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You Are My Hiding Place (Psalm 32)

Psalm 32 (ESV)

32 A Maskil of David.

      Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,

whose sin is covered.

      Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,

and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

      For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away

through my groaning all day long.

      For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;

my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah

      I acknowledged my sin to you,

and I did not cover my iniquity;

       I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”

and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

      Therefore let everyone who is godly

offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found;

       surely in the rush of great waters,

they shall not reach him.

      You are a hiding place for me;

you preserve me from trouble;

you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah

      I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;

I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

      Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,

which must be curbed with bit and bridle,

or it will not stay near you.

10     Many are the sorrows of the wicked,

but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord.

11     Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous,

and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

This psalm is entitled a Maskil, which some take to mean that the purpose of this Psalm is for David to give instruction.

There is nothing which we need more than to be instructed on the nature of true blessedness.

What does it mean to be blessed?

What does blessedness consist of?

While other Psalms describe the character of the blessed person, this Psalm teaches us the grounds of blessedness.

We praise God from Whom all blessings flow.

This Psalm identifies the very fountain of blessing and our experience of it.

The Psalm begins:

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,

whose sin is covered.

      Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,

and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

Have you ever found it odd that Paul, in Romans 1:17 states that he is not ashamed of the Gospel?

In order to be ashamed of something there has to be something about the nature of the message that others find shameful.

You see, men and women have not really changed as much as we like to think over thousands of years.

There have always been cultural leaders and voices that convince us what our real problems are and how we might find happiness.

A happy home.

A roof over your head.

A good retirement.

A happy marriage.

A happy life.

The world has identified these as problems to be solved over the centuries.  Culture has answers to all of these problems.

But what if someone came to you with a problem you didn’t even think you had?

What if there is an ancient problem that many do not even have on their radars?

Transgression.

Sin.

Iniquity.

A spirit of deceit.

They are ancient problems but the culture at large has always rejected the very existence of the problem.

Tell your neighbor that transgression, sin, and iniquity are their most pressing problem and they will stare at you.

What are you talking about?

After you’ve explained it, they might even get offended at the very notion that they even have the problem.

You can get along just fine with your neighbor talking about the problems of poverty, war, drugs, the educational system, and politics (for the most part).

Those are all problems that resonate with her.

Tell your neighbor that her real problem is that she is an enemy of God and you’re likely to offend.

You might even be ashamed at such news.

The Psalmist is telling us that the very ground of being blessed is that our transgression is forgiven.

Blessedness is covered sin.

Blessedness is iniquity that the Lord does not count toward us.

Blessedness is a spirit in which there is no deceit.

None of those things are on the typical list of where we might find happiness and blessedness but here it is.

Beloved, God is our Creator.

The Scriptures reveal Him as holy, holy, holy.

The Scriptures reveal that He hates sin.

The Scriptures reveal that our very first and fundamental problem is that we are transgressors and sinners.

At our core, all of us are enemies of the very God Who created us and Who sustains us.

This is not a state of blessedness.

We can keep ourselves busy with jobs, children, gadgets, games, politics, and leisure.

We can become so consumed by them that we push the fundamental truth to the back of our minds.

We can convince ourselves that we know the real problems and know the real solutions to happiness.

But ever looming is the God Who has power over life and death and the promise of eternal destruction because we are transgressors, sinners, full of iniquity and deceit.

What if I told you that two men from ISIS were standing outside our doors right now with intent to do us all harm?

Would that strike fear in your hearts.

What if ISIS was really there?

Would it be the greatest problem that a man could have?

What if I told you that a man whose sins are not covered has a greater problem than a terrorist standing right in front of him?

Transgression is rebellion against God.  It is the high-handed violation of His revealed truth.

God has written on our hearts that we must not murder, steal, covet, or lust.

He has revealed that He alone is to be worshiped.

And we transgress – we violate His law not only written on every person’s heart but revealed in His Word.

Sin is the state of being an enemy of God.  Where He is holy, we are not.  Where He is pure, we are not.

Iniquity and deceit get at the very heart of the matter.  Our minds are set to our own ends.

We crave our own way.  We desire for ourselves.  We lust for things we ought not and from this wellspring of filth is where all our actions originate.

If this is all true then it is a very unhappy state of being.

