“Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 2 Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit. 3 When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. 5 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. 6 Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them. 7 You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. 8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. 9 Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. 10 Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him. 11 Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!”
After telling us about the happiness of forgiveness David now reminds us what happens when we refuse to get real with God. Its here in verses 3-5 that David describes the:
- Heaviness of Sin
David reveals the reality of not getting real with God when in verse 3 he says: “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.” When David tried to hide and ignore his sin he suffered. The word “groaning” actually describes the roar of a wounded animal it’s the same word that Job used in Job 3:24 to describe his agony: “For sighing comes to me instead of food; my groans pour out like water.” Notice that David’s groaning went on all day, this wasn’t just a momentary moaning but an ongoing agony. When we don’t own our sins and we try to fake it not only is there not forgiveness but it breaks our bodies. Instead of happiness, we experience heartache. When we keep our mouths shut, our conscience screams. Bottling up sin brings brokenness not blessing, as Proverbs 28:13 says: “He who conceals his sins does not prosper.” The truth is that we will be as sick as our secrets. But the secret you want most to conceal is the one you most need to reveal. What are you trying to conceal that you need to confess? Not only does sin bring sickness but David reminds us in verse 4 that it brings discipline: “For day and night your hand was heavy upon me.” The word “heavy” here means to grievously afflict. God’s hand can bring blessings but it can also bruise. Why does God discipline His children, because He loves us. Yes it’s true that He loves us just the way we are but He also loves us too much to let us keep living the way we are. As Hebrews 12:10 says, “God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.” David experience God’s discipline day and night, there was no rest from the cries of his conscience and the conviction of the Holy Spirit. In Psalm 38:2-8 David describes this time of discipline as he says: “For your arrows have pierced me, and your hand has come down upon me…my bones have no soundness because of my sin. My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear. My wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly…I am feeble and utterly crushed; I groan in anguish of heart.” Godly guilt is really a graciously gift designed to bring the sinner back to God. Now after describing his spiritual discipline like the drought and distress that comes from the hot summer sun David then writes the word, “Selah”. It is a word that beckons us to pause, like an interlude, causing us to reflect on what has just been said. Like David we too need to pause and ponder the magnitude of the message, that unconfessed sin leads to sickness and suffering. That the cure to our disease and disciple is to confess our sin to God. Confession and admitting our sin is one of our greatest challenges. Many of us would rather fake it than get real. Instead of being specific about our sins we like to be general with God. We might tip our hat to our frailty but rarely do we fall down on our knees in real repentance before God. We are quick to see the sins of others and equally as quick to dismiss our own. Like the two elderly Southern women who were sitting together in the front pew of church listening to the pastor as he preached. After he pointed out that stealing was a sin, they cried Amen preach it pastor. When he condemned lust and lying again they cried Amen, but when he spoke out against gossip they got quiet and one of the women turned to the other and said, “Well, he’s done quit preachin’ now he’s just meddlin.” I wonder what sin shuts you up, oh it’s easy for us to get upset with those who sin differently than we do but how serious do we take our sin? Verse 5 reveals the remedy to our suffering: “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.” Instead of concealing there was confessing. We need to realize that God will not cover what we’re not willing to uncover. Discipline drove David to come clean, like the prodigal son who grew tired of living with the pigs and sought the Father. Why would you live in the pigsty when you could live in the palace? Like David we need to own our wrong and stop making excuses for sin. To “confess” means to agree with God about your sin. You see until we say, “God, you’re right, it’s wrong,” we haven’t really confessed. David takes personal responsibility by the use of personal pronouns, “my sin, my iniquity, my transgressions.” David repeats the three words for sins that he mentioned in verse 1. He chooses to acknowledge his sin, he does not cover up his iniquity, and he confesses his transgressions. David didn’t deny, minimize, or blame somebody else, he simply calls sin sin. While we may want to blame others, the greatest holdout to our healing is us. As a society we have become soft on sin. We rename sin to make it more polite and palatable. Instead of calling it adultery we call it an affair. Instead of talking about the sin of anger we talk about losing our temper. We get caught up in the compromise of comparison, judging self-based on others sin instead of by what the Savior says. As a result the scale of sin becomes based on how others behave instead of on holiness. But sin is not graded on a curve but on a cross. We try to justify our sin telling ourselves that we deserve to dabble and participate in the pleasure because we work hard. Or we say I’d forgive but I’m waiting until they change. Corrie Ten Boom once said, “The blood of Jesus never cleansed an excuse.” We tolerate sin believing the lie that it’s no big deal that it’s not hurting anybody, but the truth is its killing us. We try to play the blame game telling others that they make us angry, that it’s not our fault. We try to hide our sin behind a self-righteously smug smile like the Pharisee in Luke 18:11: “The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men…’ It’s time for us to get serious about our sin and stop making excused. When it comes to sin we need to name it and claim it. Why, because there is a solution for sin, it’s called forgiveness, but until we acknowledge our sin there will be no forgiveness and no freedom. Instead of just confessing our sins wholesale, it’s time to own up for the specifics. But confession is more than merely informing God that we’ve sinned, it involves a turning away. It’s not just about recognizing our sin it’s about reject it. When we recognize and reject God removes. It’s here at the end of verse 5 after David confesses and comes clean that we see another Selah. Another pause so that we can ponder and we don’t rush past the beauty of repentance and being made right with God. Why not pause right now and specifically confess any sins that you’ve been concealing.