The Word Made Fresh
(Of David. A hymn.)
1Rejoice, all of you who have been forgiven of your transgressions –
For your sin is now hidden.
2Rejoice, all of you on whom the LORD sees no sinfulness,
and in whom there is no deceitfulness.
3As long as I did not acknowledge it
my body grew weaker and weaker
as I groaned inwardly day by day.
4But day and night your hand was heavy upon me,
weighing me down as if it were the middle of summertime.
5Then I confessed my sin to you,
and did not try to hide my mistakes.
I prayed, “I confess my sins to you, LORD,”
and you forgave me all my guiltiness.
6So, let everyone who believes in you pray to you
while you are willing to hear.
Then, when troubles come, they will not be overwhelmed.
7You are my hiding place.
You protect me from troubles
and surround me with songs of rescue.
8“I will be your instructor,” you said.
“I will show you the path you should take.
I will guide you and watch over you.
9So, don’t be like a horse or a mule that can’t understand
but must be controlled by bit and bridle to make them respond.”
10Wrongdoers will face many problems,
but those who trust in God are surrounded by God’s unfailing
11So, celebrate the LORD! Rejoice, all of you who are faithful!
And let all of you whose hearts are right sing!
Superscription: of the psalms attributed to David, this is the 29th. It is called a Maskil, along with 12 others (42, 44, 45, 52-55, 74, 78, 88, 89 and 142). The word also appears at 47:7, and there it is usually simply translated “psalm.” So far no one has been able to discover any common element in these 13 psalms, and so a clear meaning of “maskil” escapes us.
In Christian tradition this psalm has been included in the 7 “penitential” psalms, along with 6, 38, 51, 102, 130, and 143.
1-2: The psalm is a teaching psalm about forgiveness. The elimination of guilt is indeed a blessed state.
3-4: As long as our sins are unconfessed, they gnaw away at us.
5-7: Confession brings release from the tyranny of guilt.
8-9: These verses may be taken as the words God might speak to the penitent.
10-11: Wicked people are indeed tormented by their wickedness, always wondering when they will be discovered, but those who trust in God have nothing to hide.
Confession is indeed good for the soul; it removes the stain of wrongdoing, takes away the fear of being found out, and restores our relationship with God. Try ending every day by confessing your sins. You’ll sleep better.