Sun. a.m. AGCC 8/31/97
TEXT: Psalm 32:1-11
INTRO: This Psalm of David's is
called a "MASKIL" (there are 13 of them) which means
it is a "teaching psalm". David had learned something
very important, and he feels a need to share what he has learned with other
worshippers. This Psalm was no doubt sung with others gathered around...with the
hopes that those who hear will be instructed.
David learned about failure in his life, and in hopes that others won't
walk away from God or quit in failure he instructs them to turn to God when they
fail and to not give up. It is one thing to fail, it is another thing to quit!
God wants us to turn to Him in our failures, the sooner the better. Christ paid
a heavy price for our redemption, He doesn't want us to turn away from Him, but
to Him. Don't make His sacrifice for your sins of no worth!
ILLUS: Keep in mind the famous story about Thomas Watson, CEO of IBM.
When a vice-president of IBM came up with an idea to set up a separate division, he was given permission to do so and promptly lost ten million dollars. He came in and told Mr. Watson that he was resigning and when Watson asked why, the vice-president said, "Because this thing was such a miserable failure."
Watson is reported to have responded, "You're
not resigning after I just spent ten million dollars on your education."
-- Dr. Kevin Leman,
Winning The Rat Race Without Becoming A Rat, (Nashville, Tenn: Nelson, 1996), p.
PROP. SENT: The wise man or woman
will come to God in true repentance when they fail, and there they will find
God's forgiveness and healing hand. The rebellious however will only find misery
and pain. Take God's instructions and be "happy"!
I. PAINFUL LESSONS 32:1-4
A. Rejoicing! 32:1-2
1. David starts off this Psalm by expressing the absolute joy of being forgiven!
a. The word translated here "Blessed" in Hebrew is plural and means MORE than just happiness...it is "Oh, how VERY happy" ...exuberant joy! (found in Psalm 1:1 also)
b. The forgiven sinner is the happiest person on earth!
c. Note that this kind of happiness is found only in those whose sins are forgiven AND "covered" - not meaning hidden, but meaning "removed"!
2. It is also note worthy that David states that this joy comes to those "in whose spirit is no deceit".
a. This means those who will be honest with self and with God and not try to rationalize their sins or minimize them can find real happiness.
b. We must take sin seriously...and realize that God paid a high price in
order for us to find forgiveness....let us appreciate what God has done by
taking sin and His forgiveness seriously.
ILLUS: A man risked his life by swimming through the treacherous
rip-tide to save a youngster from being swept out to sea. After the child
recovered from the harrowing experience, he thanked the man for his act of
sacrifice. The man responded to the boy's thanks: "That's okay. Just make sure
your life was worth saving." -- Source Unknown
3. The man or woman who deals with their sin quickly and honestly is a
happy man or woman for they will find a God who desires to restore and heal
B. Rebellion! 32:3-4
1. David now describes life when he attempted to hide his sins from God and others:
a. It was not pleasant...He actually became physically ill as well as emotionally ill.
b. Guilt does tremendous damage to our hearts and minds.
c. Unforgiven sin and hidden sin in our life can really drag us
ILLUS: In the Alleghenies a large eagle was shot by a hunter. When
he examined the bird, he was amazed to find that one of its claws was held
firmly in a strong steel trap from which dangled a 5-foot chain. Although not
heavy enough to prevent the creature from flying, the additional weight had
wearied the eagle and brought it down within reach of his rifle. So, too, the
Christian can be entrapped and brought low spiritually by encumbrances and sin
which make him incapable of rising to the heights he might otherwise attain.
2. It may be that God brought physical ailments to David to get his attention and wake him up to his sin...for it was this pain that finally made David cry out to God.
a. Sometimes when we think God is punishing us, He is actually loving us and working to move us toward Him, not away from Him....He may use pain to help us see our need of Him, not to take pleasure in our pain!
b. David acknowledges that this worked in his case...in his weakened state he realized that he could not continue on without forgiveness, and he could not continue to hide his sin.
c. Unconfessed sin can make us an easy target of Satan's schemes to
II. PARDON & LOVE 32:5-7
A. Repentance! 32:5
1. David's turning point from brokenness and weakness came when he chose to repent and not hide his sin anymore!
a. God cannot help us when we fail to acknowledge our sins
b. Too many refuse to confess and acknowledge their weakness until it is
ILLUS: In Charles Colson's book, Born Again, which is about his
experiences during Watergate, Colson shares one of President Nixon's problems --
he could never admit he was wrong in anything. In fact, Colson said that even
when Nixon obviously had a cold -- nose running, face red, sneezing, all the
symptoms of a cold -- he would never admit it.
2. Some people think it is too hard to live for Christ, to have sins
forgiven, but the truth is it is much harder NOT living for God!
ILLUS: Ministering internationally with the organization
Childcare, Jane Christiansen has come a long way from her days of mainlining
heroin as a teenager. But the experience helps her reach out. "I've heard people
say, 'Christianity is so hard.' I think, if you want to know what's hard, try
walking up to your knees in snow to get to a drug dealer for a fix.' That's
what's hard, the way of the transgressor. God longs to restore his people and
make them whole. It violates human understanding. But that's God." -- In Virtue
3. David certainly recognized that confessing his sins was far less a weight than holding on to them!
a. Even today Psychology tells us the importance of honesty and forgiveness for mental and physical health.
b. Our society is experiencing the ravages of unconfessed sin, instead of seeking forgiveness we seek distraction and thus the guilt remains with all its effects on our life.
