Go

Contact Us

  • Phone: (509) 747-3007
  • Email:
  • Meeting Address:
    115 E. Pacific Ave., Spokane, WA 99202
  • Office/Mailing Address:
  • 608 W. 2nd Ave, #101. Spokane, WA 99201

Service Times

  • Sunday: 10am
  • Infant through 8th grade Sunday School classes available
  • FREE Parking!

Sermons

FILTER BY:

Back To List

Aug 04, 2019

A Summer Psalm for Sinners

Passage: Psalm 32

Preacher: John Repsold

Series: Psalms

Keywords: worship, joy, repentance, happiness, confession, rejoicing

Summary:

This is the only Psalm that speaks specifically of summer. And it's an interesting combination of repentance and joy. This Psalm tells us how closely those two emotions are tied in God's economy.

Detail:

Summer Psalm for Sinners

Psalm 32

August 4, 2019

 

Antiphonal Reading of Psalm 32

[Congregation]

Blessed is the one
    whose transgressions are forgiven,
    whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one
    whose sin the Lord does not count against them
    and in whose spirit is no deceit.

[Reader]

When I kept silent,
    my bones wasted away
    through my groaning all day long.
For day and night
    your hand was heavy on me;
my strength was sapped
    as in the heat of summer.

[Congregation]

Then I acknowledged my sin to you
    and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess
    my transgressions to the Lord.”
And you forgave
    the guilt of my sin.

[Reader]

Therefore let all the faithful pray to you
    while you may be found;
surely the rising of the mighty waters
    will not reach them.

[Congregation]
You are my hiding place;
    you will protect me from trouble
    and surround me with songs of deliverance.

[Reader]

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
    I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
Do not be like the horse or the mule,
    which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
    or they will not come to you.

[All]
10 Many are the woes of the wicked,
    but the Lord’s unfailing love
    surrounds the one who trusts in him.

11 Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous;
    sing, all you who are upright in heart!

      I’m taking the next two weeks to dive into two different Psalms or “songs,” as the word Psalm means.  Music is perhaps one of the oldest and most frequently used mediums to express human emotion.  That makes the book of Psalms one of the most emotion-laden books in the Bible.  From “imprecatory” Psalms that are praying for judgment and punishment of the psalmist’s enemies to “praise” Psalms that usually focus upon God’s nature and the blessings He pours out on people, Psalms was originally a book of human emotions and divine truth set to song

      Q:  Why are humans drawn to songs?  Compelled to write songs?  Sing songs?  What does song do for us that other types of written language or music doesn’t do?  [Congregational responses]

      Interestingly, this is the only Psalm that talks about summer.  As you might expect, it refers to the HEAT of summer that saps our strength. 

      But this is really a Psalm about sinwhat it does to us…and what we need to do about it.  Even more than that, however, it’s a song about what God does with our sin and what we can do with God as a result. 

      So the first half of our study of this passage today is going to deal with SIN:

  • What it does to us.
  • What we need to do with sin.

One of the deceptions of sin is that it gives us something “good” or pleasurable at no cost and long term.  But the reality is, while sin usually does deliver something we value in the moment, sin always costs AND it always brings long-term negatives

APP:  Just think, for a moment, about what sin has brought to your life.  Happiness with God?  Contentment with life?  Health?  Calmness of conscience?  Better relationships with people…and God?  NO.  Let’s name the trouble sin brings to us:

  • Guilty conscience
  • Self-hatred
  • Sense of failure
  • Sadness
  • Disappointment
  • Depression
  • Sickness
  • Weakness
  • Addictions
  • Conflict
  • Damaged relationships
  • Shame
  • ???

David is the author of this Psalm.  While we don’t know exactly what particular incident in his life led to this repentant cry to God, it’s possible that it was the same as Psalm 51—his sin with Bathsheba, his neighbor’s wife.  That led David to kill his Hittite neighbor, Uriah, after he had committed adultery with Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba, gotten her pregnant and then sent Uriah into battle with instructions to his commanding general to arrange for him to be killed.  Talk about a scandal-ridden administration!  David isn’t just your garden variety sinner; he stands out like those giant pumpkins you see at the state fair that weigh over 1,000 pounds! 

