Psalms 32: Reprise- Getting Real!
I often receive letters that say, “I just can’t feel God’s presence anymore”;” He doesn’t seem to be there for me”; “my depression, or situation is just too big for me to be able to see God and get any comfort from Him.” “I have no hope.”
This is a very sad situation! It is particularly sad because it is unnecessary. One of the attributes of God is that he is “omnipresent.” This means that He is everywhere; even in the ugliest, most painful, situation. David has been in dire situations! His enemies, even his own son, were trying to kill him. He had had so many family tragedies that it would be no surprise if he felt the way some people do, useless, hopeless, and depressed.
David’s decision to have an open, frank, and intimate relationship with his God is what made the difference in his situation! Let’s see what David says and does.
In verses 1-5, David acknowledges a behavior pattern that is very common. He starts out with the end result. Verses 1-2 David says “how blessed is the person whose transgressions are forgiven. Whose sin is covered? How blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity.” David is telling us how happy he is as a result of what God has done for Him. God has graciously removed the barrier between them. Many may ask how that could happen. I have asked God to do that, but He just ignores me!
Well verse 2b gives us a clue! “And in whose spirit there is no deceit!” What is this? “In whose spirit there is No deceit?” does that mean God wants us to be perfect? No! I don’t think that God can expect perfection out of sinful people! Otherwise why have Christ die? (Gal. 2:21) However, a person who chooses to believe lies over truth has defeated himself or herself. If you know the truth, you are accountable for that choice. (Ro. 1:17-23). It is a functional and expressive truth, not lies, that keeps the relationship with God healthy. When we choose to believe what is not true, and reject truth, we commit the sin of “unbelief.” Unbelief is different from doubt, because doubt questions, unbelief decides.
Verses 3-4 tell us what happens to those who withhold that acknowledgement of God’s truth, for whatever reason, David says his body wasted away. David had a physical response! Some have headaches, stomach aches, panic attacks, a constant need to sleep. Do any of these ailments sound familiar? David says the guilt manifested in withering away of his life and energy! Does that sound like clinical depression? You are right; it is! Clinical Depression is a new word, but it is the same condition. David was clinically depressed, by harboring bad thoughts about God; he had literally cut off all of his hope and vitality. He believed things that were not true! He used his “sickness” as an excuse for his own unbelief, and the guilt was literally killing him. Look what David does! David acknowledges God, instead of giving in to the feelings, and just committing spiritual and possibly physical suicide. “Ok, OK, uncle!” He says to God, “I give up!” Boy! That is hard to say isn’t it? David admits to God that it is NOT God’s fault that his own life stinks. While it is probably not all David’s fault either, David’s sinful response to his situation—a.k.a. “Stinkin’ Thinkin’” for all you recovery people—caused him to turn away from God! We need God as our very life, which means that disbelieving Him, rebelling against Him, committing sin “crimes” against Him, and perverted thinking actually hurts US! These things don’t harm God; they harm us.
How do we get to our “happy place”? How do we get our feelings back? What’s the answer to these questions? Verses 5-6 tell us to confess it don’t avoid it, don’t wait, you can’t afford it; choose God as your hope! Acknowledge His worth and don’t delay! In verses 5-7 David is honest with God! He tells God that he has NOT always believed that God is good, and that God has a good plan for David’s life. David confesses to God that his own feelings were more important to him—even though his feelings were based on lies—than the truth of God’s character (His goodness, faithfulness, loving-kindness, etc.).
David only wanted to believe that his life was worthless. David was being “wise in his own eyes,” because he felt that God owed him something that was not happening. It wasn’t that David didn’t think enough of himself, because that would result in his increasing need for God. David thought he knew better than God knows, and rejected God’s truth about David’s life. He did not want to trust God; rather, he wanted control. The truth is that David never had control. He just did not want to do things God’s way. Perhaps he thought that God might ask him to do something that he did not want to do. David was God’s “fair weather friend.” He was a “what have you done for me lately” kind of person. Then again, we all know, that attitude never works. God’s response to David’s truthfulness was amazing! In verses 8-11, Jesus says, I understand how you feel, “but do you love me?” David had been just like Peter, (Mt. 26:70) but just like with Peter, Jesus forgave him and promised to be with David all the time.
He promises to lead, counsel, protect, and love him, all the days of his life. What an awesome God. What a true and intimate person. What a loving, accepting friend. What an intimate relationship. What hope, what happiness, what joy! What are you waiting for?