Psalms of Honesty and Truth
I teach science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in a hands-on, minds on way to fifth grade students and now middle school. We use demonstrations with every truth we teach. The kids touch and manipulate to see what goes on and how things work with every topic of discussion. Does air have mass? we ask when talking about the properties of air. The students then take turns pushing down on a soda bottle with a pumper cap on top. With each push, they are pumping in more air but also creating pressure in the bottle. After the experiment, we have to be very careful taking the cap off or it will shoot across the room, harming someone or destroying other equipment. For example, lesson learned, the cap took a nick from the Styrofoam ceiling one day. Smiling.
Why tell you about this “day in the life of Susan”? Because as I read David’s next song from The Message paraphrase, he reminds us the our sin, worry, guilt and everything else from our past gets pushed down and pushed down some more until pressure builds. We live our lives under this pressure. We make unwise decisions under pressure. David reminds us, “These things add up. Every one of us needs to pray…” David, like the rest of us, desires God’s peace and favor. SO, let it go, seriously. “Let it all out” advises the Psalmist. Give in, give up self, and give all your sins, worries, guilt to God through serious repentant (never want to go back there again) prayer to the Almighty.
What happens when we pray like this, looking up, seeking the face of God? The pressure is gone. “My guilt dissolved. My sin disappeared.” WHAT?! Dissolved?? Disappeared?? YES! Then peace overwhelms our souls and we live on higher ground, above all the world has to offer. We now live with hope, restored joy and renewed spirits!! Yes, I’ll have some of that!
Psalm 32, The Message (Pray this song and be blessed!)
Count yourself lucky, how happy you must be—
you get a fresh start,
your slate’s wiped clean.
2 Count yourself lucky—
God holds nothing against you
and you’re holding nothing back from him.
3 When I kept it all inside,
my bones turned to powder,
my words became daylong groans.
4 The pressure never let up;
all the juices of my life dried up.
5 Then I let it all out;
I said, “I’ll make a clean breast of my failures to God.”
Suddenly the pressure was gone—
my guilt dissolved,
my sin disappeared.
6 These things add up. Every one of us needs to pray;
when all hell breaks loose and the dam bursts
we’ll be on high ground, untouched.
7 God’s my island hideaway,
keeps danger far from the shore,
throws garlands of hosannas around my neck.
8 Let me give you some good advice;
I’m looking you in the eye
and giving it to you straight:
9 “Don’t be ornery like a horse or mule
that needs bit and bridle
to stay on track.”
10 God-defiers are always in trouble;
God-affirmers find themselves loved
every time they turn around.
11 Celebrate God.
All you honest hearts, raise the roof!
What do we learn? (Helpful, if you read from another translation and a way to explain “church words” to someone else under pressure.)
–David wrote this psalm after confessing to God his sins of adultery, murder, and deception (see 51; 2 Sam. 11–12). In 51:13, he vowed to share what he had learned from this costly experience, and this psalm is a part of the fulfillment of that promise.
–Forgive means to remove a burden.
–Sin means to miss the mark, not living up to the standards God set for us.
–transgression means “crossing the line”, rebelling against God.
–Iniquity means “twisted” and describes what happens to the inner character of the sinner.
–When we confess our sins, God cancels the debt, and it’s no longer on the books. As the children say, “It doesn’t count anymore.” Why? Because Jesus paid the debt on the cross and His blood cleanses the record and the heart of the offender. The forgiveness of the Lord is certainly something to sing about! It’s unfortunate that too many of God’s children take it for granted.
Dear Heavenly Father, My sins are gone. Dissolved. Wiped out. Slate clean. I’ve been set free from the pressure I was holding inside. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am redeemed! I do not take this for granted! Thank you for peace that comes through my cancelled debt of sin. It truly is well with my soul…
In Jesus Name, Amen. I believe.