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Psa 32:1 By David. A contemplative psalm- Or maschil. Being so certain of having received God's mercy, and therefore knowing the joy of living in good conscience with God, led David to preach to those around him. "Then will I teach transgressors  thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee" (Ps. 51:13). Note too that Psalm 32 is a  'Maschil' psalm- 'for instruction'. If we have really experienced the mercy of God, we will preach to others from our personal experience. 'Preaching' will not be something which we will have to will ourselves to do, nor will it be just a compartment of our lives. Like David, our very existence, the very spirit of our lives, will be an open proclamation of what God's mercy has achieved in us. Morally disgraced in the eyes of all Israel and even the surrounding nations, not to mention his own family, David didn't have a leg to stand on when it came to telling other people how to live their lives. A lesser man than David would have resigned all connection with any kind of preaching. But throughout the Bathsheba psalms there is constant reference to David's desire to go and share the grace of God which he had experienced with others (Ps. 32 title; 51:13). He titles them ‘maschil’- for instruction / teaching. “Have mercy upon me, O Lord... that I may shew forth all thy praise in the gates” (Ps. 9:13,14).  

Blessed is he whose iniquity is forgiven, whose sin is covered-
"Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven" (Ps. 32:1), David wrote, after experiencing God's mercy in the matter of Bathsheba. But Paul sees this verse as David describing "the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works" (Rom. 4:6). Each of us are in need of a like justification; therefore we find ourselves in David's position. The Spirit changes Ps. 32:1 ("Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven") to "Blessed are they" (Rom. 4:7) to make the same point.

Paul quotes David’s rejoicing in the righteousness imputed to him when he had sinned and had no works left to do- and changes the pronoun from “he” to “they” (Rom. 4:6-8). David’s personal experience became typical of that of each of us. It was through the experience of that wretched and hopeless position that David and all believers come to know the true ‘blessedness’ of imputed righteousness and sin forgiven by grace.

After his sin with Bathsheba, David was a desperate man. Sin is serious. He had to die, and he was shamed before all Israel. What he had done could not be undone, nor could it be forgiven through sacrifice. No amount of re-interpretation of the texts could get round it. Having been confronted by his desperation for nine months, he found a miraculous forgiveness. And he uttered a soliloquy: "Blessed is he (himself- David) whose transgression is forgiven" (Ps. 32:1). Rom. 4:6,7 slightly changes this, with the preface that these words describe "the blessedness of [any] man" who finds true forgiveness: "Blessed are they whose iniquities [plural] are forgiven". The point is plain: David's desperation is that of every one redeemed in Christ.

Psa 32:2 Blessed is the man to whom Yahweh doesn’t impute iniquity-
"Blessed is the man (e.g. David, or any sinner- David is our example) to whom Yahweh doesn't impute iniquity" is alluded to in 2 Cor. 5:19: "God was in Christ... not imputing (the world's) trespasses unto them". 

In whose spirit there is no deceit- In Christ there was no guile (1 Pet. 2:22), as there was not in David (or any other believer) after the justification of forgiveness (Ps. 32:2). "Blessed is the man...i n whose spirit is no guile"  is picked up in Rev. 14:5: "In their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God". The picture of forgiven David in Ps. 32 is what we will each be like after acceptance "before the throne of God". Yet David's experience can also be ours here and now; in those moments of true contrition, we surely are experiencing salvation in prospect.

In the same way as God did not impute iniquity to David, so David did not 'impute iniquity' to Shimei for cursing him, and did not carry out a rightful death sentence against that man (2 Sam. 19:19,21). Note how Shimei uses the very same wording which David used in his repentance: "I have sinned" (2 Sam. 19:20). It makes a good homework to now look through the New Testament, looking for David allusions.


Psa 32:3 When I kept silence, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long-
This must refer to David's roaring to God in prayer (Ps. 22:1) before David's repentance, whilst keeping silent about his sin. In the same context he laments: "I have roared by reason of the disquietness (bad conscience) of my heart" (Ps. 38:8). His very separation from God made him pray to God the more, pleading for some form of spiritual healing. But without realistic confession of sin, such prayer was shouting out words into the darkness. David found that attempting to have a relationship with God in such bad conscience only adds to the pain.  


