Guilt and shame cause feelings of depression, even physical sickness. But experiencing the gift of forgiveness brings freedom, a fresh lease on life.
I believe this song by Elevation Worship will greatly enhance your reading and prayer today.
Psalm 32:1-5 – An Instruction of David
1 Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
2 Blessed is the man against whom the LORD imputes no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
3 For 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 dried up as by the heat of summer.
5 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.
Observations and reflections
Explanatory Notes: “imputes no iniquity” is a legal term by which the judge declares you just, meaning the judge finds no wrong in you. “transgression” means the act of breaking a law. “sin” usually refers to “missing the mark / aiming for wrong” in general. “iniquity” means the inherent tendency to doing wrong, such as in alcoholism. “deceit” means pretense or falsehood. “Redemption” means purchasing freedom, like paying a fine or releasing a slave.
- Note the parallelism (two ways of saying the same thing) in verses 1 and 2. What words are used for (a) sin and for (b) forgiveness. What do you learn from this?
- Describe in your own words effect guilt had on for David. (v3-4)
- How did David receive freedom from his guilt? (verse 5)
- What does this Psalm teach about (a) God and (b) our relation to Him?
Personal reflection and Prayer
Guilt is a gift from God – the deep knowing that I have done what is wrong is needed to make right with God. The feelings of guilt (doing wrong) and shame (being wrong) should not lead us into hiding, because “silence makes our bones waste away (and) strength dry up” (v3-4). But blurting out all our wrongs before God brings freedom, receive forgiveness and a fresh lease on life. That’s why Jesus taught us to pray “forgive us our sins…”
Let’s pray this prayer of David slowly, by talking to God through the outline of this Psalm.
- Can you recall a time when you felt heavy under guilt for doing something wrong that you had done? Describe your feelings and behavior. Why did you feel that way? When and how did you receive freedom from that guilt?
- Can you recall a time when you felt worthless or ashamed because of your tendency to do the wrong thing, even though you wanted to do right? Describe your feelings and behavior. When and how did you receive freedom from that guilt?
- In the presence of God, do you feel guilty for doing wrong, or shame for being wrong?
- When and how did you receive freedom from that guilt? Then blurt out your wrongs to God one by one and say these words to him: “In Jesus I have redemption (freedom) through His blood, the forgiveness of my sins, according to the riches of Your grace, which You lavished upon me” (Ephesians 1:7-8)
Note: Speak to God about your wrongs until you have assurance of forgiveness. Sometimes it helps praying with a friend or councilor.