Forgiveness-Psalm 32

Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit there is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night you hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. 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. Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them. You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with the songs of deliverance. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Do not be like the horse or the mule who have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him. Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart.

Fear of Exposure

Growing up I was always afraid that I was lukewarm in my faith in Jesus (enter spitting sound…now). He gave himself for me and I don’t even want to sing the hymns at church! Well, It was true, I was 574447_10151482366557962_655928704_nlukewarm. But worse than not liking to sing the church hymns, (I’d rather have sung Bon Jovi…hey Bon Jovi even lived on a prayer…am I right?…ok I’ll stop) I didn’t feel like God liked me. I knew that I had sin, but I just couldn’t get it right! Wasn’t that the point of being a Christian? Getting it right so that God would now at least like me?

The affect that this belief had on my heart was that when I did sin I certainly couldn’t tell anyone. Fear of exposure became my worst nightmare. Fearing that we are alone in our sin and struggles leaves us abandoned to isolation, or as the Psalmist puts it “day and night your hand was heavy on me…” And Jesus’ words in John 9:41 remind us that our guilt remains if we claim that we don’t have sin. Truly, confession is still incredibly difficult. I don’t want to, but need to come clean. Confession of sin and exposure to the Lord, and sometimes to friends, what is going on in my heart is essential for growth in Christ.

2 Truths and A Promise

These 2 things are true about sin in scripture, 1. all have sinned (Romans 3:23) and 2. everyone needs forgiveness (Hebrews 9:22). I don’t like to confess sin. I don’t like to go to God over and over again with the same struggles. It’s not fun. But when I read Psalm 32 I’m reminded of the Grace of God found in Christ.

Blessed is the one (man in the Hebrew) whose sins are forgiven! What happens to this man if he keeps his sin to himself? The crusting weight of his isolation is too much for him. He has to tell someone. He has to tell his Lord what he has done. But in confessing his sin, he demonstrates faith in who God says he is. And with each demonstration of weakness, his faith grows.

I remember when Brady (our now 9 year-old) came to me one day with tears in his eyes. He had scratched the “treasured” minivan (not this minivan) and just couldn’t live without telling us about it. I can remember times when the guilt and conviction of sin against another person was so strong that there was no activity that I could engage in until I told them what I had done.

We practice a weekly corporate confession of sin in our worship service. It is a message to those who believe that we must take sin seriously. But this time of confession is always followed up with a wonderful promise of forgiveness. This time of confession is also for the unbeliever in our midst. It is a time for them to consider whether or not they believe that there is sin in their lives and whether they have faith to trust in Christ.

The Apostle John reminds us of this promise of forgiveness. “For if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleans us form all unrighteousness.” John is repeating what the Psalmist is saying here. But from John and from Psalm 32 we are reminded of how essential it is to acknowledge our sin and then to talk to God about it.

No Blood No Forgiveness

The author of Hebrews expounds on the Old Testament laws and comments on their sacrificial practices. Hebrews reminds us that sin brings death and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness for sins. No matter what we do, or give up, or try to accomplish, we cannot provide for that sacrifice. The Old Testament sacrifices pointed to the One who would be sacrificed for us. We have that sacrifice in Jesus Christ, our Great High Priest.

The blessing that the Psalmist speaks of in Psalm 32 is the freedom that we have when we are bold enough to stop hiding. Every opportunity to confess what sin does to us if a equal reminder to consider what Christ has done for us.

There is no greater freedom than to be in right standing with our Creator. There is no greater freedom to know that someone fully knows us and that God our Father has forgiven our sins. Do not be the horse or the mule who gets pulled here and there acting as if nothing is wrong.

Remember that the…”Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him. Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart” Taste and see that the Lord is good!

Glory-Psalm 24

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it;
the world, and all who live in it;
for he founded it on the seas
and established it on the waters.
Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?
The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not trust in and idol or swear by a false god.
They will receive blessing from the Lord
and vindication from God their Savior.
Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek your face, God of Jacob.
Lift up your heads, you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
the Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, you gates;
lift them up you ancient doors.
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is he, this King of glory?
The Lord Almighty-He is the King of glory.

כָּבוֹד The Battle For Glory

I’m not much of a sports guy, but I do find that at times I am jealous for those who are. I wish I had a “team” or a “player” that I loved to follow. Whether you’re a fan or not it’s not hard to argue the case that all pro sports have their glory hounds. An article published in The Bleacher Report a few years ago highlights a struggle for athletes who are good at their craft.  In the article, the author presents the 20 most self-centered athletes in the world. This is of course subjective but nonetheless it leaves the reader with 20 opportunities to judge those who make more money than we do. In this short article we see 20 people scrutinized for their attempt to make much of themselves.

In Psalm 24 David uses the Hebrew word כָּבוֹד kavowd to describe God’s glory. The definition is complex and can be defined in a few ways but the overall idea is evidence of greatness, or wonder and amazement at the power and prominence of someone’s performance. Whew…that’s kind of wordy but we all understand what it boils down to. Glory means that someone get’s the credit.

But someone has to get credit right? If we play basketball against LeBron James and lose we can’t say that it was because we had an off day. LeBron wins every time. He gets the glory. Making much of ourselves has never been a problem for only pro athletes. One of the  greatest struggle in humanity is our battle for the glory that is due to God and God alone. Pastor and counselor Paul Tripp puts it well when he says,

“human beings are glory junkies…Whether you like to admit to it or not, you’re addicted to glory. Glory junkies talk about themselves a lot. Their story is the most important and their interests are better than anyone else’s. This may seem harsh, but be honest – you and I often see people as a waste of time. When we’re overly confident and independent, people become an irritating and unhelpful interruption of what we could accomplish on our own.”

Glory Comes From Sacrifice

Psalm 24 gives us a glimpse of The Kingdom of God. In a kingdom it’s only the King who gets the glory. David starts with a reminder of our condition in verses 1-3, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it…” Glory is rooted in ownership. As kids we would taunt each other on the court with phrases like, “I own you!” Our intent was to gain glory by ousting the other. This is fun when it’s sports and it’s done for humor, but it’s sin when done to gain glory for ourselves. David is painting a picture to remind us of who owns what.

In verse 3 we are exhorted by way of the rhetorical question, “who may stand in God’s holy place?” There is a 2 fold answer: 1. No body (see Psalm 14) unless they are 2. Clean. But how can we possibly be clean? In verse 4 we see a picture of Christ, holy, perfect and clean. His glory was revealed in his service to us making us pure and clean. Paul says in Romans 1:4 that Christ was vindicated as the Son of God by his defeating death! This was done so that we might be able to “ascend God’s holy hill” and “stand in his holy place.” We serve a king who first served us. God get’s the credit; He wins every time.

The king Submits to The King

When we see how Christ offered himself for us and how his offering enables fellowship with God it changes us. Psalm 24 wasn’t just written to encourage us to look to Christ, because even King David only saw types and shadows of what was to come. We are called to seek righteousness and holiness. It’s a wonderful reminder that here we have a king (little k) writing of his desire to serve a King (big K). David understood what it meant to seek to bring God the glory and for a king to submit to The King.

In God’s Kingdom there is a reversal of values. At some point Christians should wrestle with the temptation to seek a life that glorifies self or one that gives Glory to God. The way up is the way down. Who is this King of Glory? The Lord Almighty-He is the King of Glory!