If we were convinced that we stood as transgressing, sin-filled, iniquity-filled, deceit-filled people before a Holy God then we would feel cursed.

We would not be happy or blessed.

But the Psalmist is saying that the blessed man is the one whom God Himself has removed all of these things.

If it could be true that the Lord would see all of this in us and take it all away then that would be a great relief.

Where we once saw a problem larger than anything we could conceive we would now marvel at the idea of being released from it all.

That would be blessedness on a scale that we could receive only from an eternal God.

That would be good news indeed to be so blessed.

David continues:

      For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away

through my groaning all day long.

      For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;

my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah

David describes a condition in which he has sinned against God.

He had transgressed the Law of God.

A man after God’s own heart, David had looked upon a beautiful woman while bathing.

He summoned her to his house while her husband Uriah was serving in his army in a battle.

He slept with her and got her pregnant.

In order to cover the sin, he called Uriah back from war in the hopes he might visit her and cover over David’s sin.

When that didn’t work, he sent Uriah with a sealed letter instructing the General of the army to put Uriah on the front lines so he could be killed.

And he was.

And so the problem was taken care of.

Nobody would know that David had sinned.

He had an important job to do.

He had a reputation to uphold.

The nation might be hurt by the news that he had done such things.

Political and cultural stability were preserved.

And yet David was wasting away.

All the comforts of this life could not give him blessedness.

As long as he held on to his respect the very marrow in his bones dried up.

Can we relate to this at all?

We don’t have kingdoms to worry about perhaps.

But we have reputations.

There are things that we think in our minds.

There are sins that we commit in the dark or in private.

We are ashamed but convince ourselves that the best thing to do is to hide that reality inside our hearts.

We might even be convinced that God will never get over such a thing so the best thing to do is to never bring it up.

Telling others about it will only bring shame and destruction.

Telling God about it will only make Him more angry.

Or so we tell ourselves.

Meanwhile, our lives are wasting away.

The poison of shame and the knowledge of our sins in rotting us from the inside out.

David continues:

      I acknowledged my sin to you,

and I did not cover my iniquity;

       I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”

and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

Thanks to Nathan, David came to the end of himself.

He confessed his transgressions.

The word Selah occurs a few times in this Psalm and throughout the Psalms.

We’re not entirely sure what it means but many scholars think it is an indicator for musicians.

It is a place to pause not only for the music but for contemplation.

Before this stanza there is a Selah and after it as well.

But between David’s confession of sins and the forgiveness of the Lord there is no pause.

The actions move one from another.

David says:  “I will transgressions to the Lord,”

BAM

And you forgave the iniquity of my sin.

God is more ready to forgive our sin than we are to repent.

God is more eager to cover our iniquity than we are to confess it.

In Luke 15, the Pharisees were complaining that Jesus was hanging around sinners and so He told three parables to express how much joy the Lord has in the repentance of sin.

In the third parable, the Prodigal Son has come to his senses and realized that he’d be better off a servant in his father’s house than to serve pigs and starve to death.

He resolved to ask for forgiveness and to be made a servant.

As the son approached haggard and sapped of strength, he was under another’s gaze.

His father knew that son.

He knew everything about him.

He knew he was a transgressor.

There was nothing that son might tell him that would surprise him.

But that father saw someone approaching.

Parents – can you recognize your children?

I know them by smell.

By the way they cry.

By the way they walk.

The father saw a man from afar off.

Beneath the filth of pig manure he recognized the gait of his son.

That’s my son.

He did not wait.

There was no pause.

There was no Selah.

He ran to his son and fell on his neck and kissed a filth covered man.

The son could barely get out:  “Father I’ve sinned against heaven and earth, I’m no longer worthy to be your son…”

And the confession ends.

He couldn’t get the last words out.

The father squeezed the breath out of him with a bear hug.

“Quick, get a robe and turban and a ring for him.  We’re going to have a party because my son is ALIVE!”

David continues:

Therefore let everyone who is godly

offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found;

       surely in the rush of great waters,

they shall not reach him.

We might think of David as the prodigal in the embrace of the father.

He’s thinking:  Why did I wait so long.

So he stops to instruct us if we’ll listen to him.

Beloved, if today you hear His voice do not harden your hearts.

Today is the day of salvation.

There is no tomorrow.

There is no putting off repentance.

