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