THE GUIDANCE OF GOD

    Send by email

    [Psalms:32:1-11]

    Lesson No.: 
    239
    Class: 
    Senior
    Memory Verse: 

    “Many sorrows shall be to the wicked:  but he that trusteth in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about”  (Psalm 32:10).

    Cross References: 

    I The Blessed, Happy State of the Godly
    1. Forgiveness for transgressions (To transgress means, literally, doing that which is prohibited) brings genuine happiness, [Psalms:32:1]; [Psalms:1:1-6]; [Isaiah:43:25]; [Isaiah:44:22]; [Isaiah:55:1-3], [Isaiah:55:6-7]; [Jeremiah:31:34]; [Jeremiah:50:20]; [1John:1:9]; [Romans:8:1].
    2. The covering of sin (To sin means, literally, missing the mark, or, not doing what is commanded.) also brings genuine happiness, [Psalms:32:1]; [1John:1:7]; [1John:2:1-2]; [1John:3:5], [1John:3:8]; [Leviticus:17:11]; [Hebrews:8:12].
    3. When iniquity (literally, perversion, or, turned out of its proper course or situation) is not imputed to a man he is genuinely happy, [Psalms:32:2]; [Micah:7:18-20]; [Hebrews:8:12].
    4. Freedom from guile (Guile means, literally, deceit or fraud.) brings genuine happiness, [Psalms:32:2]; [Psalms:101:7]; [John:1:47]; [1 Peter:2:22]; [Revelation:14:5].
    5. Remorse that was beyond tears, and strong conviction for sin, brought contrition and full pardon to David, [Psalms:32:3-5]; [Psalms:51:1-19].

    II Present, and Eternal Blessings Accruing to the Godly
    1. The godly will seek for God’s blessings and for His divine provision and protection, [Psalms:32:6]; [Habakkuk:2:4]; [Hebrews:10:38].
    2. God will protect His own, [Psalms:32:6-7]; [Psalms:91:1-16].
    3. Guidance is promised to all who follow God, [Psalms:32:8]; [Psalms:25:9]; [Psalms:48:14]; [Psalms:73:24]; [John:14:26]; [John:16:13-15]; [Isaiah:30:21].
    4. The obstinate and self-willed person does not have the assurances given to the godly, [Psalms:32:9-10]; [Proverbs:3:32]; [2 Peter:2:9-17].
    5. The godly will, therefore, have a full heart of gratitude for the benefits he receives, [Psalms:32:11]; [Psalms:103:1-22].

    Notes: 

    The Righteousness Which Is of Faith
     It is recorded that Martin Luther was once asked which of the Psalms were the best, and that his answer was, “The Pauline Psalms.” Amazed that an authority like Luther would attribute some of the ancient Psalms to the pen of the Apostle Paul, the questioner asked what was meant by this answer. Luther is said to have replied that he called the Penitential Psalms --[ Psalms:32:1-11], [Psalms:51:1-19], [Psalms:130:1-8], and [Psalms:143:1-12] -- the Pauline Psalms, because they resembled so closely the writings of the Apostle, in setting forth the truth that the forgiveness of sins comes, without the Law and without works, to the man who believes. He added that these Psalms teach, as did Paul in his New Testament writings, that no man can rightly boast of his own righteousness; the forgiveness of sin that he receives is through God’s mercy and not through any personal merit of his own.

    This Psalm opens with the statement that the person who has been delivered from all evil is blessed, or truly happy. The Psalmist has analysed and summarized the evil of our natures and of our outward acts in the four classifications seen here, which are transgressions, sins, iniquity, and guile. He states that the man whose transgressions are forgiven through the unmerited favour and mercy of God; the man whose sin is covered, being cast by God into the depths of the sea -- not to float there as a cork, but to sink into complete obscurity; the man who is so changed by the regenerating power of God that his former iniquity will not be imputed to him, the man whose former guile and deceit is removed and whose heart is filled with righteousness instead -- that man, David states, is indeed a happy man!

    Some have doubted that God could, or would, make a change in the nature, or grant an experience from sinfulness to righteousness that could be recognised and retained by a person. Unfortunately, there are many who would thus limit the power of God and who would reduce His plan to their own convenience. But God’s plan remains unchanged!

    God’s salvation delivers from the guilt of sin, the power of sin, and the penalty for sin. This wonderful work of grace will naturally bring a state of happiness, because the remorse of sin is gone, the guilt is taken away, and the “certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation” is replaced by the “great peace” that is given those who love God’s law. The world, and all that it can offer a person, cannot duplicate, or even approximate, such happiness.

