This morning in the assembly where I was preaching, I spoke on Psalm 32 for the worship message. Psalm 32 tells us of seven great spiritual needs, which are fulfilled in our Lord Jesus Christ. What are these seven spiritual needs?
First, the need for forgiveness. Blessed is the man whose sin is forgiven, 32:1. In the Old Testament, the sin was covered by the blood on the altar. But in the New Testament, sin is take away (John 1:29), out of sight, out of mind. God says, I will remember your sins no more, Heb 8.12.
Secondly, the need for righteousness. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, 32:2. We have been declared to be righteous in God’s sight. When Christ went to the cross, He took our sin upon Himself and gave us His righteousness (2 Cor 5.21). Righteousness is a free gift of God, Rom 5:17. We have been clothed with the garment of salvation, the robe of righteousness, Isa 61.10. We are clothed with the righteousness of Christ. Hence none can accuse us, Rom 8:33; it is God who has justified us. There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, Rom 8:1.
Thirdly, the need for purity. Blessed is the man in whose spirit there is no guile (crookedness), 32:2b. The blood of Christ has purged our spirit (conscience), according to Heb 9:14. We have been given a new heart and a new spirit, Ezek 36:26. When we are born again, we receive a new nature, the divine nature. We become like a little child; in our new spirit there is no guile.
Fourthly, the need for humility – which results in confession of sin. If we confess our sins, God is faithful to forgive us, 1 John 1:9. David refers to the sin (adultery) which he committed with Bathsheba; this also led to the murder of Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband. David did not confess his sin for a whole year. He says, in Psalm 32:3-5, that when he lived in sin, he felt his body wasting away; he groaned within; he felt the heavy hand of God upon him; he felt dried up within. Only after Nathan the prophet came to him, did David confess his sin. And he experienced a great relief. David is teaching us not to hide our sins, but to confess them and obtain forgiveness. He is writing this psalm as a humble and broken man. It is a ‘maskil’; he is instructing his hearers.
Fifthly, the need for protection. That means we need to pray, 32:6. This is the day of grace, and prayer is the way to obtain grace. God is our hiding place, our refuge from the attacks of the enemy. Sometimes the enemy comes in like a flood, 32:6b. God is our refuge and strength, Psalm 46:1. He not only preserves us, but he delivers us. In the end, we come out of our trial with ‘songs of deliverance’, 32:7b.
Sixthly, the need for guidance, 32:8. God says He will show us the way we need to go, Isa 30:21. He will guide us with His eye. We need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, listen to His gentle warnings. We should not be rash like the horse, or stubborn like the mule. Rather, we should be led by the Spirit. Self-control is the great fruit of the Holy Spirit, Gal 5:23.
Seventhly, the need for faith, 32:10b. David sums up everything in the great need for absolute trust in God. Faith opens the channel for grace and mercy.
We need to remember this, however – that faith goes with humility. We need to be broken, in order to worship God. Psalm 32 is a good psalm for worship.
The psalm ends with a wonderful note of joy. It is a threefold note of joy – Be glad, rejoice, shout for joy! We are the righteous, the saints of God, having been justified by faith, justified by the blood of Jesus, justified by grace. We are now ‘upright in heart’ (not crooked and devious, as we were earlier). If we are truly humble and broken, we can rejoice in heart-felt worship of the Lord.
The message was short; only half-an-hour, inclusive of translation. There was a great spirit of worship. Many worshipped individually, through words; and a few through songs. I believe many in the congregation understood the Psalm, and delighted in knowing the reasons to worship God. Remember this great verse: “My God shall supply all your needs through the riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:19. Those riches are the riches of His grace. Those needs are not only the seven great spiritual needs mentioned in Psalm 32, but include even our material needs, emotional needs and every kind of need. Our God is El Shaddai. He is the All-Sufficient Christ.