Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty! When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, ‘I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.’ And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone. Therefore, let all the godly pray to you while there is still time, that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgment. For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory. (Psalm 32:1-7)
Located in the trees some thirty feet from our home sits a small, self-contained eight-by-ten foot room. We call it “the Nook,” and its purpose is to provide a quiet place to rest, read, and pray. One morning I noticed a nuthatch (a small bird with a short tail and narrow pointed beak) had squeezed through a slightly opened door and was desperately attempting to escape. It flew from end to end and side to side, but found no way out. When I approached the Nook to see if I could free it, the bird became more frantic, slamming into the windows, but of course to no avail. I stood still; the bird was tired and breathing rapidly, but ceased to fly with all its energy exhausted.
I slipped through the door and gently cupped my hands over the small, fatigued animal now perched on a window ledge. There was little struggle to escape my grasp, and once outside, I released the bird. Now free, it flew quickly to a limb of an oak tree for several seconds and then flew off into the wooded area behind our home.
Without Christ we are hopelessly trapped with attempts to escape being futile. God’s mercy and grace awaits, offering us freedom and forgiveness. As David illustrates in Psalm 32, when we realize our dilemma and surrender to his salvation and will, we become a soul set free.
Like the bird, I was hopelessly trapped in my sin with no possible way of escape on my own. When I confessed my sin and my helplessness to change my situation by my own efforts, you came and rescued me, covered me with grace, and delivered me. All glory to God: my help, my hope, my deliverer, my sustainer. Surrounding me are the songs of victory. Amen.
“and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.”