Psa 32:4 For day and night Your hand was heavy on me, my strength was dried as in the heat of summer. Selah-
David found his sins associated with Bathsheba "as an heavy burden... too heavy for me... I am (thereby) bowed down greatly" (Ps. 32:4,6). Surely our Lord was thinking back to David when He invited all of us: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden (with sins), and I will give you rest... for my... burden is light" (Mt. 11:28-30).

Psa 32:5 I acknowledged my sin to You, I didn’t hide my iniquity. I said, I will confess my transgressions to Yahweh, and You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah-
Solomon inserts parts of his father’s Bathsheba psalms in his prayers for how all Israel could be forgiven if they “confess thy name... when thou afflictest them... saying, We have sinned... forgive thy people... and all their transgressions wherein they have transgressed” (1 Kings 8:35,47,50 = Ps. 32:5 etc.). On the basis of David’s pattern, all God’s people can find forgiveness, if they make a like confession.

It should be noted that the sin of adultery is not highlighted in Nathan's rebuke of David, but rather that David had "killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife". This is twice emphasized in 2 Sam. 12:9,10. This is not to say that the sin of weakness, of the moment, was irrelevant in God's sight. But the emphasis on how he had taken Bathsheba as his wife hints that this had been his long term intention, further suggesting that his sin with her was the end result of much prior meditation. This further illuminates the way in which David speaks of his sin with Bathsheba as if it comprised a whole multitude of other sins: " I acknowledged my sin (singular) unto thee... I said, I will confess my transgressions (plural)" (Ps. 32:5 cp. 38:3,4,18). Ps. 25:7 also occurs in a  Bathsheba context: "Remember not the sins of my youth..." ; as if facing up to his sin with Bathsheba made David face up to sins of years ago, possibly also in a sexual context.

Psalm 38 speaks of how the guilt of his sin weighed so heavily upon him (Ps. 38:4 NIV), whereas Ps. 32:5 describes how the guilt of sin has now been lifted from him- implying that he wrote Ps. 38 some time after the sin, but before repenting properly. The point is, he didn’t crash completely, he didn’t turn away from God in totality- he was still writing Psalms at the time! 


Psa 32:6 For this, let each one who is Godly pray to You-
The serious but repentant sinner is here called "Godly". This is alluded to in 2 Cor. 7:7-11. Paul wished to interpret the news from Titus as meaning that the Corinthians had repented of their deep immorality: "Ye were made sorry... ye sorrowed to were made sorry after a Godly manner (cp. "every one that is Godly...", Ps. 32:6)... for Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation... ye sorrowed after a Godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation (cp. David's in 2 Sam. 12:5)... what zeal... your mourning, your fervent mind" (AV). Allusion after allusion to David is being piled up here. The eight references to their "sorrow" in four verses is surely a signpost back to David's intense sorrow for his sin with Bathsheba: "My sin is ever before me (Ps. 51:3)... my sorrow is continually before me... I will be sorry for my sin... many sorrows shall be to the wicked" who, unlike David, refused to repent (Ps. 38:17,18; 32:10). This association between sin and sorrow is a common one (Job 9:28; 1 Tim. 6:10; Ex. 4:31; Is. 35:10. The last two references show how Israel's sorrowing in Egypt was on account of their sinfulness). We must pause to ask whether our consciousness of sin leads us to a like sorrowing, whether our repentance features a similar depth of remorse. It would appear that Paul is likening Corinth to David. They too were guilty of sexual "uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness" (2 Cor. 12:21). As David's repentance was made in a "day of salvation", so in 2 Cor. 6:2 Paul told Corinth that they were in a similar position to him; they too had the chance of repentance. Those who had heeded this call earlier had experienced the zeal and clear conscience which David did on his repentance (2 Cor. 7:9-11). In this case, Paul would be likening himself to Nathan the prophet. This zeal which was seen in both David and Corinth is a sure sign of clear conscience and a joyful openness with God. Again, we ask how much of our zeal is motivated by this, or is it just a continuation of a level of service which we set ourselves in more spiritual days, which we now struggle to maintain for appearances sake? 


