URC Daily Devotions 28th January

Psalm 32

How blessed the one who has received
forgiveness for his sin!
Whose sins are covered from God’s face,
Whose debt is cancelled in God’s grace;
there’s no deceit in him.

When I kept silent, all my bones
with groaning were worn out.
Beneath your hand I felt entrapped
Both day and night; my strength was sapped
as in a summer drought.

Then I laid bare my sin to you,
the guilt that lay within.
I said, “O LORD, I have transgressed”—
And you forgave when I confessed;
you pardoned all my sin.

So let the godly pray to you
while you are to be found.
Surely when waves are sweeping past
And mighty waters rising fast,
you’ll keep them safe and sound.

You are my hiding-place, O LORD,
my true security.
You keep me safe in troubled days;
You circle me with joyful praise
when you have set me free.

I will instruct you by my word
and guide you in my way.
My counsel I will give to you;
My eye will keep your path in view
and watch you day by day.

Do not be like the horse or mule
which cannot understand;
They must be curbed and kept in check
As bit and bridle turn their neck,
to go where you command.

The wicked’s woes will much increase;
but those who trust the LORD
His cov’nant mercy will surround.
You righteous, let your joy abound
and praise the LORD your God.

You can hear a Free Church of Scotland congregation sing this to the tune Orlington here (from the fifth Stanza)

Reflection

Relief – what a relief to receive words of reassurance after the dire messages from Amos, as yet relieved by very little hope. Yes, this is a penitential Psalm but one that speaks with assurance of God’s forgiveness and pardon graciously given to those who admit where they have gone wrong, confess their sin.
          
But how ready are we to be honest with ourselves, and so honest with God, about where we have failed to be the people we could and should have been? Some years ago I read that George Macleod, the Founder of the Iona Community, when Moderator of the Kirk’s General Assembly led a Prayer of Confession which, in effect, said, “Lord, we confess our sins, and we confess that we are so self-satisfied and blind to our sins that we cannot think of anything to confess.” But we are not like that …
          
Of course, there are those who are so aware of where they have gone wrong, hurting others and failing God, that they feel they can never be forgiven no matter how earnestly they confess their sins. But we are not like that …
          
We want to identify with the Psalmist who in this very personal meditation is not complaining about external enemies but addressing his own issues and rejoicing that the Lord is our true security, circling us with joyful praise. In the sixth stanza (“I will instruct you by my word…”) we hear God’s reassurance and promise of guidance.
          
So, whether we find it difficult to acknowledge where we have gone wrong, or are so conscious of our sins that we cannot forgive ourselves, this Psalm offers us confident assurance that as Jesus told disciples, “the truth will set you free.”

 

Prayer

Most gracious God,
you know us better
than we know ourselves,
and still love us.
Help us to be honest with you
and with ourselves
so that we may receive your forgiveness
and know the joy
of your acceptance and guidance,
trusting you in good times and bad.
In the power of him who sets us free, Jesus Christ, our Saviour: Amen

Today’s Writer

The Rev’d Julian Macro, Retired Minister, Member of Verwood URC, Dorset.

Bible Version

 

New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved

Copyright © 2018 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.

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