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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Blessed with Forgiveness and Victory: A Psalm 32 Devotional


[David speaks to hearers and himself]
1How blessed is he whose wrongdoing and rebellion against God is forgiven, whose sin is covered!
2How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not count offense and guilt, and in whose spirit there is no deceit!
3When I kept silent about my sin, my body wore out through my distress crying all day long.
[David speaks to God]
4For day and night, Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was drained away as with the drought of summer. <Selah>
5I confessed my sin to You and my offense and guilt I did not hide. I said, “I will confess my wrongdoing to the Lord,” and You forgave the guilt of my sin. <Selah>
[David’s lesson to hearers and himself]
6Therefore, let everyone who is godly pray to You in a time when You may be found (before the end times, while God still offers grace and forgiveness to humankind); surely in a flood of great waters [great troubles and dangers] they will not reach him.
[David speaks to God]
7You are my hiding place;
You preserve (watch over and keep) me from trouble;
You surround me with songs of deliverance. <Selah>
[God speaks to hearers]
8I will instruct you to understand wisely and direct/point you in the way in which you should go. I will counsel you with My eye upon you.
9Do not be as the horse or mule, which have no understanding, whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check, otherwise they will not come near you.

[David speaks to hearers and himself]
10Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but he who trusts in the LORD [for his strength and safety from temptation and sin], lovingkindness shall surround him.
11Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you blameless ones, and shout for joy all you who are upright in heart.
(My interpretation from the Hebrew)

In these verses, David stated God blesses a person when He forgives his or her wrongdoing and rebellion against Him. Have you ever considered God’s forgiveness a blessing?
In today’s world, many people do not acknowledge God and, thus, do not ask forgiveness from their Creator. Sin is rebellion against the Creator and His laws. Since God created all people, sin against the Creator affects the one who sins. Sinning creates dissonance in relationships and within one’s self. A rift occurs and disharmony happens. David said it well in verse three when he said, “When I kept silent about my sin, my body wore out through my distress-crying all day long.” David said his distress - his guilt - about his sin wore him out and exhausted him.
Because sin affects all parts of our lives, God’s forgiveness is very important. God’s forgiveness gives relief and creates anew the person’s relationship with God, other people, nature and him or herself. His forgiveness removes guilt. Forgiveness from God is a blessing.
After David experienced God’s forgiveness and release from guilt, he encouraged every person to seek God while they still had time before God’s kingdom reigned. After the time of the Messiah’s return, it would be too late for anyone to seek and receive God’s forgiveness. That would be the time of judgment. David spoke of his sin, confession, and release from guilt with God’s forgiveness. He encouraged people to seek God, experience release from sin and guilt, and gain new vitality in life by confessing and receiving God’s forgiveness.
·         David spoke to God and praised Him because of His forgiveness. He explained to people that they could have God’s
Ø  presence,
Ø  power, and
Ø  strength
before they sinned and experienced the guilt from sin.
·         David said God was his hiding place.
Ø  He could run to Him and
Ø  hide from the temptations that could trip him.
·         David said God was his guard who kept His heart from trouble.
Ø  He could count on God to keep temptation away so he would not sin.
·         David’s final thought was that he could remember how God protected and saved him from temptation and sin in the past and
Ø  choose to be strong and rely on the LORD again to keep away from temptation and sin in the present time.
Each of these things required David’s will to join with God’s will.
Ø  David had to choose and rely on God to be his guard.
Ø  He had to choose to run to God to hide against temptation.
Ø  David had to intentionally recall and rely upon what God did for him in the past and knew He would do for him at that time, too.
Should that not be enough, God responded to David. He told him He would
Ø  instruct him,
Ø  make him wise to understand, and
Ø  direct him.
God’s instruction was the preemptive side of avoiding temptation and sin. Making David wise came from instruction and living. Making wise is part preemptive and part practical learning applied from the past. The other, letting God direct David, was a present tense action of the will. David had to choose intentionally to follow God’s direction. He was not to be like the mule and horse that required a bridle all the time. Instead, David was to learn from experience and God’s teaching to know God’s will so He would not have to bridle him physically with closed doors and windows.
God expects His children to listen, learn, and obey His will and His best choices for them. He expects them to rely upon His strength and security for them. God expects His people to remember who He has been for them so they can stand strong against temptation to sin in the present. Each of these come from instruction, wisdom, and guidance in the past and present to be used in the present and future.
David said those who trust in the LORD for His strength and security, will have His lovingkindness surround them. God will envelope them in His love, mercy, and forgiveness. The wicked will grieve, but the one who trusts in the LORD will rejoice, just as the one whom God forgives rejoices at the blessing of receiving God’s forgiveness.
David exhorted the people of God not to be too late to receive God’s forgiveness, not to wait until the time of judgment. Instead, he encouraged them to confess and receive God’s forgiveness now, to bask in His love and mercy. Better yet, David taught the people how to avoid the pitfalls of temptation and sin.
Ø  Learn from, grow wise, and follow God.
Ø  Intentionally accept what He has to teach and instruct you.
Ø   Actively apply the learning and wisdom by following God’s leading and direction.
When you do this, you will not fall prey to temptation and sin.
This lesson is not just for Old Testament people. God gives His children a Helper now who also teaches, gives wisdom, and helps people to remember all Jesus said and what God has done (John 14:26). This message of David’s is for each of God’s children throughout time.
As Christians today, we can have access to God’s power and strength to be our hiding place and guard against temptation. We also have our remembrances of God working to defend us to keep us strong against temptation. These are defensive weapons. Besides these, God said He will give us wisdom and teaching to empower us against temptation. He said He would give us direction on how to use them and overcome temptation. These are offensive weapons. These offensive and defensive weapons against temptation and sin come through Christ’s Holy Spirit.
When we fall to temptation, God blesses us with forgiveness, love, and mercy when we confess and seek Him. He has a plan because He gave humankind free will to choose whom to follow – Him or themselves. God knows our weaknesses and provides mercy and love through forgiveness for those who confess their sins. Non-Christians can receive God’s blessing of forgiveness, too. When they call on the Lord as Savior, they can have God’s teaching, wisdom, and direction to fight temptation and sin, too.
Notice either way, whether with or without sin, if we go humbly before the LORD God, He will show His love and mercy to us. God will bless us with defensive and offensive weapons. At any time, then, we can do as David instructed. We can be glad in the LORD, and rejoice and shout for joy because God is greater than temptation, sin, and Satan. He wins in the end and we can have His power to overcome in our lives now.
Are you a non-believer who wants to receive forgiveness for your wrongdoing and rebellion against God? Come to Him confessing your sins and accepting Jesus as your Savior and God will bless you with forgiveness. He will teach you and give you wisdom. God will give you direction and lead you as you fight temptation and sin.
Are you a Christian who has fallen to temptation and sinned? God waits to bless you with forgiveness. He wants to share His love, kindness, and mercy with you. God wants to prepare you to fight this battle. He wants to provide a refuge and keep you safe. God wants you to remember He is for you and loves you. He will provide victory over temptation now and over death.
Whether you are a new believer, a Christian working in a secular job, or a full time Christian service worker, God wants you to be glad, rejoice, and shout for joy because you have beaten temptation and sin with His power and strength, and knowledge and wisdom. He wants to bless you with forgiveness.
How long has it been since you sought God’s forgiveness?
How long as it been since you have let God empower you and fight your battles?

Maybe it is time for you to hear this message from David.