How often is your life burdened down by a guilty conscience? Do you struggle with moving on from past sins? Do you find God’s forgiveness seemingly just out of reach? King David knew the struggle of being burdened down with a guilty conscience. He understood the weight and struggle of living a burdened life not enjoying God’s forgiveness. From his own experience he gives us a precious truth to consider. He shows us how we can go from burden to blessing in Psalm 32:1-5.
Consider the Blessed Life: These first two verses give us the result of forgiveness which results in a blessed life. “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile” (Psalm 32:1-2).
When someone is “blessed” their life is a life that is envied by others because it is a life filled with peace and joy. The life that others look upon and desire to have is the life the one who knows they have been forgiven as they live in the reality of this truth. O how very happy is the man who knows he has been forgiven.
The person “in whose spirit there is no guile” is the person who has dealt honestly with his sin. He has confessed his sin before God. In other words, he has defined his own sin just like God defines it. This is a humble response to God’s convicting us of our sin. He then has taken God at His Word where it says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
To be forgiven from our transgressions, sin and iniquity is to be free of a life of guilt. That is a person who is to be envied. We all should desire to be in this state for it is a state that God desires for us to be in. This is His will for each of our lives. Consider how far God removes our sin that has been confessed and that He has forgiven…“As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12). The eternal distance between the east and the west is the distance that God removes the sin which He forgives. The reality of this in one’s life is blessing—this is the blessed life!
Consider the Burdened Life: In these next two verses we see the results of a life of consumed and weighted down by guilt. “When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the daylong. For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer Selah” (Psalm 32:3-4). This is the burdened life!
The heavy hand of God was David’s conscience bearing witness against him as it pressed down upon him convicting him of his sin. A guilty conscience can bring physical discomfort along with the obvious mental discomfort. A guilty conscience is designed by God to reveal to us the intrusion of sin into our lives in order to move us to deal with that sin.
Consider your conscience as a smoke detector. The smoke detectors in your house are designed to go off when smoke is present. Our conscience “goes off” when the intrusion of sin comes into our lives. To roll over and cover your head with a pillow when the smoke detector is sounding would be tremendously foolish. So too when our conscience is guilty, to disregard it is to act foolishly. Consider reading “Silencing the Sin Detector” here.
Consider the unBurdened Life: Here in verse 5 we see the remedy as David shares with us the process of getting right with God therefore going from burden to blessing. We must confront the intrusion of sin through confession of sin. He says, “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” (Psalm 32:5).
To “acknowledge my sin” is to take responsibility for my sin by saying the same thing about it that the Lord says. It is to see my sin as the Lord sees it. My sin is a trespass against His infinite holiness. My sin is an act of “cosmic treason”[i] against the holy God in which I fail to achieve His holy and righteous mark of obedience that He has set for me.
David speaks of his openness before the Lord. He had concealed his sin, in that he did not confess it for about a year. His actions, now in humility, are to lay bare his heart and mind before the Lord as he confesses his sin and seeks reconciliation. He stopped trying to cover his head with his pillow in hopes that the “smoke” might go away. Instead he took action, confronted the intrusion of sin and found peace in his life once again. He returned to the life of blessing.
The precious truth of this verse is the fact that God ALWAYS forgives the sin of a repentant heart. Keep in mind that David was forgiven for his sins of adultery and murder. God desires to forgive ALL the sin that is in your life, even the ones you don’t feel like He can forgive. We must move past feeling and rest in truth. Move beyond living in the reality dictated by your feelings and learn to live in the reality based upon what God says.
Because of our “forgiving God” we can have great joy and peace as we learn to find it in Him. When we confess our sin He, in His great grace, forgives us and covers our sin as if it never existed. In His great mercy He removes from our account the record of that sin. What a Great God we serve!
The wisest man who ever lived stated, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13). The truth of this verse is foundational to moving from burden to blessing. A pastor friend of mine put it well when he said, “When I cover my sin, the Holy Spirit will uncover it. When I uncover my sin, the Holy Spirit will cover my sin with the blood of Jesus Christ” (Steve Motes, Pastor of Chadds Ford Baptist Church).
It is the truth of God’s Word that sets us free. “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). When you rest in the stabilizing truths of God’s Word you move from living a reality based upon how you feel to a reality based upon truth. Let His truth truly set you free and move from a life of burden to a life of blessing.
[i] “Any sin is more or less heinous depending upon the honor and majesty of the one whom we had offended. Since God is of infinite honor, infinite majesty, and infinite holiness, the slightest sin is of infinite consequence. The slightest sin is nothing less than cosmic treason when we realize against Whom we have sinned.”—Jonathan Edwards