    True Happiness, One of the Assurances of Salvation
    One cannot doubt whether his sins are forgiven but that immediately, unless his conscience is seared with a hot iron, the very thought of sin will cause a great fear to arise in him. The fear of eternal death and the horror of God’s judgment will come to his remembrance. There is most certainly no happiness in such a state.

    There is no true happiness but that which is enjoyed, and happiness cannot be enjoyed unless it is felt. But happiness cannot be felt unless one knows he is in possession of it. Therefore, any doubting of the remission of sins is contrary to true happiness; and the presence of true happiness is one of the assurances of the saving grace of God.

    David had sinned. He had felt the weight of conviction and God’s judgment upon him and had repented of his sin. We read here that God had forgiven him: In this Psalm David tells us that the joy of salvation was restored to him when the pardoning grace of God was manifested to¬ward him once again. David had previously prayed for a restoration of that joy, and we can see from a comparison of that prayer for forgiveness (Psalm 51) and this Psalm, that the prayer for the restoration of the joy of his salvation was actually a prayer for the restoration of his salvation. Some will say that David never lost his salvation, being only temporarily deprived of its joy because of his unwise acts. But this Psalm, as well as our study of his prayer for forgiveness, proves that he was praying as a man without a present assurance or hope in God. He was lost -- eternally lost -- without this forgiveness for which he was praying. And he was restored to the privileges of the adoption and inheritance of the just, only when it was granted to him.

    The Blessings That Follow Repentance
    Having been restored to God’s favour, David came into the inheritance of the just. Knowing the blessings that would come to “every one that is godly,” he did not hesitate to pray that God would make him a partaker of those blessings. God is pleased when we trust Him. He has said that, “the just shall live by his faith” [Habakkuk:2:4]). He wants us to depend upon Him. He wants us to lean heavily upon Him. He wants us to put our whole trust in Him.

    Our blessings from God increase immeasurably as we realise more of our own insufficiency and the full sufficiency of God. Those who come to the Mercy Seat oftenest are those who are blest the most frequently. Those who place their confidence and hope in the Eternal One are those who benefit the most from His infinite wisdom and providence.

    There is ample provision for our physical necessities in the Divine Storehouse. There is healing for our infirmities in the Blood that was shed and through the Body that was smitten for us. There is wisdom and guidance for the problems and perplexities of life in the blessed Comforter. The Word of God will be opened to those who seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit. There is faith to be had from the true perception of the Word of God. There is an eternal hope given to the follower of the Lowly Nazarene. There is comfort and peace for everyone who comes to the understanding Father. There is protection and safety for all who come under the protecting Wing and who are followed by the loving Eye. These and many other blessings come to those who put their confidence and trust in the One who has said that He would never leave us nor forsake us.

    “His, oath, His covenant, His blood,
    Support me in the whelming flood;
    When all around my soul gives way,
    He is all my hope and stay.”

    But there is a warning note sounded in the Psalm, for God knows the frailty of human nature and the limitations of our frame of dust. The phrase, “Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding,” tells us that there are those who will not be led, who will not submit to the leadership and will of God. These people enjoy few, if any, of the sublime blessings that the righteous receive. “Many sorrows shall be to the wicked” is the most that can be given them in consolation for the difficulties they continually face and endure. But there is little consolation in the easily recognised fact that such sorrows are the result of self-will, stubbornness, and selfish desires. On the other hand, the righteous person has the eternal assurance and consolation that “mercy shall compass him about.”

    Praise and Gratitude
    Why should not the righteous man sing? Why should not the redeemed person praise God? Why shouldn’t he be happy? The answer to these questions is plain and can be seen in the lives of Christians of all ages.

    Music was born in the worship of God. The singing of songs came into being and was developed in the praise of God. True fellowship is found only where unity prevails and where hearts beat as one. The happiest family circles have been those where God has been a welcome Guest. The truest friendships are those that have been activated and prospered by God and His service. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above” [James:1:17]). The “floods of great waters... shall not come nigh unto him” who puts his trust in God -- the man or woman who knows the righteousness that is of faith.

    “Be glad in the LORD, and rejoiced ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.”

    Questions: 

    1. Define the four classifications of evil mentioned in the opening verses of our lesson text.
    2. Tell what provisions God has made to free us from each phase of evil mentioned in these verses.
    3. How does this Psalm refute the popular doctrine of “Eternal Security”?
    4. What blessings are promised to the godly?
    5. What warning is given in the latter part of the Psalm?
    6. What is promised to the wicked?
    7. Contrast the hope of the righteous with that of the wicked.
    8. What is the basis for praise to God?
    9. Why did Luther can this Psalm one of the “Pauline Psalms”?
    10. What great Gospel truth is taught here and in Psalm 51 that is common with much of the New Testament writings?