A reading from Psalm 32
Welcome to Lent meditation and worship with Westside church. During this Lenten season, meet us here each day as we read scripture, worship and rest in the presence of God together. Know that as you listen today, you are doing so with others whether in the same space as you or not, and we pray that the Holy Spirit permeates the places we each find ourselves in right now.
Let us start today by clearing our minds and opening our hearts and minds to what the Lord wants to speak to us through His word today. Take a deep breath in and out. And another in and out.
Is it possible to both lament our wrongdoing and celebrate the forgiveness of God at the same time? Some might say no, that when you are coming before the Lord with your sin, it should look like groveling and gnashing of teeth. But I don’t think that’s true. David shows us in Psalm 32 what confession should look like. He gives us a wonderful model of repentance and acceptance of grace.
1 How happy is the one whose wrongs are forgiven,
whose sin is hidden from sight.
2 How happy is the person whose sin the Eternal will not take into account.
How happy are those who no longer lie, to themselves or others.
3 When I refused to admit my wrongs, I was miserable,
moaning and complaining all day long
so that even my bones felt brittle.
4 Day and night, Your hand kept pressing on me.
My strength dried up like water in the summer heat;
You wore me down.
5 When I finally saw my own lies,
I owned up to my sins before You,
and I did not try to hide my evil deeds from You.
I said to myself, “I’ll admit all my sins to the Eternal,”
and You lifted and carried away the guilt of my sin.
6 So let all who are devoted to You
speak honestly to You now, while You are still listening.
For then when the floods come, surely the rushing water
will not even reach them.
7 You are my hiding place.
You will keep me out of trouble
and envelop me with songs that remind me I am free.
8 I will teach you and tell you the way to go and how to get there;
I will give you good counsel, and I will watch over you.
9 But don’t be stubborn and stupid like horses and mules
who, if not reined by leather and metal,
will run wild, ignoring their masters.
10 Tormented and empty are wicked and destructive people,
but the one who trusts in the Eternal is wrapped tightly in His gracious love.
11 Express your joy; be happy in Him, you who are good and true.
Go ahead, shout and rejoice aloud, you whose hearts are honest and straightforward.
David paints this picture for us of what it can look like when we are not accepting of our own sin and disobedience. It eats away at us. It presses on our souls as we wither away. Have you ever felt this when you haven’t been quick to confess or were unaware of the lies you had been telling yourself? It happens to all of us. We whisper justifications to ourselves and the enemy whispers them to us. But we know something’s not right. When we are ready to admit this to ourselves and confess to the Lord, we become free. The guilt and shame are lifted and we can breathe again, because Jesus is faithful to forgive. He bestows us with grace and mercy and so much forgiveness.
This is how we both lament and celebrate inside confession. We grieve when we disobey or live in the lies of the enemy but when we trust Jesus to carry those we are wrapped tightly in His gracious love, as David says. Yes it is ok to celebrate what a good, good Father we have who is rich in grace. We can repent and then rejoice in the Lord worshipping Him in all his kind and loving ways. We do not have to beat ourselves up. Jesus isn’t wanting that from us. He is wanting our honest and true selves, who humbly confess how we’ve yet again screwed up. And he will wrap his arms around you and hold you in all his love.
God of mercy,
your word was the sure defense of Jesus in his time of testing.
Minister to us in the wilderness of our temptation,
that we who have been set free from sin by Christ
may serve you well into life everlasting. Amen
WRITE and DISCUSS