            While most of us in this room (hopefully) have not murdered our neighbor to cover up an affair with our neighbor’s spouse, all of us sitting here today have plenty of experience with sin.  All of us have felt the painful and destructive effects of sin

            When it comes to the negative effects of sin, most of us tend to focus on the external, observable results.  Take this story about David’s sin (found in 2 Samuel 11 & 12) and all the fallout in his life as a result of this sin (the rest of 2 Samuel).  What kind of pain did this sin bring into David’s life?

  • Death of the conceived, birthed and loved boy-son of their union after a 7-day, ugly, drawn-out illness.
  • 13—Rape/incest of Tamar (daughter) by Amnon (half-brother & son of David)>>death of Amnon at hand of his half-brother/David’s son Absalom (fratricide)
  • 14-17—David’s horrible parenting of his adult son, Absalom; Absalom’s treachery and coup against his father, David. The disgracing of David’s haramAbsalom’s ultimate death for his treachery. 

But if you look at this Psalm and Psalm 51, both of those Psalms (and especially this one) focus, NOT on all the horrible life situation fall-out and disasters, but what?  (What is going on in David’s soul, heart, mind and body.)

When I kept silent,
    my bones wasted away
    through my groaning all day long.
For day and night
    your hand was heavy on me;
my strength was sapped
    as in the heat of summer.

And again in vs. 9--

Do not be like the horse or the mule,
    which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
    or they will not come to you.

[Skip to vs. 10.]

10 Many are the woes of the wicked…

Look at what sin does TO us, at least before we come to our sense, confess it and seek God’s forgiveness.

Vs. 3—“When I kept silent….”  Here is the isolation sin brings.  Sin causes us to shut down open and honest communication with God, with those closest to us and with even ourselves.  When I’ve sinned, the next thing I want to do is rationalize it with myself.  I’ll have all kinds of self-talk conversations about why I was right to behave badly as I did…or why I had a right to do what I did…or why what I did wasn’t all that bad, etc., etc.  Here’s one of the worst things sin does to us:  it DECEIVES us!  It makes it difficult/impossible to see life from God’s perspective, “in truth.”  Sin makes us think things aren’t as bad as they actually are, aren’t as desperate as they actually are, aren’t as evil or damaging or destructive as they actually are.  And that conspires to keep us from what we need to do to escape the power of sin over us. 

This is a lot easier to see in other people than ourselves.  That’s the nature of deception:  we don’t know we’re being deceived.   I can’t tell you the number of times people come to me with marriage problems, friendship problems, church problems or basic relational problems.  They ask for help.  I try to get all sides of the issue.  And then I tell them where I think they are not seeing their part of the problem…and they give me all the reasons why it really isn’t their fault or problem.

We cannot get out of sin we don’t recognize we’re in.  We cannot stop harming those around us as long as we are discounting or ignoring or excusing the things we are doing that are hurting them.  “Keeping silent” can be shutting down the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit.  It can be silencing our conscience.  It can be not taking the time to allow the Holy Spirit to search us and speak to us because we’re not actually seeking Him and asking him to do that. 

#2.  When I kept silent,
    my bones wasted away
Here is the physical suffering of sin.  While sin in the human race IS the ultimate cause of all illnesses and diseases in the human condition, personal sin is NOT the direct cause of every physical illness or disease you or I may contract.  (Adam & Eve didn’t know disease or illness before they sinned.)  But we shouldn’t assume that physical problems have NO relationship to sin in our souls. 