(1. Distraction may temporarily shield us from the guilt, but it will still have an impact on us...we can't be distracted forever!
(2. Some hope that by keeping themself distracted they won't think about what they have done wrong...but it won't go away unless forgiven!
4. David understood that the Lord will forgive him if he came openly and honestly...God will forgive the guilt of his sins.
a. notice that David says God forgives the "GUILT", not the GUILTY FEELINGS....these are often what we need to deal with.
b. After God has forgiven us, we need to forgive ourself also...hence dealing with the guilt feelings, even with this God will help.
5. God holds out the promise that when we come sincerely and openly He
B. Reward! 32:6-7
1. The time to repent is NOW...not later....why wait to experience God's
love, and besides, how do you know there will be a chance later anyway?
ILLUS: The story is told of a famous rabbi who was walking with
some of his disciples when one of them asked, "Rabbi, when should a man repent?"
The rabbi calmly replied, "You should be sure you repent on the last day of your
life." "But," protested several of his disciples, "we can never be sure which
day will be the last day of our life." The famous rabbi smiled and said, "The
answer to that problem is very simple. Repent now."
2. The reward of repentance is a restored godliness...why wait!
a. There have been those who thought they could always ask at a later time that never got that opportunity....today is the day of salvation, do not harden your heart as Israel had done in the wilderness. (Heb. 3:7-8)
b. Rather than hide our sins, we need God to be our "hiding place" 32:7 ...the place of refuge and help.
3. For those who make God their "hiding place" the storms of life will not
overwhelm them, God will protect their hearts and minds.
III. PERSONAL LESSON 32:8-11
A. Realization! 32:8-10
1. David now expresses God's desire to INSTRUCT US in avoiding the ravages of sin.
a. David himself would serve as the example in this case.
b. David had learned the hard way...though he knew the Word of God he had chosen to ignore it, and the price tag he paid was high!
c. How tragic that so many Christians will do this too...they know the
Word of God but choose to ignore it and then are full of wonder and brokenness
when the results come!
ILLUS: The folly of human nature is neatly summed up by the case of the middle-aged school teacher who invested her life savings in a business enterprise which had been elaborately explained to her by a swindler.
When her investment disappeared and the wonderful dream was shattered, she went to the office of the Better Business Bureau. "Why on earth," they asked, "didn't you come to us first? Didn't you know about the Better Business Bureau?"
"Oh, yes," said the lady sadly, "I've always
known about you. But I didn't come because I was afraid you'd tell me not to do
2. The fool only learns from his own mistakes, the wise person learns from the mistakes of others and not just his own!
3. Unfortunately David learned the hard way...with a heavy price tag,
sometimes these price tags are very high!
ILLUS: A few years ago a newspaper editorial commended most truck
drivers for using their CB radios in a constructive way. However, it concluded
with a warning to those who misuse this means of communication. The writer gave
this unforgettable example: In Colorado, several people begged a trucker to free
the channel so that they could put through an emergency call, but he refused to
cooperate. They wanted to direct a doctor to the scene of a serious accident. An
automobile had driven into the rear of a flatbed trailer carrying metal tubing.
A piece of pipe had gone through the car's windshield, pinning a woman in the
wreckage. The trucker continued to tie up the channel, frustrating all attempts
to obtain help. Finally he came upon the scene of the accident himself. To his
utter dismay, he discovered that the critically injured person was his own wife!
When a doctor did arrive, he said that if he had been notified even 10 minutes
earlier, the woman's chances for survival would have been much greater.
4. The stubborn man or woman who chooses not to repent is the fool, like the horse which runs ahead too fast, or the mule that lags behind....also, mules and horses don't take counsel...they are led by bit & bridle because they are "dumb"!
a. As 32:10 says here, "Many are the woes of the wicked....
b. "BUT...the Lord's unfailing love surrounds the man who trust in Him."
c. What a contrast!
d. Why stay with unrepentant sin?
e. Why live with guilt that eats away your heart, mind, and body?
f. Why not experience "exuberant happiness" like David starts this Psalm
out with...the joy of the forgiven!?
B. Righteousness! 32:11
1. Those who turn toward God and have their sins forgiven are those who enjoy a happiness the world cannot know!
2. Those who fail to come to God His way however will never achieve the
goal of real happiness...even if they seem to run in this life better and
ILLUS: In the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, Ben Johnson of Canada won the one-hundred-meter dash, setting a new Olympic record and a new world record. Our American contender, Carl Lewis, came in second, and most were shocked that he hadn't won the gold. After the race, the judges learned that Johnson had had an illegal substance in his body. He ran the race illegally, so the judges took away his medal. Though he ran faster and made an unforgettable impression, he did not deserve the reward.
Though the world and even our fellow Christians
may be impressed with and applaud our deeds, let's not forget that God is the
final judge! He searches our hearts; He alone knows our motivation. And He will
be the One to say, "This deserves a reward. Ah, but that does not." -- Charles R. Swindoll, Hope Again,
(Word, 1996), p. 34.
3. Rejoicing and freedom from guilt is the fruit of the forgiven....God's peace rules their hearts.....DO YOU KNOW HIS JOY AND PEACE?
4. You can know this "exuberant happiness" and freedom from guilt by
confessing your sins to Christ...why not do it today?
CONCLUSION: Like a good parent, God will instruct us how to be His children. Like children, this can include painful lessons, but the long term fruit will be righteousness. We can respond like the horse that always runs ahead or like the mule that lags behind....or, we can learn from His Word and enjoy a happiness beyond being "blessed"!