Reading: Psalm 32
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. Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found…
We have a remarkable ability to deceive ourselves when it comes to our sin. We know when something we’re doing is wrong by our conscience. But we justify our actions so that we can go on doing what we want to do. Perhaps we tell ourselves that our conscience is over-sensitive, or perhaps we simply ignore it’s gentle, quiet pleading. And we often do that because we think whatever it is will make us happy.
But “to be in close accord with God is true happiness” (Derek Kidner).
I don’t like this struggle. Somehow it’s hard to believe that denying myself something is supposed to make me happy. A lot of the time it just leaves me feeling resentful, or angry. And I know in my better mind that God’s wisdom is true. But so often that doesn’t make it any easier.
Unfortunately, that means that I have to learn the lesson the hard way (my mother always said that was true about me). It means that I walk down the path of sin until I feel the weight of God’s hand, heavy upon me (verses 3,4). It’s not until my sin makes me unhappy that I realize Kidner’s wisdom, the wisdom I knew all along but denied.
It’s the sweet relief of forgiveness that sets me to rights. I have deceived myself long enough. It wasn’t worth it; I knew that. And it’s the sense that God himself is life that tastes so sweet. It’s the feeling of being clean again.
But why do we have to be stubborn and go on this journey (verse 9)? Why can’t we learn from previous experiences? We have not yet learned to rejoice in the Lord (verse 11). The more we see him as our joy—the more we enjoy him—the less we will be fooled by the idea that some sin is what we really need to be happy.
Lord, help us to find our joy in you. Show us what that means! We’re so preoccupied with the things of the flesh. We don’t want to be choked by the cares of the world. We want to bear fruit for you and to enjoy our salvation in Christ! Have mercy. Forgive us our sins and draw near to us. Remind us again and again that you are life itself.