  • Shared a bit yesterday at Family Day about God’s working in my family of origin. One of the things that I didn’t share was a change that my parents noticed happened to their health when they surrendered their lives to Jesus at ages 54 and 45 respectively.  Up until that time, they both suffered from the status symbol of highly-achieving, financially successful achievers—ULCERS.  In fact, my dad had ½ his stomach taken out because of bleeding ulcers.  But as soon as they acknowledged their sins and surrendered to Christ, those ulcers stopped for both of them. 
  • We’re not talking just the obvious illness of say STDs that come with sexual promiscuity or compromised immune systems, sores and diseases that come with drug use. Sins of envy, anger, bitterness, strife, hatred, gossip, worry, addictions, gossip, etc. ALL come with a price.

David felt his sin “in [his] bones.”  We may feel them in a host of places in our bodies from head to toe and anywhere in between.   

David continues:

my bones wasted away
    through my groaning all day long.
Now he’s talking emotional & spiritual discomfort.  Sin leaves scars.  They just aren’t always visible on the outside.  But we all feel them on the inside.  Our culture, one of the wealthiest and most comfortable in the world, has more people on anti-depressants, more people attempting suicide, more people seeing psychologists and psychiatrists than virtually any other nation.  Those are just symptoms of people living a life of “groaning all day long” because of how sin has impacted them. 

In vs. 4, David identifies where the most difficult discomfort was coming from in his sin:

For day and night
    your hand was heavy on me;
my strength was sapped
    as in the heat of summer.

If you’re a child of God today, you’re never going to get away from “God’s hand.”  We don’t get to choose when God’s hand is on us as His kids and when it’s not.  It NEVER will be from the moment of your new birth in Christ on.  But we DO get to choose what KIND of hand is on us.  Will it be His hand of blessing…or will it be His hand of discipline? 

            When God disciplines, His “hand is heavy on us.”  For the sinning saint (just as with a rebellious child), His parental hand feels “heavy” when we’re walking in sin.  He’s not carrying our load then; He’s adding to it!  The church-going child of God living IN sin will always be more miserable than non-Christians living in sin in the world!  Christian’s with unconfessed sin are some of the most miserable people you will meet.  (Maybe that is why so many church people seem down-in-the-mouth and joyless?) 

And you don’t have to be doing one of the “BIG” sins to feel the big weight of God’s disciplining hand. The ever-present, abiding Holy Spirit God places in each of His children can make one simple little white lie be as heavy on our hearts as a string of bold-faced lies. 

There are 2 verses, vss. 8 & 9, where God takes over in the 1st person and speaks to David (and to us).  Verse 9 makes a comparison, a simile, about horses and mules that applies to us when we refuse to acknowledge we’re headed away from God in our sin.  God says,

Do not be like the horse or the mule,
    which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
    or they will not come to you.

ILL:  I grew up around horses.  My sister boarded a horse on the Palouse not far from where our current house is.  In fact, I would sometimes ride in the then-open field where our house now sits. 

            But my most memorable experiences with horses was during the summer when we would take them to the lake place and ride them every day.  Sometimes we would take them down to the lake and let them swim.  Usually we would ride them for 3-5 miles a day, walking most of the way, trotting occasionally and cantering on the level, straight sections of the dirt road. 

            And occasionally they would get a mind of their own, put their head down and go tearing off through the trees, trying to ditch me, their little kid rider, on the ground. 

            But you know who almost always won?  ME.  Know why?  I held the reins to the bit I had put in their mouth before we started the ride.  I’ve never worn a bit (braces, yes) but I can imagine how painful and uncomfortable it must be for a horse when their rider yanks hard on the reins when they want to go another way…or stop and eat some delicious looking plant or grass. 

            Fact is, you and I have a “spiritual bit & bridle” in our “mouths” whose reins are connected to God himself.  This verse tells us that God gets no real pleasure from having to “reign us in” when we’re sinning.  He much prefers to guide us into green pastures and beside still waters with gentle nudges and tender touches.  But He loves us enough to resort to spiritual bits and bridles when necessary. 

So if that is what sin does to us, what are WE to DO WITH SIN?  Verses 5 & 6 tell us.

Then I acknowledged my sin to you
    and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess
    my transgressions to the Lord.”
....

