"If you’ve raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in thickets by the Jordan?" (Jeremiah 12:5). Our journey is intended to be more than simply "stumbling" through the days while the world "wears us out.” We are made to experience the thrill of "running with horses” and to navigate life amongst the "thickets." The RWH blog focuses on both the spiritual race of which Jeremiah speaks, and the physical act of running that I absolutely love. In short, it's where "the miles meet the Message" to provide insight, perspective & encouragement that might enable you & I to successfully run either of the races set before us. May our course be purposeful and may we be passionate in our pursuit of the abundant life He desires for us.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Psalm 32 - ROCC SG Wk 3

Psalm 32 is one of a group of penitential, or confession, psalms. The root word, penitent, is defined as regret for one's wrongdoing, contrition or repentance.  Written by David, it is referenced in most translations as a "Maskil"--that which is used for instruction or teaching.  

The reading of Psalm 32 has the potential to create significant reflection, conviction and freedom. For some of us, we don't readily consider the idea of confessing our hidden sins before God. Often it's easier to seek forgiveness from those that we have wronged, or to simply keep the sin hidden. In Psalm 32, emphasis is placed on the spiritual and physical woes that we encounter when we don't acknowledge our sins to the Lord, as well as the opportunity to find counsel when we seek God’s forgiveness for our transgressions.  

A few notes:

In verses 1-2, David uses a word for "blessed" that means happiness, or full joy. In other words, when our spirit is without deceit and our sins are forgiven, we experience the joy that is intended for us.

Various translations of verses 3-4 provide us with a great understanding of what we are likely to experience when we harbor sins. The burden of unconfessed sins takes a toil on our spiritual, mental, emotional and physical well-being.  Consider the following:

ESV - For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.
NASB - my body wasted away
NLT - I was weak and miserable
KJV - my bones waxed old
NIV - my strength was sapped

Ultimately, the good news, verses 7-11, is that there is "deliverance" (v7), "instruction, teaching and counsel" (v8), and "steadfast love" (v10) for those that seek forgiveness, through confession and repentance; a genuine turning from sin. In fact, to make clear the expectation for repentance, David uses a word for confession that means "bemoaning with wringing of hands.

Two verses that supplement Psalm 32 are Psalm 139:23-24 (Search my heart) and Proverbs 28:13 (one who confesses prospers in mercy).
Psalm 32
Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
    whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,
    and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
    through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
    my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah
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
Therefore let everyone who is godly
    offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found;
surely in the rush of great waters,
    they shall not reach him.
You are a hiding place for me;
    you preserve me from trouble;
    you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
    I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
    which must be curbed with bit and bridle,
    or it will not stay near you.
10 Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
    but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord.
11 Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous,
    and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

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