In a time when You may be found. Surely when the great waters overflow, they shall not reach to him- This is alluded to in 2 Cor. 6:2: "In a time of acceptance I hearkened to you, and in a day of salvation did I succour you. Behold, now is the time of acceptance; behold, now is the day of salvation". This quotation is in support of the statement that we have received God's grace, charis, gift of the Spirit; but we are not to receive it in vain, but rather make use of it. The 'succouring' in view refers to just that. The same word is used in Heb. 2:18 of how the Lord Jesus gives us such help in time of temptation. Seeing that temptation is internal to the human mind, this help is surely psychological, within the heart- which is exactly what the gift of the Spirit is all about. Forgiveness is indeed in view, but beyond that- strength against falling into sin.

For every sinner, for whom David is our example, now is the time when God may be "found" in the sense of experiencing His forgiveness. God is love towards men, He is forgiveness. To experience this and respond back to it is therefore to find the knowledge of God. This "time when You (i.e. God's forgiveness, which is God) may be found" which David speaks of is that of 2 Cor. 6:2: "Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation". Paul was speaking of how all sinners, baptized or not, need to realize this; we are all in David's position. Some complain that they did not experience a very great upsurge in finding and knowing God at the point of baptism. This may be due to an insufficient emphasis on the need for repentance and appreciating the seriousness of sin before baptism; and not being willing to make use of the Spirit gift which we are then given. We must not think that we know God because we believe a Statement of Faith and have been baptized. "Now is the accepted time", Paul wrote to the baptized Corinthians, to truly take on board the marvel of God's forgiveness, to know it and respond to it for ourselves, and thereby to come to a dynamic, two-way relationship with God.

 As David "found" God through experiencing His forgiveness, so can " every one that is Godly" today. It is quite possible that "seek and you shall find" (Mt. 7:7) was uttered by the Lord with his mind on Ps. 32:6 and David's experience. After all, we cannot expect this to be a blank cheque offer, that whatever we seek for we must receive. But if these words are an allusion to David's seeking and finding forgiveness in Ps. 32:6, then the promise is more realistic. If we seek for forgiveness and a living relationship with God, then we have this unconditional promise that we will find this. Yet in a sense, the time when we will ultimately find God will be at the judgment: we will "find mercy of the Lord in that day" (2 Tim. 1:18), so that "ye may be found of him in peace, without spot and blameless" (2 Pet. 3:14). We will find God, as He will find us, in that great moment of consummation; "for then shall (we) know (God), even as also (we) are known" by Him (1 Cor. 13:12; ). Then we will "be found in him...that I may (then) know him" (Phil. 3:9,10). Yet David says that after forgiveness, we can find and know God. It is as if whenever we sin, we in a sense face our judgment seat.


Psa 32:7 You are my hiding place, You will preserve me from trouble, You will surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah- "In the hidden part You shall make me to know wisdom" (Ps. 51:6) David meditated, as he looked forward to his new life with God after receiving forgiveness. His very innermost being would then be able to learn more deeply of God's real wisdom. There is a connection between David knowing God in his "hidden part", and Ps. 32:7: "You art my hiding place", or 'hidden part'. This shows that David felt that after his repentance, God Himself would live in David's 'hidden part', that part of his mind and thinking which no one else knows. Through knowing God, God would come and live in that part which truly knew God. The tabernacling of God in our 'hidden part' also requires us to come to know Him, as David did. 

David came to know the marvel of all this. And David is our example. His response was to eagerly desire to spread the knowledge of God which he acquired through his experience of God's forgiveness. "I will instruct thee and teach thee" he exalts in Ps. 32:8. He knew that as God would surround him with songs of deliverance on forgiveness, so "he (anyone) that trusteth in the Lord (as David did), mercy shall compass him about" (Ps. 32:10). "Then will I teach transgressors thy ways" (Ps. 51:13) is another example. Likewise, Peter (Lk. 5:8-10), Isaiah (Is. 6:5-9) and Paul (Eph. 3:8) all received preaching commissions straight after their experience of forgiveness. Our knowledge of God through receiving it should be a powerful stimulus to our personal witnessing. There is every reason why some of our witnessing should include personal testimony of what the Lord has done for us.

