The Cleansing - Psalm 32:1-11

1.      How many of you like movies or books with sequels?

2.      What are some of your favorite series? (“Rocky,” 1, 2, 3, 4 etc. “Taken,” 1, 2.)

Many scholars believe Psalm 32 is the sequel of Psalm 51. After David confessed his great sin and repented he experienced God’s gracious forgiveness and his joy returned. We referenced Psalm 32:3 in last week’s study of Psalm 51 showing their close connection.

3.      The Bible clearly teaches that we were created for fellowship with God and to bring glory to Him. What happens deep inside us when we are not fulfilling our intended purpose? (The joy that God intended for us to experience is not there and we may even become bitter and resentful.)

When we, as Christians, are out of fellowship with God because of sin in our lives we may become obsessed with the thought that no one knows. We may fool others but the one person we can’t seem to fool is ourselves. And certainly we can’t fool God!

Psalm 32 is a psalm that proclaims the joy that David experienced after confession and repentance of his great sin with Bathsheba and murder of her husband, Uriah. That same joy is available to us.

David stood before the Lord justified. Justification is God’s gracious and full acquittal upon principles of His righteousness of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ.

 

The Contrast! Read Psalm 32:1-4

 

1.      How would you describe the tone of the psalmist in verses 1-2?

2.      What different words are used for sin in these verses? (Transgression—stepping over the line, rebellion; Sin—missing the mark or falling short; Iniquity—Corruption or crookedness; and Deceit—not trustworthy, dishonest scales.)

3.      How was the psalmist’s body affected by his unconfessed sin? (His bones became brittle, voice groaned, strength was drained.)

4.      How would you describe the impact unconfessed sin has on a Christian?

5.      How would you describe the contrast between verses 1-2 and verses 3-4?

6.      What are the dangers of refusing to confess or trying to ignore our transgressions?

7.      What keeps people from admitting a sin when the impact of doing so can be so freeing?

 

The Decision! Read Psalm 32:5

 

1.      What do you suppose gave David the courage to stop trying to hide his sin?

2.      What are some ways people try to deal with the guilt of sin other than confessing it to the Lord?

3.      In what ways have you personally learned the hard way that nothing besides confession will work?

4.      It took quite some time for David to come clean, and even then it was only after Nathan confronted him. Why does it often take people so long to ask forgiveness? (Sometimes we think time will ease the pain but it only gets worse.)

5.      What would it take for you to confront someone of their sin?

6.      What keeps us from confronting others of their sin?

In Psalm 51:13 David said he would teach others God’s ways. He made good on his promise here in Psalm 32.

7.      What benefits await those who confess their sins to God?

8.      Which benefit provides the greatest motivation for confessing?

9.      How is the guilt of our sin taken away? (It is almost impossible for us to believe that our guilt can be taken away. I have read many stories of prisoners saying, “There is no way God could forgive what I have done.” While some sins we classify as worse than others, sin is transgression against God’s law and the smallest sin still disqualifies us from being accepted by God. Jesus died for the worst serial killer and the one who simply told a “little white lie.”)

 

The Counsel! Read Psalm 32:6-9

 

The first word of counsel David gave was for people to pray to God when He could be found. In other words, pray before it’s too late. During Noah’s day there came a time when it was too late—when God closed to door of the ark time was up! Although the Lord is full of mercy and compassion, there is a limit to His patience, according to Romans 2:4; 1 Peter 3:19-20; and 2 Peter 3:9.

1.      What is the second word of counsel, according to Psalm 32:9?

2.      Acting like a stubborn mule may come naturally to some of us. What “bits” might God use to direct a person His way? (The misery that David has already mentioned plus others. Sometimes the guilt and the natural consequences of our sin will turn our head in the right direction!)

Many of us have probably been captivated by someone’s dramatic testimony of sin and forgiveness. You may have a dramatic conversion story yourself. But if we aren’t careful, we can find ourselves more interested in the lurid details of the past to the point that we glorify the sin over the forgiveness. In Psalm 32 and 51, David never brought up the details of his sin. Instead, he remained focused on God’s forgiveness.

3.      What principles should we follow when sharing our life experiences with others? (Stay focused on God’s saving grace, mercy and forgiveness. Confession should only be as public as the sin. If I have wronged one of my children, then I need to go to them with confession and ask for forgiveness not the whole community.)

4.      How can sharing lessons learned help both the one hearing and the one telling?

 

The Conclusion! Read Psalm 32:10-11

 

1.      How would you contrast the pains of the wicked with the joys of those who actually obey God?  (The old phrase “day and night” comes to my mind. Heartache and joy. Pain and relief. Frustration and satisfaction.)

2.      What are the root causes for these differences? (The wicked reap the harvest of being opposed to the will of God and it is impossible to have joy in that condition. Perhaps temporary happiness but it is only temporary!)

3.      What makes people assume the opposite is true—that joy comes to those who do whatever they want to do? (That is Satan’s lie!)

4.      When we, as Christians, confess our sin and God forgives, why do we sometimes not feel forgiven? (Ashamed of our actions. Know others know. Don’t feel worthy. Don’t believe God has truly forgiven. )

We must believe God, not our feelings! (1 John 1:9)

Those who respond to God’s offer of forgiveness not only find love and gladness; their behavior generates it for others. Think for a moment about the good created by lives surrendered to God’s will!

 

Summarize and Challenge!

 

As Christians, we must confess our sins to the Father or face the possibility of becoming spiritually despondent. We can find rest and mercy when we confess our sins to the Father. He desires nothing greater than to forgive us. We can encourage others in our spiritual life, teaching them from our experience. We should respond to God’s forgiveness with gratitude and joy!

 

The way we live out forgiveness is as important as the way we turn from sin! Teach others about God’s mercy, grace and forgiveness!

 

In the context of Psalm 32, the righteous ones who are upright in heart are people who have confessed their sin, received God’s forgiveness, enjoy God’s protection, walk according to God’s direction, and joyfully bear witness to the blessed life of being clean before God. Such a life is worth celebrating.