Summary: Before we can enter into the blessings which follow forgiveness, we must first admit our sin, and acknowledge our responsibility before God.
A HIDING PLACE FOR THE REPENTANT
The beatitudes of Psalm 32:1-2 remind us of Psalm 1:1-2, which describes the righteous man and proclaims him blessed. Yet, since the fall of Adam, no mere man has been born with original righteousness. The second Psalm leads us to the place where we can find this righteousness: in Jesus Christ (Psalm 2:12).
Psalm 119:1 speaks of the blessedness of the undefiled. Who are undefiled but those whom God has declared righteous in Jesus Christ? We cannot begin to walk this way without Him: but when we are clothed with Christ, God looks upon us and sees not our sins, but the very righteousness of Christ.
Before we can enter into the blessings which follow forgiveness (Psalm 32:1-2), we must first admit our sin (“not keep silence” Psalm 32:3), and acknowledge our responsibility before God (Psalm 32:5).
The testimony of King David (the author of this Psalm) is that unrepentant silence was detrimental both to his physical and mental health, and to his spiritual well-being (Psalm 32:3-4). So David confessed his transgression (overstepping the mark), owned up to his iniquity (distorting of the truth), and acknowledged his sin (violation of God’s will).
The result was immediate: “you forgave the iniquity of my sin” (Psalm 32:5; cf. 2 Samuel 12:13). When the Prodigal Son determined to return to his Father, with pleas for forgiveness and offers of penance: he found that the Father, in His love, was already running out to receive him (Luke 15:18-20). All at once David’s transgression was forgiven, his sin was covered, and his iniquity was no longer counted against him (Psalm 32:1-2).
The Apostle Paul tells us that this ledger was balanced with the crediting of righteousness on account of faith (Romans 4:5-8). Furthermore, David’s spirit was purged of guile: the kind of cunning deceit which seeks to cover one’s own sins and hide them from God (Psalm 32:2). Now David’s hiding place was in God Himself (Psalm 32:7; cf. Psalm 130:4).
Repentance does not just belong to the beginning of our Christian walk, but is an ongoing activity in our lives. Both Scripture and experience remind us that we need to be vigilant (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:12). Faith and repentance are twin graces, and they both need exercise.
So even though we now may reckon ourselves as ‘godly’ or ‘undefiled’ in God’s sight, yet we still need to ‘seek the LORD while He may be found’ (Isaiah 55:6). We might spare ourselves some of the pain spoken of by David if we do (Psalm 32:6).
When we take refuge in Christ we find we are not alone: He surrounds us with others, whose cheerful songs of deliverance we share (Psalm 32:7).
The songs of praise now give way to instruction. The “you” in Psalm 32:8 is in the singular, and may in the first instance be the LORD speaking to David.
However, David soon passes the message on to others: the “you” in Psalm 32:9 is plural. This is in keeping with his own promise when he first asked for forgiveness after the Bathsheba affair (Psalm 51:13).
If we are numbered among the forgiven then we also have, not only a testimony to share, but also a message to proclaim. Those who are forgiven much love much (Luke 7:47). The exhortation to others is that they too would put their trust in the LORD (Psalm 32:10).
The Psalm ends with praise from those whom the LORD has declared righteous, and shouts of joy from those whom He has made upright through the work of Jesus on the Cross (Psalm 32:11).