing for safety: neither shall he deliver [any] by his great strength. 18 Behold, the eye of the LORD [is] upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; 19 To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. 20 Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he [is] our help and our shield. 21 For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name. 22 Let thy mercy, O LORD, be upon us, according as we hope in thee.
Verse 12 says that the nation whose God is the Lord is a most blessed nation? Why is this? Are not nations filled with contradiction and difficulty by their very nature? Not necessarily. In modern times we have few examples of nations that are experiencing the unqualified blessing of God. When a people however diverse in a nation acknowledge to the best of their ability the sovereignty and love of God there is a protection and a provisioning that comes upon that nation that has nothing to do with state’s craft or any human origination. If we on the other hand live in a nation that forgets God then even though we desire to walk in righteousness and obedience to God there is still the atmosphere of inquity we will of necessity have to deal with as Lot who vexed his righteous soul day and night living in Sodom.
Verse 16 and 17 tell us that a king is not saved by the strength of his army or the number of his horses. He says a horse is a vain thing for strength. In modern terms we might compare the horse to the superior armaments of our nation that we might assume affords us the protections we enjoy. Just a precursory consideration of the powerlessness with which the western world has been unable to stem the tide of Jihad would tell us that for all our strength and technology we are still vulnerable. What is the solution? To call our nation back to God. This isn’t popular. It is consider passé and unsophisticated. Yet the testimony of David – an experienced king of a troubled nation, that the favor of God and the love of God manifest upon an obedient and humble people is the key to deliverance and security that our governments can’t give us.
What is our recourse then? It seems daunting beyond all possibility that our country – so far gone in the path of inquity and secularism would ever turn again to God. What is the answer? Verse 18 – we hope in God’s mercy. We wait on the Lord, we look to Him in His mercy to be our hope and our shield. Verse 21 exhorts us not to trust in ourselves but to trust in His holy name and (v. 22) to ask for His mercy to be upon us and our hopes to be not in the false promises of a jaded political leadership but upon God Himself. Can I suggest to you that in the present election cycle Donald Trump is not our hope? The next Republican administration is not our salvation. Neither is Hilary Clinton or the Democratic party. Our hope is not in political ideology. Our hope is in God. It’s that simple. Until we find that out and return to that basic truth there is very little expectation that our fate nationally is going to be altered much regardless who sits in the Oval Office.
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