Psa 32:8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you shall go, I will counsel you with my eye on you-
These could be God's words to David, assuring him that He would use this experience of sin and restoration to teach him and lead him further in the way to life. Or as noted on :1, seeing this is a Psalm for instructing others, these may be David's words, seeking to bring others to know the way he himself had trodden. "Counsel" is the word used of Ahithophel, David's counsellor who was Bathsheba's grandfather, who later betrayed him and turned against him (2 Sam. 15:12; 16:23). Perhaps David is reflecting that due to his experience of grace, he is now qualified to counsel others; and therefore Ahithophel, Israel's renowned counsellor, was thereby further offended. See on Ps. 33:18.

Solomon taught his son obedience to him as a father, but not to God Himself. He tells him: “I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths” (Prov. 4:11), repeating the words of David in Ps. 32:8: “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye”. But those words in their context were wrung from a David desperately grateful for God’s forgiveness of his sin with Bathsheba. Solomon hadn’t gone through this contrition- he was a self-justified womanizer, and yet he used the same outward form of words as his father.  Solomon was playing God by implying that his words carried the weight of God’s words.

Psa 32:9 Don’t be like the horse or like the mule which have no understanding, who are controlled by bit and bridle, or else they will not come near to you-
Through David's repentance he obviously learnt from his sin, as we can from each of ours. Ps. 32:9 comments that men ought to learn from David’s example, and not be as horses who must have their mouths kept in with a bridle. In Ps. 39:1 David reminisces how he had earlier said [before his sin with Bathsheba] that he would stop himself sinning by restraining himself with a bridle. He learnt that sheer will power is not enough; blind resolution to simply ‘obey’ will fail. Instead, it is a living relationship with the Father, a deep sense of His glory, that creates an environment of life where we just won’t do what David did with Bathsheba. This was what he learnt, and this is what he was so eager to pass on to us in the post-Bathsheba Psalms of  David's repentance. "Come near" is a common idiom for offering sacrifice and worshipping God. The idea may be that God doesn't want to force men to come near to Him through using the force of bit and bridle; rather does He want genuinely repentant sinners like David, in awe of His grace, to come to Him of themselves with the "understanding" of Him as the God of all grace. But God all the same causes men to "come near" to Him (Ps. 65:4 s.w.); but not be coercion, rather by the experience of His grace.


Psa 32:10 Many sorrows come to the wicked, but grace shall surround him who trusts in Yahweh-
The nervous effects on David may well have continued throughout the rest of his life. Despite exalting in the fact that he has now confessed his sin and been forgiven, David uttered Ps. 32:4: "Day and night thy hand was heavy upon me (in the days before repentance): my moisture is (present tense) turned into the drought of summer. Selah" (AV). Is this not an eloquent picture of the David who was once so sure of himself, full of vitality, now shrivelled up, at least emotionally? "Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about" (Ps. 32:10) may also give insight here. It does not say 'Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; but the repentant will have joy'. Instead, the contrast is made between sorrow and experiencing God's mercy; as if to imply 'The sorrows brought about by sin will go on and on in this life, but knowing you are surrounded by God's mercy more than compensates'. It takes little imagination to realize how that after his sin, David must have become a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, tortured with deep and manic depressions. David's repentance comes as a relief to the reader.


Psa 32:11 Be glad in Yahweh, and rejoice, you righteous! Shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart!
- see on Ps. 51:4. We along with all the righteous ought to “shout for joy” that David really was forgiven- for there is such hope for us now. David is our example. No matter how we have sinned, we can still like him feel and be "upright in heart" before God. And yet the intensity of David’s repentance must be ours. He hung his head as one in whose mouth there were no more arguments, hoping only in the Lord’s grace (Ps. 38:14 RVmg.). David is seeing himself and the righteous as Job, and he here continues that connection, seeing that Job is described likewise as "upright in heart" (Job 1:8; 2:3). David sees this as characteristic of all God's people (s.w. Ps. 11:2; 19:8; 32:11; 36:10; 64:10; 94:15; 97:11). He sees the wicked as those who are not upright (Ps. 14:3; 51:1,3). But these words which David writes about the wicked are then reinterpreted as applying to all men, God's people included (Rom. 3:12). Like Job, David had to be taught that actually he was failing to see the seriousness of sin; righteousness and acceptability with God is imputed to men by grace through faith, because actually there are none who are upright in heart, apart from God's representative son.