The waters of judgment may come.

We may think to ourselves that we’ll take care of making things right with God at a more appropriate time.

But there is no tomorrow.

There is only today and God will pick you up and the waters of judgment will pass over you.

All we need do is acknowledge what God already knows about us.

We’re broken.

We’re transgressors.

We need Him.

And what delight there is when we turn from the inner destruction of sin and to the face of a loving Father!

David continues:

      You are a hiding place for me;

you preserve me from trouble;

you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah

We’re released from the threat of our sin and the Father is rejoicing over us but something might still be bothering us.

The shame of it all.

We’re happy to be home but we might be self-loathing.

I know God loves me but now I’ve laid it all bare.  Everybody sees me for who I really am.

They’re going to point.

They’re going to think bad things about me and tell others what a bad person I am.

I’m loved by the Father now but there’s the scorn of those who don’t want me around.

I just want to run and hide.

And so the Lord says:

Come here child.

Come hide in me.

Nobody will harm you.

Nobody will trouble you.

Hide your shame in me.

There’s nothing to fear.

Not only so but the Lord and His people are singing so loudly!

They’re singing praises that a child has been delivered!

The party over you is so loud and the Father is shouting so loud in joy that you cannot hear anything but the joy of salvation.

Verse 8 continues:

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;

I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

      Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,

which must be curbed with bit and bridle,

or it will not stay near you.

Now the Lord is speaking.

You are safe in His protection and He assures us with his instruction.

Don’t worry, the Lord will tell you how you should go.

He’s your Father and He desires to teach us.

Not only so He says:  “I will counsel you with my eye on you.”

This is not a stern:  “I’ve got my eye on you!”

It is caring.

It is protective.

It is loving.

It is over-watch.

His Word is intended to instruct us and so we are reminded not to be stubborn.

We are reminded not to rebel against what the Father would instruct us.

His eye is upon us that we might be comforted by the knowledge that the way He wants us to go is covered by His loving gaze.

His Word will never lead us in to wrong paths.

David concludes:

10     Many are the sorrows of the wicked,

but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord.

11     Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous,

and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

There are times when we might envy the world when we lose sight of what we have in the Lord.

The Lord is steadfast in His love for us.

He is unblinking.

Unwavering.

He continues to be more desirous that we would repent than our willingness to do so.

His love surrounds those who acknowledge their transgression to Him.

In Romans 4, Paul is trying to get the glory of the Gospel into our bloodstream.

He points to Abraham as a man who was not declared righteous because of the works that he did for God but that God declared him righteous because Abraham trusted God.

Hear the Apostle:

Romans 4:3-8 (ESV)

For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:

    “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,

and whose sins are covered;

    blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”

Do you recognize the last portion?  It’s from Psalm 32.

The Lord loves the repentant because to turn from our sin is to look out to God for a solution and that solution is Christ.

We’re convinced that the Lord will see our shame for what it is.

But then He beckons us into the hiding place.

We’re hiding.

We are covered in shame and filth.

But then the Son emerges from the same hiding place.

We thought He might be lovely to behold but He’s become ugly.

What is He wearing?

As we look more closely we see that He’s covered with our sin.

We see that the Son is wearing our guilt.

We see that He is bearing our shame.

It’s no longer on us.

It’s on a cross.

He’s become our shame.

A willing victim.

A priest offering Himself as the lamb to the Father.

And the Father treats the Son as we deserved.

It is finished.

The power of our guilt, our sin, our shame is judged.

He died the death we deserve but then He rose again.

We’re so amazed at such truth that we might forget something in the hiding place.

As you trust in Christ you are now His.

You are now in Christ.

You are no longer covered in shame and guilt but with the perfect, spotless righteousness of the Son.

What are you waiting for?

Today is the day of salvation.

Do not hide your shame and cover it over.

Do not crave respectability.

Do not crave the approval of the world.

Confess your sins to the world.

You may think the sin is too great.

You may think the shame is too much to bear.

You are right.  You cannot bear it.

You cannot hold this poison within.

Give it to the Lord.

Confess your sin.

Turn to Christ!

You will find a ready Savior in Him

You will be able to exclaim with the Apostle Paul:

Romans 8:31-39 (ESV)

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,

       “For your sake we are being killed all the day long;

we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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