This Psalm is attributed to David. It could have been written by David in the times that he considered his greatest of sins before the prophet Nathan came to declare thou art the man. But I really think that this Psalm was written afterwards as a compliment of Psalms 51. How could David who had seen the loving kindness of God be content to write just one Psalm about the forgiveness of his sins? Surely David was overwhelmed by his guilt and also overjoyed by the forgiveness shown to him by God.
There are many lessons that Christians today can learn from this Psalm as well as many others written in the Bible. As the apostle Paul wrote to the Romans; the things written beforehand were written for our instruction (15:4). And consider also what Paul wrote to young Timothy; All scripture is given by inspiration and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness. (2 Tim. 3:16)
The last word of the title, Maschil, is thought to mean that the psalm was intended for instruction, warning, or admonition; the word maschil, or rather maskil, being formed from askil, to instructtaken from the first word of the eighth verse (Pulpit Commentary Vol. 8 pg 236), and used in other psalms to convey they same thought.
1How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
Whose sin is covered!
2 How blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity,
And in whose spirit there is no deceit!
Too often the Christian fails to appreciate the importance of the forgiveness of sins. Too often we rely upon our own righteousness and our constant effort to live righteously before God, that we forget that we are sinful people, and in a sense we are by nature, children of wrath. Whereas the Christian has turned around a great deal of this wrath into a sense of duty towards God, we all are foolish or naïve to admit we have no sin. The apostle John warned us about declaring our non-sin in 1 John1: 8 and 10. Yes we are sinners, but we are also forgiven sinners and there is a huge difference in the two.
Many fail to recognize the great sacrifice made on behalf of all mankind was done primarily for ME. God looked down upon me with mercy and loving kindness and sent His Son to die for ME. Through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus my transgression is forgiven, and thankfully forgotten by God. My sins have been covered with the blanket of propitiation to hide my sins from the presence and view of God. As a result, I am able to have a relationship to God as a child does with a loving father. Having the security of His strength to envelope me, I have confidence that my Father will provide all that I need. A blessing almost beyond comprehension, but simple enough to realize, that all may come to know the joy of experiencing it.
We also seemingly fail to recognize that our iniquities have been removed from us, and we fail to see the great blessing that this provides for us. For the apostle John tells us that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5). No darkness can enter the presence of God. Sin and those in sin cannot have a relationship with Him.
We must also acknowledge that we are not perfect either, even though God wants us to be. This is why we need His grace and why we need to be diligent to be found in Him blameless (without iniquity).
Our inner man/person is to be found spotless and blameless. This can only be accomplished with the blood of Jesus, which we access, by faithful obedience. When we truly realize the blessings involved in having our sins forgiven, we are overwhelmed by a joy that is almost inexpressible, but also available to anyone who so chooses.
3 When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away
Through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me;
My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. Selah.
When we sin, we usually know it. We understand that God is not pleased and if we will not turn from the wrong way, we will lose our souls. As long as we recognize our sin, and do nothing to seek forgiveness, that burden weighs us down. A tremendous guilt will cause our soul to languish and our bodies to wither away. Guilt will cause us to lose our appetite, and we will not be motivated to seek our better welfare, because down deep, we know we are not worthy.
Whether we realize it or not, our body groans in pangs and steadily collapses into despair. It seems that everything goes wrong and that the world is looking upon me and causing me great shame.
But God be thanked that we Christians have an Advocate that responds on our behalf. It is still up to us to repent of our sins and turn from them, and the blood of Jesus will cleanse us of our sins. (1 John 1:7,9). If we do not turn from our sins, they will carry us into a condition whereby our return is almost impossible. So it is best to acknowledge and confess our sins to God, and if you think it would help, to confess your sins to other Christians who would be able to sympathize with you as Christ can do also (Heb. 4:15,16).
5 I acknowledged my sin to Thee,
And my iniquity I did not hide;
I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord ";
And Thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin.Selah.
One of the most difficult things for any man or woman to do is to acknowledge their sins and shortcomings. We are taught to have confidence in ourselves and to control our own destiny. We are told from our youngest days to grow up and mature and to be responsible. As a result, we learn from our own education and by the example of others that sin is not my fault. So many in the world today try to define sin in various ways that the word has lost its impact. Many fail to see the need to say, Im sorry. Many relationships are strained by such pride and ego being displayed.
One person that we cannot hide our sins from is God. God knows all that we do and even knows why we do it. Since God already knows, why are we compelled to acknowledge our sin to Him? It is because we are guilty and we have to recognize our own inability and unworthiness. That God knows is not a reason not to acknowledge our sins. Once we confess our sins, the great burden is lifted and taken away, and a sense of well-being and joy comes over us. The result should be that God would be praised and given glory by us.
6 Therefore, let everyone who is godly pray to Thee in a time when Thou mayest be found;
Surely in a flood of great waters they shall not reach him.
