I am working through Psalm 32 in an attempt to share it’s depth with you as well as help my endeavor to commit it to memory. Read my thoughts on the previous stanza here.
Therefore, let everyone who is godly pray to You in a time when You may be found;
Surely in a flood of great waters they will not reach him.
You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble;
You surround me with songs of deliverance.
I see a “therefore”… let’s see what it’s “there for”!
The prior stanzas speak about the blessing of forgiveness, the chastisement of the unrepentant, and the faithfulness of God to forgive. Now it’s talking about praying to God and relying on Him for deliverance. Does it seem like a subject change? I don’t believe so.
David just asserted that when one comes to God seeking forgiveness, forgiveness will be given. But then what? Are we caught up in the sky to sin no more? Does God impart holy Scotch Guard to our souls? If you are human, you know that sometime after being forgiven, sin will come knocking at the door again. If we have any maturity at all, we understand the peril our souls are in. I believe it is temptation and sin that is being described in this stanza in the imagery of calamity.
In light of this, it is interesting to note that the “godly” are not those who are capable of perfection, but those who know well enough to run to God when sin is preying on them (see Romans 12:9). After the last couple of years of tsunamis, Katrinas, and Gustavs, the reference to a “flood of great waters” is a little clearer to me. Think of those disasters where whole houses, cars, and people were just swept away. Now imagine a towering stone pillar on the coast of this onslaught, impervious and unphased by the cascading storm surge and the harrowing winds. Would you rather be in the stone fortress… or in a pup tent on the beach?
That’s the difference between relying on God for the strength to withstand temptation and relying on ourselves for the strength to resist. God is our hiding place from evil. He will preserve us from temptation.
I was initially puzzled by the phrase “in a time when You may be found”. That almost sounds restrictive, but I think it’s probably rhetorical (or ironic). Deuteronomy 4:7 clears it up:
“For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as is the Lord our God whenever we call on Him?”
And when David says that God surrounds him with songs of deliverance, what are we being delivered from? Sin! We are delivered from the power of sin in our lives! In using words like “hiding place”, and “surround me”, David helps convey the truth that the nearer we are to God, the less likely we will sin. The closer our walk with Christ, the weaker the grip of the flesh on our souls (Galatians 5:16).
I love the imagery of a song because it reminds me that forgiving sin is not a monotonous transaction for God. True, Christ suffered greatly in securing the gift of salvation, but He rejoices just as greatly in administering that gift. Just like the father celebrating at the return of the prodigal son, heaven rejoices when forgiveness is given.
It makes me wonder, what does God’s singing voice sound like? I’m sure it will be the sweetest sound I’ve ever heard; I can’t wait to enjoy it.
Come back soon to read about the next stanza of Psalm 32.