Summary: How’s Your Spiritual Health? 1) You are sick if you conceal your sins; 2) You are recovering when you confess your sins; 3) You are well when you cling to the forgiveness of sins.
“Como esta?” “Wie Gehts?” “Genki desuka?” “How are you?” Four languages, one greeting. Isn’t it interesting how people the world over are so interested in health that it’s the first thing they ask about when greeting someone? I suppose that’s only natural because good health is often considered to be the secret to a happy life. Yes, our health is precious so it’s important to take care of it by watching what we eat, exercising, and receiving regular check-ups but in doing so we dare not neglect our spiritual well-being. In fact we should be more concerned about our spiritual fitness because our souls will last forever while our body in its present form will not, no matter how well we take care of it. So, if I were to ask you this morning how your spiritual health is how would you answer? Do you know how to assess your spiritual fitness? If not listen these assessment guidelines from King David. 1) You are sick if you conceal your sins; 2) You are recovering when you confess your sins; and 3) You are well when you cling to the forgiveness of sins.
We’re not exactly sure when David wrote Psalm 32. Many Bible students think that he wrote it some time after the prophet Nathan convicted David of his sins of adultery with Bathsheba, and the murder of her husband, Uriah. You remember that story right? One day David saw Bathsheba bathing and decided that he had to sleep with her even though she was not his wife. When Bathsheba became pregnant David tried to conceal his sin by calling Uriah back from his army duties so that he might sleep with his wife and think that the child that had been conceived was his. Uriah, however, refused to enjoy that pleasure while his comrades were putting their lives on the line. Foiled in his cover-up attempt David arranged to have Uriah murdered by stationing him on the front line where he was sure to die in battle. Everything worked just as David had hoped. Uriah died in combat paving the way for David to take Bathsheba as his wife. There was one problem, however. God knew what David had done.
For about a year David failed to acknowledge or confess these sins before God. He probably would have continued in his impenitence if it had not been for the prophet Nathan whom God sent to convict David. It was only after he confessed his sins that David admitted that silence is not golden when it comes to hiding your sins - the truth is you are sick if you conceal them. David said, “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer” (Ps. 32:3, 4).
Not a day went by when David did not think about, and feel guilty for what he had done and he literally became sick from concealing his sins. David compared his condition to that of a person who just doesn’t have the energy to do what he wants because the heat and humidity of summer have sapped it out of him. The only difference is that even with the cooler temperatures at night David didn’t find any reprieve from his oppressive burden weighing on his conscience.
Have you ever experienced what David is talking about? Have you done something that you knew to be wrong and tried to cover it up only to suffer the consequences of a guilty conscience? Maybe you took money from Mom’s purse and never told her about it. Or went to a party Dad told you not to go to and then later lied about where you were. Or perhaps you ran into someone’s car in the parking lot and you drove away without leaving a note because no one saw what happened anyway.
If you haven’t ever suffered a guilty conscience it can’t be because you have never done anything wrong. In fact if we think that we are free from sin then we are sick in other way. John tells us “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us... 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives” (1 Jn. 1:8, 10). The Bible makes it very clear that all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23).
One reason people may not acknowledge their sin is because they really don’t know what sin is. In this Psalm alone there are four different Hebrew words for sin each with a slightly different nuance. These words could be translated as rebellion, perversion, crossing the line, and missing the mark. Let’s focus on that last word for a minute. We have often talked about how many believe that God will accept them the way they are because they have done their best to live a moral life. In other words they have done their best to hit the mark that God wants them to hit when it comes to morality. The problem is people picture this mark that God wants us to hit as a huge target, say the size of a barn. The problem is this target isn’t big at all. It’s more like the size of a pinhole and it will take a perfect shot to hit it. The other thing that people don’t understand is that we are shooting at this target blindfolded and disorientated, with a bow that’s defective and an arrow that never flies straight. Because of that there is no chance that we will ever hit the target. Even if we think that we have come close to hitting the target what difference does it make if we missed by a centimeter or a kilometer? Either way we missed. You see, in God’s view of things it’s not good enough to do your best to love God with all your heart, soul, and might, or to love your neighbour as yourself. You either have or you haven’t.