1Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
2Happy are those to whom the LORD imputes no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
3While I kept silence, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long.
4For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.
5Then I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not hide my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the guilt of my sin.
6Therefore let all who are faithful offer prayer to you; at a time of distress, the rush of mighty waters shall not reach them.
7You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with glad cries of deliverance.
8I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
9Do not be like a horse or a mule, without understanding, whose temper must be curbed with bit and bridle, else it will not stay near you.
10Many are the torments of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds those who trust in the LORD.
11Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart.
Yesterday I raised the question, how do we find again the joy of our first love for God? Today, Ps. 32 reminds us of the first step toward renewing relationship: Confession of our sins.
Too often we are like the horse or mule referred to in verse 9. One of my early experiences in riding was on a mule at my grandparent’s farm. Wooley walked along quite happily while my father led him away from the barn, but as soon as we turned around and headed home, he took off. No amount of shouting and pulling on the halter was going to stop him from getting back to his oats in the barn. After that, a bridle with bit was used to gain greater control over the obstinate animal.
I know that I am often more focused on ‘getting to the oats’ than in listening to the voice of the Master. It seems easier to rush ahead toward what I think is the goal, rather than wait for the guiding hand. Then I need to stop and confess that, like Wooley, I am being obstinate and wanting my way rather than God’s way. When we confess we allow ourselves to be ‘bridled’ by God’s Love.
God always forgives us and restores us to right relationship. We just have to ask. Once we confess that we have failed and cannot succeed on our own, our relationship with God is based on trust and love rather than on our attempts to ‘get it right’. Don’t we want to feel that we are in loving relationship with God rather than at odds with the One who created us?
The psalmist knows confession has freed him and that instruction and “steadfast love surrounds those who trust in the Lord.”
Can you take the first step back into right relationship with God by opening your heart to God’s love in confession? One prayer that helps remind me of the things I need to confess is one I’ve had in my collection for many years:
Let me be a little kinder,
Let me be a little blinder
To the faults about me;
Let me praise a little more,
Let me be, when I am weary;
Just a little bit more cheery,
Let me serve a little better
Those that I am striving for.
Let me be a little braver
When temptation bids me waver,
Let me strive a little harder
To be all that I should be;
Let me be a little meeker to the neighbor who is weaker;
Let me think more of my neighbor and a little less of me.
For your journal: Sit quietly and think about how you are like a horse needing a bridle to be guided.
When are some times you have been more anxious to ‘get to the oats’ than listen to God?
Write a prayer confessing your stubbornness and desire to change.