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.
Many are the sorrows of the wicked
But he who trusts in the Lord, lovingkindness shall surround him.
Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous ones;
And shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart.
This is a very humiliating psalm. If you read it over and over and meditate on how it applies to your own life, you realize a couple things about the way things are:
– You sin
– You sin a lot
– God had to do some incredible and painful things to fix what we messed up
– God is perfect, holy, gracious and merciful
– When juxtaposed to God’s attributes, we are flawed, impure, malevolent, and spiteful
In the contemporary world, such humiliation leads to sadness, despair, or depression. See “humiliate” on dictionary.com. But strangely enough, in God’s worldview, humiliation on our part brings joy! How does this work?
Have you ever tried to make a tool do something it was never intended to do? I’ve been a homeowner for a little over a year and had many situations like this. I needed to carve away some of the trim in some places along our floor and went down to Lowes to get a chisel and mallet. I spent a lot of time pounding, mangling, and pretty much mutilating my trim and become quite frustrated. I couldn’t understand why this would be so difficult. A couple months later, I needed to another project that required a chisel and while in Lowes again, I noticed that there apparently are MASONRY chisels and WOOD chisels. One cuts rock and stone, the other cuts wood. I bought a wood chisel and it was amazing! I was cutting through wood like butter! I was so excited, I went looking for anything to use my new tool on… and thus created some new renovation projects for myself.
My point is that the universe and everything in it was made to glorify God. When they don’t do that, it just isn’t right. When we rightly humiliate ourselves and recognize God’s supremacy over us, our true purpose is found and joy ensues.
God is the only thing that is constant and faithful. If we seek happiness in anything other than the Lord, we will be disappointed. Case in point, the current financial crisis. I work at a bank and recently had an interaction with a customer that was freaking out about moving his money around to take the most advantage of the FDIC insurance. While I don’t want to debate his financial savvy or strategies here, I do want to comment on his mindset. This man clearly saw in this economic turmoil a threat to his safety, his happiness, even his survival. After speaking with him, I was incredibly sad that he had apparently put his trust in his income and savings. If we trust in our checkbooks rather than Christ, we’re in store for a bigger fall than Lehman Brothers could ever imagine.
Thankfully, David gives us the greatest encouragement at the end of this psalm. God will surround us with His lovingkindness. That word is a sermon in itself… and it just so happens Ryan recently preached it! It was quite good; maybe we can get him to post a summary here soon (hint, hint!).
Instead of moping over our worthlessness, we are to rejoice in God’s worthiness. We’re to shout for joy! Frankly, if we are moping, we really are still focusing on ourselves too much… which would be selfishness and pride… which would be sin. So cheer up!
Hopefully you’ve found this study of psalm 32 useful or helpful. I have found this chapter of God’s word speaking to me for the last couple of months, and I hope it has a positive work on your heart as well. The more we realize the importance of releasing our sins and seeking forgiveness, the more effective we will be in God’s kingdom.
By the way, check out the entry for “humiliation” in the famous 1828 edition of Webster’s Dictionary. Interesting.
God bless you!