This psalm opens by setting the stage for why the rest of the psalm is important. We are blessed because the Lord will forgive our sins, and for those that seek forgiveness, there is nothing that will provide more joy. Have you ever asked for forgiveness from someone in your life? If you were truly sorry, do you remember the wave of relief that came once you were forgiven? This is a feeling that cannot be replicated, it is a feeling of relief like no other, and when the Lord grants us forgiveness, this feeling of relief comes with an intensity that cannot be forgotten.
When I Kept Silent
Once we accept the grace and mercy that God offers, an internal process begins. One which causes us to begin loathing our own disobedience of God, and eventually to abandon our commitment to our own ways. For me, this process was very difficult, and remains ongoing to this day. I found that some things changed right away, most especially my perspective on life, but other sins stayed with me, like a scab that I couldn’t stop picking at. Even though one part of me loathed the idea of this particular habit, another part of me refused to let it go. Thus I found that I would continue to pick at this scab, and each time would end in bloody remorse. This cycle continued, until I began taking my remorse directly to God in prayer. This simple act had a profound impact on my life.
Then I Acknowledged
I am truly convinced that God will not manipulate us without our permission. He will not change our minds or personalities unless we bring that repentant desire before Him. This is because God is just, and it would be wrong to violate our free will without our consent. My own experience with habitual sin has only confirmed this position. It was not until I took my desire to God that I began to make any progress at all, and in particular, the guilt was unbearable.
What I find most intriguing about this psalm, is verse 5. You forgave the guilt of my sin. It does not state that the sin was forgiven, but rather the guilt of the sin was forgiven. As Christians, we believe that Christ sacrificed himself as an offering for our redemption, our salvation. You see, our sins are already forgiven through that sacrifice. But the Christian does not take this a free rein to do whatever our heart desires, in fact, our heart desires to do God’s will and to live a life that is pleasing to Him.
Since we are unable to resist temptation, we will inevitably find ourselves guilty of committing sins, or disobeying God’s law. These actions produce within us a strong feeling of guilt, one that we cannot resolve in any earthly way, one that must be relieved by God Himself. When the guilt of your sins is too much to bear, take them to God. When you are too ashamed of your actions to be seen by your neighbor, go to the Lord first, and ask Him for forgiveness. Let Him be your hiding place, your secret room, until your guilt has been lifted.
Do Not Be Like The Mule
Do not be like the horse or mule, which have no understanding; they must be controlled with bit and bridle to make them come to you.Psalm 32:9
The Lord has given us instruction regarding how to live, how to forgive, and most importantly, how to be forgiven. When the Lord places a burden of guilt on you, willingly take that guilt to Him and ask for forgiveness. Do not be like the mule, do not be stubborn and resist the call. Do not put yourself into a position where God leads you to Him using a bit and bridle because it will not be a pleasant journey. If you fight the calling hard enough, and long enough, you will likely be rewarded with exactly what you desire, solitude.
This should be an alarming warning, combined with the words from verse 6, “Therefore let all the godly pray to You while You may be found.” One day, you may relent to God’s call only to find that He is no longer waiting for you, He is nowhere to be found. This day will be one of panic and dread, just as the psalmist states in verse 10, “Many are the sorrows of the wicked.”
If you feel the calling, if you are inquisitive in any way, it would be prudent to wholeheartedly search out the Lord with great haste.
If you find yourself burdened with guilt, full of conviction for your own actions, I would urge you to bring that guilt to the Lord with the same level of urgency, not out of necessity, but because the reward is so incredible.