Was yesterday a bad day? Did you scream and slap your child? Did pornography find its way to your tablet? How many crass words flowed from your lips? Was yesterday one more day where you failed to pray without ceasing? Were you an insubordinate employee? Did you cheat on an exam or fail to perform according to your contract?
Was last month a really bad month? Was your spiritual flame a bit low? Did you fail to lead properly? Did you look at a bathing woman and lust for her? Did you abuse your power and summon her to your residence? Did you use her and send her home? Did you dishonor one of your best friends who would give his life for you? Was your conscience dull? Did you seek to cover your sin and its consequences with cunning deception? When that didn’t work, did you resort to murder? Was your conscience dead and did your heart prove to be stone cold?
Such was the condition of King David. However, despite his willful transgressions, God loved this very fallen man. God would not leave him be. Ultimately, a prophet was sent his way, a personal sermon was preached, conviction set in, and confession of sin was made. One can read David’s Psalm of repentance in Psalm 51:
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; build up the walls of Jerusalem; then will you delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar. (Psalm 51)
At this point, many would have allowed King David to stay aboard the Gospel Bus, but they never would have allowed him to drive. Many would have considered him unable to minister again, especially since he committed his heinous sin after coming to Christ and taking his ordination vows. According to some, his scandal would have resulted in his credentials being permanently lost. However, God had great plans for his sinful minister. David continued to sin. He continued to repent. And he continued to serve in prophetic, priestly, and kingly roles. Then, at a later time, this damaged minister penned what has become Psalm 32. In this sermon, he describes the woeful sinner, the wonderful Savior, and the worshiping saint. Let us hear the inspired instruction of the sinful saint beloved by the Savior and inspired by the Spirit:
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. For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. 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. 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. You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. 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. Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord. Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart! (Psalm 32)
The Woeful Sinner
Like David, we are transgressors. We are those who sin. Iniquity is never far from us. We proclaim one thing with our lips, and another thing with our desires, thoughts, words, and deeds. We are filled with deceit. (vs. 1-2)
Like David, we are slow to confess and seek forgiveness. We are tardy in our remembering, repenting, and recovering. And what is the result? Like David we, “waste away as God’s hand is heavy upon us; our strength is dried up.” (vs. 3-4) We are like the Prodigal Son sitting in the pen of swine. We know our sin. We know what we deserve. We know whom we have offended. We know with whom we need to meet and do our business, but we sit in the mud, eat the crud, and wallow in our sinful misery.
The Wonderful Savior
What ought we to do? Like David, we ought to run to our Father, acknowledge our sin, weep and wail over our lack of love, confess our transgressions to the Lord. (vs. 5) God is near, he is able to be found; it is time for God-fearing men and women to offer prayer to him. (vs. 6)
What will result? Like David, we will be able to rejoice that our:
- Transgressions are forgiven (vs. 1)
- Sins are covered (vs. 1)
- Iniquity is counted not against us (vs. 2)
- Spirit is cured from its deceitfulness (vs. 2)
- Iniquity is forgiven (vs. 5)
- Troubling condemnation, like rushing water, will be kept from us (vs. 6-7)
- Instead, heavenly shouts of deliverance will surround us (vs. 7)
How can this be? It is because David’s horrific and habitual sin, and all of us who know David’s Christ, was placed on the shoulders of Jesus who gave his life as a substitutionary sacrifice. And before he did this, all the obedience of Jesus Christ was destined to be wrapped around David and those who know his Greater Son. Like a robe of righteousness, the holiness of Jesus was placed upon our shoulders. Yes, as obscene as it sounds, Jesus was treated as the pornographic and abusive David, so that David and his fellow worshipers might be treated like the pure and honorable sons of God. This is the Gospel, and it demands that we pause, think, and give praise. Selah.
The Wise Worshiper
What now? Should we go on our way, keep sinning, and cheapen the grace of our Loving Lord? Hear the questioning words of David, “Are we really going to live like lethargic horses or idiotic mules who have to keep learning the hard way?” Must our days continually be filled with asinine sorrow? (vs. 8-10) No way!
Like David, we are going to value the instruction and teaching of God. We are going to cherish his counsel and Law. (vs. 8) As we trust in the righteousness of our Savior, so we are going to trust his right way, (vs. 9) and we are going to be filled with love, gladness, rejoicing, and shouting. (vs. 10-11)
We who are “upright in heart,” we are going to walk like upright men and not like bent-down donkeys.