The Joy of Being Forgiven
1 Of David. A maskil.[b]
[c]Blessed is the one whose offense is forgiven,
whose sin is erased.
2 Blessed is the one to whom the Lord charges no guilt
and in whose spirit there is no guile.
3 As long as I remained silent,[d]
my body wasted away
as the result of my groaning throughout the day.
4 For day and night
your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength withered steadily
as though consumed by the summer heat.[e] Selah
5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you,
and I made no attempt to conceal my guilt.
I said, “I will confess my offenses[f] to the Lord,”
and you removed the guilt of my sin. Selah
6 Therefore, let everyone who is faithful pray to you
where you may be found.[g]
Even if great floods threaten,
they will never reach him.
7 You are a place of refuge for me;
you preserve me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.[h] Selah
8 I will instruct you
and guide you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you
and keep my eyes upon you.
9 Do not behave without understanding
like a horse or a mule;
if its temper is not curbed with bit and bridle,
it will not come near you.
10 The wicked has a multitude of troubles,
but the man who trusts in the Lord
is surrounded by kindness.[i]
11 Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous;
shout for joy, all you upright of heart.[j]
- Psalm 32:1 This is the second of the seven Penitential Psalms (6; 32; 38; 51; 102; 130; 143), a joyous testimony of gratitude for God’s gift of forgiveness for those who confess their sins and follow the law of God. Instead of constantly pondering their sins, believers acknowledge their wretchedness before God and accept forgiveness and reconciliation. Their torment ceases, and a new person is born, overwhelmed by grace, confidence, and a sense of obedience.
In praying this psalm, we can focus not only on the happiness resulting from the forgiveness of particular sin but also on the more profound happiness obtained by the complete victory given us by God in Christ over sin under all its forms.
- Psalm 32:1 Maskil: this term cannot be given a precise translation; perhaps it means “teaching” or “training.”
- Psalm 32:1 Joyous declaration of the happiness of having one’s sins forgiven by God (see Pss 65:5; 85:2; Job 31:33). This text is cited by Paul in Rom 4:7-8. Blessed: see note on Ps 1:1.
- Psalm 32:3 I remained silent: did not confess the sin before God. Body: literally, “bones.”
- Psalm 32:4 According to St. Augustine, even before penitents acknowledge their sin, God hears the cry of their heart and pardons it because of their true contrition (see 2 Sam 12:13).
- Psalm 32:5 Sin . . . guilt . . . offenses: these are the three most common Hebrew words for evil thoughts and actions (see Ps 51:3-4; Isa 59:12).
- Psalm 32:6 The psalmist encourages the godly to draw near to God; even in the greatest adversities, the Lord will protect them. Where . . . found: another version is: “in time of distress.” Great floods: symbol of grave danger (see note on Ps 18:17).
- Psalm 32:7 After receiving God’s help, the psalmist will be surrounded by people celebrating this latest act of deliverance while he brings thank offerings.
- Psalm 32:10 Kindness: see note on Ps 6:5.
- Psalm 32:11 Heart: see note on Ps 4:8.