LENT Blessed is the Man

1 Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.
2 Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts 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.
Selah (Psalms 32:1-5 ESV)

Blessed is the man whose sins are forgiven.

Not, blessed is the man who does not sin. But who is forgiven.

I like David. At the miserable end of my first pastoral internship, with time on my hands, I resolved to read the Deuteronomistic history (during my internship I had closely read Numbers and Leviticus and was stunned at how interesting both books really were), so see what this history of Israel and its encounter with God was really all about.

And I fell in love with ruddy-faced David. Not quite like God fell in love, clearly, but I fell in love. With this story, of failure, of sin, of conquest and exile, of redemption. Of a God who moves ever closer, a God who redoubles his efforts to redeem his people.

David … here was a man who knew how to sin! Again and again, he could do little right. Stealing wives, challenging King Saul (and possibly stealing one of Saul’s wives), working for the Philistines, killing many thousands, and during his time of exile gathering to him those in distress, in debt, and “bitter of soul,” and becoming their leader, turing them into an army that will eventually take control of Israel.

David knew he was a sinner. David knew God loved him. David knew that, in the end, all he had was God’s love. All he could do was seek shelter in the grace of God, freely given, when he turned to God, and confessed all he had done. That he was not worthy of the love God showed him. That he got it, anyway, and it changed everything.

David tells us today nothing is gained from silence before God. There can be no forgiveness, no covering of sin, if we keep silent. Our silence is our death. Only when we confess our sins to God can we know we have been forgiven. Only when we uncover our wrongdoing will God then cover them up. We cannot hide things — hidden things are there for all to see. And all to know.

We confess our sins. We are forgiven.

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