Psalms, Book 1, Psalms 32-34

Psalm 32‑34  •  7 min. read  •  grade level: 6
There is another want of the soul still deeper than the distress we have seen, deeper than death; the need that transgression be forgiven, that sin be covered by God, and that Jehovah should impute no iniquity. Thus only is guile effaced from the spirit. This is now prophetically announced; for it is not actually enjoyed till they look on their pierced Messiah: see Zech. 12 xiii. Self-justification on the contrary hinders all blessing.
Psalm 32
“ Of David: instruction. Blessed the one forgiven [as to] transgression, covered [as to] sin. Blessed the man to whom Jehovah imputeth not iniquity, and in his spirit guile is not. When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day. For by day and by night Thy hand was heavy upon me; my moisture hath been changed into the droughts of summer. Selah. I acknowledged my sin unto Thee, and mine iniquity I covered not. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto Jehovah, and Thou, forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah. Because of this shall every godly one pray unto Thee at a time of finding: surely in a flood of great waters unto him they will not draw near. Thou art a hiding place for me; Thou preservest me from distress; Thou surroundest me with shouts of deliverance. Selah. I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way wherein thou shalt go; I will counsel—Mine eye upon thee. Be ye not as a horse, as a mule, [in which] there is no understanding: with bit and bridle his mouth is to be held in lest one come near unto thee. Many sorrows [hath] the wicked; but he that trusteth in Jehovah, mercy shall surround him. Be glad in Jehovah and rejoice, ye righteous; and shout for joy, all ye upright of heart” (vers. 1-11).
It is indeed an “instruction.” The Jew had long resisted genuine confession without which as there is no truth of heart, no integrity, so also there can be no sense of divine forgiveness, though of course all were vain without Messiah made sin on the cross. But at length he does confess, and Jehovah forgives plenteously, verses 3, 4 showing how painfully he was forced by grace to that point. If verse 7 gives the heart's consequent expression of confidence in Jehovah, verse 8 is the consoling and strengthening answer. Verses 9, 10 are an exhortation which the assured Jew addresses to all around, closing with a call to the righteous and upright in heart to rejoice and be glad in Jehovah. We know how the apostle in Rom. 4 was led to use the introductory verses in the most unrestricted way to illustrate the gospel of God. Its blessedness through Christ dead and risen comes on all that believe. It is in reserve for Israel in the latter day, when they bowing to Jesus at length confess their sins.
Psalm 33
This is clearly a pendant on its predecessor and begins where it left off, carrying on the joy and praise.
“ Shout for joy, ye righteous in Jehovah: praise [is] comely for the upright. Give ye thanks unto Jehovah with the harp; with a psaltery of ten strings sing ye praises unto Him. Sing unto Him a new song; be skilful to play with shouting. For Jehovah's word [is] upright, and all His works in truth. He loveth righteousness and judgment. The earth is full of Jehovah's mercy. By Jehovah's word heavens were made and by breath of His mouth all their host. He gathereth together as the heap waters of the sea; He putteth deeps in storehouses. All the earth shall fear because of Jehovah; all inhabitants of the world shall be afraid because of Him. For He said, and it was; He commanded, and it stood. Jehovah hath made void the Gentiles' counsel; He hath broken the devices of the peoples. Jehovah's counsel shall stand forever, His heart's devices to all generations. Blessed the nation, whose God [is] Jehovah, the people He hath chosen to Himself for an inheritance. From the heavens Jehovah beheld; He saw all the sons of Man. From the place of His dwelling He looked upon all the inhabitants of the earth, He Who formeth their heart together, Who considereth all their works. The king is not saved by the multitude of a host; a mighty man is not delivered by much strength. Vanity [is] the horse for safety, and by greatness of his might will he not deliver. Behold, Jehovah's eye [is] toward those that fear Him, to those that hope in His mercy, to deliver their soul from death and to keep them alive in the famine. Our soul hath waited for Jehovah; He [is] our help and our shield. For in Him our heart shall rejoice, for in the name of His holiness have we trusted. Thy mercy, O Jehovah, shall be upon us according as we have hoped in Thee” (vers. 1-22).
When deliverance, and especially of an inward sort, is known, joy flows. Jehovah in word and deed is manifest and celebrated. The nations, once dreaded, are nothing before Him. Blessed is the nation whose God is Jehovah, Whose counsel alone stands when theirs is made void. He saw all, when it seemed not. His eye is toward those that feared Him and hoped in His mercy, as the remnant did. He would have His people happy in the knowledge of Himself; and Israel will know Him in displays of power on their behalf here below. We ought to know our God still better, viewing the cross of Christ in the light of His heavenly glory. Compare John 15:9-149As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 10If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. 11These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. 12This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. 13Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. (John 15:9‑14).
Psalm 341
This again is a distinct advance on the preceding psalm, beautiful and seasonable as it is. For here it is the heart rising from the most abject circumstances, if we heed the title, to bless Jehovah at every season; as the afflicted are expected to join when they hear. It is full of encouragement founded on proved deliverance.
“ Of David, in his changing his judgment (i. e., feigning madness) before Abimelech, who drove him away, and he went. I will bless Jehovah at all times, His praise continually in my mouth. In Jehovah shall my soul glory; the afflicted (or poor) shall hear and rejoice. Magnify ye Jehovah with me, and let us extol His name together. I sought Jehovah, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked unto Him, and they shone, and their faces were not confounded. This afflicted one called, and Jehovah heard; and out of all his distresses He saved him. Jehovah's angel encampeth around those that fear Him, and delivereth them. Taste ye and see that Jehovah [is] good: blessed the man that trusteth in Him. Fear Jehovah, ye His holy ones; for there is no want to those that fear Him. Young lions have been in want and hungered; but those that seek Jehovah shall not lack any good thing. Come, ye sons, hearken unto me I will teach you fear of Jehovah. Who [is] the man that desireth life, loving days that he may see good? Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. Jehovah's eyes [are] upon the righteous, and His ears toward their cry. Jehovah's face [is] against those that do evil, to cut off their remembrance from the earth. They cried, and Jehovah heard, and from all their distresses He delivered them. Jehovah [is] near to those of a broken heart, and He saveth those of a contrite spirit. Many [are] the distresses of a righteous one, and out of them all Jehovah delivereth him, keeping all his bones; not one of them hath been broken. Evil shall destroy a wicked one; and those that hate a righteous one shall incur guilt (or condemnation). Jehovah redeemeth the soul of His servants, and none of those that trust in Him shall incur guilt” (ver. 1-23).
It may be noticed that vers. 6-10 appear to be, not so much a continuation of what inspired David had been drawing from his experience, as an episode of the Spirit of Christ confirming and deepening all. From ver. 11 The psalmist pursues his task with a heart now the more inviting others to join the chorus of praise. Ver. 20, we know, was literally true of the Lord, though Ex. 12 seems rather the scripture referred to in John 19
1. This is the second alphabetical composition yet more regular than Psa. 25, the first verse or title not forming part of the series. For one letter omitted, another is appended.