Therefore let all the faithful pray to you
    while you may be found;

In just a moment we’re going to share communion together.  Communion is the best place and time for us to “do with sin” what the Psalmist David says here he did:

  • Acknowledge our sin to God.
  • Bring our week and our weaknesses into the light of His presence.
  • Let God tell us where we’ve been missing the mark/sinning and trying to cover it up.
  • Confess our “transgressions” to God himself. Call them sin. Name them as sins.  Agree with God that they are damaging us and the people around us. 
  • “Pray to God” “while [He] may be found.” Ask Him to rescue us, save us again, rebuild the relationships we’ve damaged.  ASK God to come and do IN us and well as THROUGH us what we cannot do without him.  Ask Him to reverse the evil we’ve been sowing and bring “crop failure” to the sins we’ve been hiding behind. 

COMMUNION

  • Explain HOW we celebrate it.
  • Explain WHO it is for.
  • Explain WHAT are to remember in these moments—Jesus’ love and sacrifice for us, the price of our sin, the need for continual confession that brings continual cleansing.

PART 2

So we’ve seen 1.) what sin does to us, and 2.) what we need to do with sin.  Now we turn to the bulk of this Psalm (but the smaller part of this message) that addresses…

1.)  What GOD does with us repentant sinners, and

2.)  What WE get to do with our righteous, holy God as a result.

ILL:  We’re probably all familiar with the name Caleb Sharp.  He was the student shooter in Freeman who killed one classmate, Sam Strahan, and wounded many others.  Had his gun not jammed, there would undoubtedly have been more deaths and wounded.  This past week, Judge Michael Price, someone I used to carpool with when we both played in the Spokane Junior Symphony, declared that Sharp will be tried as an adult. 

I’d like you to try and imagine something very difficult.  Imagine you are Caleb Sharp today—17 years old, having been held in custody without bail on a charge of 1st degree murder for the past two years. But now you’ve already gone through the trial.  The courtroom battle has dragged on for weeks.  You’ve watched your mother cry every day as she comes to the trial.  You’ve seen the pain in the eyes of your victim’s family.  And you’ve felt the disdain and sometimes hatred of a hundred pairs of eyes of people your actions have damaged for the rest of their lives. You have despaired of your own life and wished it would end as quickly as you ended the life of your innocent classmate.

Finally, the big moment arrives. With your hands manacled, the bailiff leads you into the courtroom. The jury files in after several days of deliberations. The courtroom falls silent as the judge calls the court to order. He asks you to stand.  Then he addresses the jury.

 “Mr. Foreman, do you have a verdict?” Your heart is pounding and your mouth is dry as you watch him rise. The rest of your life depends upon his words.

The Foreman clears his throat and looks directly at the judge.  “Yes, your honor, we have reached a verdict.  Your honor, the jury finds the defendant… not guilty.”

Not guilty?  Not guilty?  A flood of relief sweeps over you and tears of joy well up in your eyes. Not guilty! It’s as if a heavy weight has dropped from your shoulders! The bailiff unlocks your handcuffs and you hear the judge declare, “You are free to go.” Free from condemnation! Free from a life in prison.  Free to pursue your dreams, to live a new life, to be a better person. 

Imagine that such a declaration somehow came with forgiveness from the family of your slain classmate.  Imagine that the mother of that young man…who had (in real life) also lost her husband in a tragic accident just the year before you killed her son…looked you in the eye and said with the sincerest eyes you’d ever seen, “Caleb, even though I know you did this, I forgive you.  My son Sam (Strahan) forgives you.  I know because we talked about this sort of thing possibly happening some day at your school.  And he told me that if he was ever the victim of a shooting, he wanted me to forgive the shooter and he wanted me to tell you that he had already decided to forgive you as you left him dying there on that hallway of Freeman High School.” 

      That kind of grace, that kind of kindness, that kind of mercy and forgiveness isn’t human; it can only be found in God himself. 

