Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Lent Devotional March 9, 2014

Scripture

Psalm 32

1   Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven,
          whose sin is covered.
2   Happy are those to whom the LORD imputes no iniquity,
          and in whose spirit there is no deceit.


3   While I kept silence, my body wasted away
          through my groaning all day long.
4   For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
          my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.     Selah


5   Then I acknowledged my sin to you,
          and I did not hide my iniquity;
     I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,”
          and you forgave the guilt of my sin.                                    Selah


6   Therefore let all who are faithful
          offer prayer to you;
     at a time of distress, the rush of mighty waters
          shall not reach them.


7   You are a hiding place for me;
          you preserve me from trouble;
          you surround me with glad cries of deliverance.             Selah


8   I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go;
          I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
9   Do not be like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
          whose temper must be curbed with bit and bridle,
          else it will not stay near you.


10   Many are the torments of the wicked,
          but steadfast love surrounds those who trust in the LORD.
11   Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, O righteous,
          and shout for joy, all you upright in heart.

Devotional

The Psalmist keeps silence while groaning. It seems so contradictory, but the Psalmist’s silence isn’t absolute. It’s silence about sin. Immediately when that silence is broken by confession, the Psalmist experiences a sense of forgiveness and joy. The sound of moaning and confession is overwhelmed by the sound of “glad cries of deliverance.” 

This psalm is a sharp contrast to the passage we read yesterday. Instead of joy erupting into songs of worship, today we see the Psalmist keep silence while groaning. That phrase seems so contradictory, but the Psalmist’s silence isn’t absolute. It’s silence about sin. The Psalmist moves from groaning and wasting away to a feeling of safety. We find our Psalmist protected from rushing waters, hidden from trouble, and even surrounded by sounds of joy so intense, so palpable, that they seem to act as a shield. The sound of moaning and confession is overwhelmed by the sound of “glad cries of deliverance.” The psalm then ends with shouts of joy, returning us that that irrepressible worship that we encountered in yesterday’s psalm.

Message provided by the Miller Summer Youth Institute.