7 Thou art my hiding place; Thou dost preserve me from trouble;
Thou dost surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah.
We have the confidence that God hears the prayers of the righteous and is attentive to their prayers. So why, if I have sin, am I allowed this privilege? It is because I am attempting to be godly. I have learned of my ways that are not considered righteousness, and have confessed to God my sin. (1 John 1:7,9) The sacrifice of Jesus is once again provided for me to have my sins washed away.
God may be found anytime we want to find Him. The prophet Isaiah wrote: Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near (55:6) God is ever ready to provide for us. All we have to do is ask and seek. As Jesus promised: ask and it shall be given to you, seek and you shall find (Matt 7:7).
But once we become so overwhelmed by the floodwaters of sin, we find it more difficult to return to God. It is like getting caught in a rip tide at the beach. You struggle and fight the waves for survival. Most people drown because they give up and allow the tide to carry them out to sea, but others survive because they determined to do what they needed to do. They called for the lifeguard, and they gathered every ounce of strength they could, and in many cases, they called upon the Lord to deliver them from the deep. There is great danger in the many waters, so let us be careful not to get caught up in the tide of sin. The farther we are carried away, the lesser the chance to receive salvation.
God is also considered to be our refuge and our hiding place. How often did we seek the safety and security of the arms of a parent or other adult when we were children? We learned that dangers abound in the world and safety was something to be cherished and sought. We have the promise that nothing can snatch us from the security of the hands of God. That is as long as we ourselves seek His protection.
And yes, God does shower us and surround us with songs of deliverance. The constant teachings of the Gospel make this fact known. The fellowship of Christians encourages us to live a tranquil life and to walk righteously before God. Many of the songs, hymns, psalms, and spiritual songs we sing are written to give us the hope and confidence of our deliverance.
8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go;
I will counsel you with My eye upon you.
9 Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, Whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check,
Otherwise they will not come near to you.
These verses seem to be written as if God were doing the speaking. Maybe we could view the words as of a loving father given to his son, and this would certainly be appropriate for our heavenly Father towards us. The teaching of God is only as powerful as our willingness to be taught. We have a choice to learn of God or to reject the knowledge of Him and His glory. Many seem to be very selective in what they want to learn about God and serving Him. Yet His eye sees us in all that we do, and the knowledge of that fact should impress us to walk and live righteously before Him. As the presence of security cameras and personnel keep the temptation of theft and wrong doing to a minimum, so our understanding of Gods eyes upon us will be a suitable deterrent to sin.
The apostle Jude described the wicked as unreasoning animals that had to be corralled and bridled up to keep them in check and under control. Our warning is to not be like them, but to gain understanding, and that comes from the knowledge of God, and our willingness to submit to His will.
10 Many are the sorrows of the wicked;
But he who trusts in the Lord, lovingkindness shall surround him.
11 Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous ones,
And shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart.
True that many sorrows come upon the wicked. Some are evident, and some are not. Sometimes we look upon the wicked in a covetous way and see them having fun and enjoying life to the fullest. We see them involved in all sorts of vise and the world portrays that as the good life.
But a Christian truly understands what a good life really is. A faithful obedience of Gods teachings will produce the greatest joy. As we realize that the world offers us death, but Christ offers life. God through Moses told the people to choose life or death, and that the choice would be found in the choices they made to either serve Him as their God or by the choosing the evils of the world to put their confidence into (Deut 30:15-20)
There are many verses describing the man who puts his trust into the Lord of heaven. The central theme of the Old Testament seems to be toward that one goal. As the Old Testament looks forward, God is asking people to put their faith in Him. Faith is a trust. It is a belief that God will take care of us and protect us from evil. This will happen when we allow God to have first place in our lives. We cast our care upon Him because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). We have the security and safety of His mighty arms as our strength and protection.
When we are cognitive of His abiding presence, we are walking with God. We walk with confidence and we walk uprightly. We walk with the intention of allowing others to see that walk and to recognize the glory of God upon us. Our peace that surpasses understanding is one of the most potent weapons we carry with us. As people view our confidence and serenity, they realize that it is a gift that they do not have and they will inquire about our hope. Peter tells us to sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone that asks you to given an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.(1 Peter 3:15).
When it finally impresses upon our hearts the great joy that God has provided for us, we will shout for joy in ways we had not comprehended before. We will be so impressed by the greatness of God and His great mercy shown towards us that we will declare it to all we know.
Let us meditate upon our salvation. Let us contemplate what the Lord has done for us. Let us consider His ways and realize His great love for us, and the provision He gave us. Let us gain confidence in Gods salvation. And finally, let us share that good news with others, and encourage them to do the same. Who knows, perhaps we will even shout because of the joy within us.
May we all learn more of God and His truths. May the Lord bless you in your study of His word, and may the Lord look down upon you with loving-kindness.
By Carey Scott (2/10/2003)
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