      Every one of us sitting here today, by our many and varied sins, murdered God’s Only Begotten Son.  We left him hanging on the cross to die.  Only He did it willingly, knowing that when He came to “school”…to this earth…2,000 years ago, He would be killed by and for the very ones He loved and came to this place to rescue. 

      This is what the first two verses of this psalm describe:

Blessed is the one
    whose transgressions are forgiven,
    whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one
    whose sin the Lord does not count against them
    and in whose spirit is no deceit.

Vs. 5b—

…And you forgave
    the guilt of my sin.

Vss. 7 & 8--

You are my hiding place;
    you will protect me from trouble
    and surround me with songs of deliverance.

Then God says to you…

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
    I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.

This from the God who could have stopped His Son’s death.  This from the God who could have squashed every one of us…or at least not created us so we could do such pain and hurt to Him. 

            David uses different words about forgiveness here to describe what God does with our sin in vs. 1:

  • Our “transgressions are forgiven.” The idea behind “forgiven” is taken away. God takes away THE SIN itself—that which damages us and our slavery to it.  But 5 goes much further: it tells us that God is the one who forgave the guilt of my sin.”  Sin and guilt are two different things.  God dealt with the SIN on the cross.  God deals with the GUILT of our souls in our hearts.  Forgiveness of the offense itself allows us to spend eternity with our God.  But “taking away” of the guilt that accompanies sin clears the way for us to spend this life and eternity enjoying God and this new life with Him that He’s always wanted for us. 
  • Our “…sins are covered.” The idea here is of atonement: making payment for someone else’s debt that settles the score and ends the enemy-status that previously existed.  The result of atonement/covering of sin is that we are reconciled with the God we have offended. 

Romans 5 puts it this way:  “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” (Romans 5:9-11)

  • 2--Blessed is the one whose sin the Lorddoes not count against them…literally “charge to their account”.  ILL: Ever had a “charge account.”  Some people mistakenly think that a charge card is free money.  What it is is really a way for the bank to get you indebted to them, to use their money as if it was yours…and charge you handsomely for it. 

Every sin we commit is a “charge” that puts us in debt to God.  Problem is, there is no “declaring bankruptcy” or “making minimum payments” for eternity. Our debt is too big (think billions or trillions of dollars) and life is too short. 

What’s more, every day we may try and make some “payment” by doing something good is the same day we are withdrawing thousands more dozens of times.  We’re like the guy/gal who deposits $100/day in their bank and then goes outside and withdraws $5,000 from the ATM… multiple times/day…and wonders why they keep going in debt more. 

BUT GOD pays the entire debt.  He cancels the record.  And then He puts you as a designated user on His Son’s great account of righteousness. 

This all sounds rather “fairy-tail-ish,” doesn’t it?  But it’s really only the beginning. 

  • God not only forgives us (vs. 1),
  • He gets us right with Him and covers our eternal, spiritual debts (vs. 2);
  • this Psalm tells us that He rescues us from self-deception (vs. 2),
  • He protects and becomes Himself our hiding place (vss. 6-7),
  • He becomes our protector and delivers us to the degree that we end up singing songs about it (vs. 7).
  • He doesn’t leave us to wander around lost in life but actually becomes our divine tutor instructing and teaching us what to do with life (vs. 8).
  • And He does it all with a constant eye of love (not of criticism, anger, impatience) on us (vs. 8).
  • And he perpetually fills our days and nights (“surrounds us”) with mercy, not judgment.

That’s what God does with and for US.

And there is only 1 thing that David calls us to do in response

Vs. 11--11 Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous;
    sing, all you who are upright in heart!

David, a sinner who only knew a portion of the great salvation plan of God, makes this Psalm more about happiness in our forgiving, loving, caring and protecting God as he does about sin.  That should tell us something.  Our focus, even in repentance, should be on the greatness of God and the gratitude of heart real forgiveness brings. 

So let’s be glad…and worship.  Let’s be happy in life and in the Lord who has given us an entirely new lease on life.  So let’s obey David’s call “rejoice in the Lord…be glad…[and] sing!”