FROM COVER-UP TO COVERED
Lord, cover my sin permanently.
Read PSALM 32
Of David. A maskil.[a]
1 Blessed is the one
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
2 Blessed is the one
whose sin the Lord does not count against them
and in whose spirit is no deceit.
3 When I kept silent,
my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night
your hand was heavy on me;
my strength was sapped
as in the heat of summer.[b]
5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you
and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess
my transgressions to the Lord.”
And you forgave
the guilt of my sin.
6 Therefore let all the faithful pray to you
while you may be found;
surely the rising of the mighty waters
will not reach them.
7 You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.
8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
9 Do not be like the horse or the mule,
which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
or they will not come to you.
10 Many are the woes of the wicked,
but the Lord’s unfailing love
surrounds the one who trusts in him.
11 Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous;
sing, all you who are upright in heart!
a Psalm 32:1 Title: Probably a literary or musical term
b Psalm 32:4 The Hebrew has Selah (a word of uncertain meaning) here and at the end of verses 5 and 7.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Sing or pray: “Search me, O God, and know my heart today, / Try me, O Savior, know my thoughts, I pray” (J. Edwin Orr, 1912–1987).
The psalms present two paths (wise and foolish), two kinds of people (righteous and wicked), two destinies (life and destruction). Psalm 32, the second of seven Penitential Psalms, also includes elements of “wisdom”: like Psalm 1, it opens with a pronouncement of blessedness (1,2) and concludes with a comparison between the wicked (10) and the righteous (10b,11). In David’s personal journey, from rebellion to repentance to restoration, we see the blessings enjoyed by the repentant and the woes suffered by the rebellious.
The media frequently expose cover-ups by prominent figures in politics, business, entertainment and sadly, the church. The cover-up is an age-old response to sin. Ever since the great fig-leaf cover-up, nations, organizations, and individuals have chosen cover-up over confession. Medical science affirms the close connection between physical, mental and emotional health. David’s unconfessed sin gnaws away at his physical and psychological well-being (3,4). His strength is “sapped” because he feels separated from God. Contrast this with the tree of Psalm 1:3, flourishing through remaining connected to its life-source.
When you experience this kind of disquiet or dis-ease, do you picture God’s “heavy” hand (4) as harsh and unrelenting, seeking to exact retribution? Or can you discern the fatherly hand of discipline as God yearns for restored relationship? Healing begins when the silence of denial is shattered by the acknowledgment of sin (5). Here is David, confessing as at an AA meeting, “I’m David. I’m a sinner.” When the cover-up stops, “sins get covered” (1b). As restoration begins (5c), “songs of deliverance” resound (7b).
God is both forgiver and law-giver. In Hebrew, law is “torah,” meaning instruction. A repentant heart responds to God’s instruction (8)—his gracious guidelines for enjoying abundant life.
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psa. 51:10).
Lord, thank You for forgiveness and restoration as You correct me during my short stay down here.
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