In the book of Psalms there are different categories of Psalms. Some Psalms are grouped according the author i.e. David, Moses etc. Some are called Messianic Psalms as they focus on the coming Messiah who Christians believe was Jesus. This Psalm is in the group of ‘maschil’ Psalms. Maschil means that the reader should learn something from the Psalm. It is a good principle to learn from your own mistakes but it is even wiser to learn from another person’s mistakes.
In this Psalm, David is smarting from the wounds of sin and from a long denial that he has done anything wrong. He found that while he was in denial that he could not sleep and that he was in agony see verses 3 & 4. When he eventually confessed his sin the relief that he felt was unbelievable, v5.
In verse one David soaks up the happiness of a forgiven person. He is no longer accused by God, v2. Today, believers enjoy an even better situation than David. Romans chapter 8 verse 1 states ‘there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus’. Our position is better because it is permanent – ‘no one can separate us from the love of Christ,’ Romans 8. 35. In Romans chapter 4 verses 4-8 Paul refers to the state of happiness described in Psalm 32 but he adds this – the forgiveness comes not because of what we have done but because of God’s grace. People who are Christians should revel and delight in the forgiveness of sins!
Another interesting expression in this psalm is the word ‘selah’. This word indicates that the reader should pause and reflect on what they have just read. Some translations say, ‘pause and calmly think on that’. As you read this post you may be starting or finishing a busy day. It is essential that we take time to pause and think in a world that will, if it gets its own way, push us to the limit.
The first ‘selah’ is at the end of verse four. Stop for a moment to reflect on the joy of a forgiven man and the agony of unconfessed sin.
Stop at the end of verse five – consider that David’s sin was against God, remember that evil must eventually come out into the open, bear in mind that David was not unaware of the wrong he was committing. Finally learn the lesson that there is forgiveness with God but it only comes when sin is acknowledged and brought out into the open.
Take a breath at the end of verse seven. Breathtaking lessons! Godly people confess sin to God. God is available when the Godly pray to Him. God preserves and delivers His people in times of trouble.
The closing section of the Psalm brings advice. The LORD will guide his people but they must be obedient. Wickedness brings sorrow but a believer who trusts the Lord will know his mercy. Enjoy the presence of the Lord and let everyone know about it. This is good advice from a great God.