I once listened to a sermon where the speaker exhorted us to read the Psalms daily. He talked about a natural balance in the text that often reflects our own experience. The Psalmists write openly and passionately about the difficulties we all know – shame, anger, fear, exhaustion. They cry out to God, sometimes in desperate demands, asking Him to show up in their despair. But they don’t stay there. The next moment they are praising; worshiping God for who He is, what He’s done and will do. There is a beautiful expectancy in the Psalms that does us good when we enter into it. Often it happens even within the same Psalm.
One Psalm I come back to is Psalm 32. It is a Psalm of David and begins with an acknowledgement of God’s forgiveness.
“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.” ~Psalm 32:1-2
He then describes his personal struggle and confession. We know the peaks and valleys of David’s story and how much he rejoiced in God’s forgiveness and provision.
“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. 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.” ~Psalm 32:3-5
The next set of verses, still David speaking of himself in relation to God, are some of my favorites.
“Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them. You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.” ~Psalm 32:6-7
Living in an area that floods easily, this imagery is powerful to me. Our troubles may rise, but God will not allow them to overwhelm us. We may feel overwhelmed at times, but He doesn’t desert us. Rather, and this is my favorite verse, He surrounds us with songs of deliverance.
Verses 8-9 of this Psalm are interesting. We hear from God through David, it’s no longer David’s perspective.
“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.” ~Psalm 32:8-9
It’s a promise and an exhortation. God is essentially telling David: I am here with all you need, but you have to respond. You have to follow me. Don’t stubbornly go your own way.
David responds with praise.
Pick a portion of this Psalm, or another that God draws you to. Meditate on the promises, the images, or what you identify with. For me, I sometimes need to sit in the silence and visualize His angel armies, surrounding me on every side, singing with powerful voices because they have already won the battle.