Psalm 32 – Songs of Deliverance

Have you ever decided, whether because of anger at God or a sinful attitude, to not talk to God? to act as if God didn't exist? David talks about this in Psalm 32, a psalm about confession and trust.


The central verse and central theme can be found at verse 6.

Therefore let all the faithful pray to you
    while you may be found;
surely the rising of the mighty waters
    will not reach them.

Some scholars see a menorah pattern in this psalm. A menorah pattern occurs when a psalm has seven sections that show parallelism in thought and/or structure going from the outside pair and working inward.

Happy is the forgiven one (verses 1-2)
Sad is the one who doesn't confess (verses 3-4)
God forgives (verse 5)
God protects (verse 6)
God delivers (verse 7)
Wise is the one who follows God (verses 8-9)
Happy is the one who trusts God (verses 10-11)

Now lets take a look at each section.

Happy Is the Forgiven One

Psalm 32:1-2

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven

David rejoices in the blessing of knowing his sins are forgiven. This is a gift from God and a demonstration of His mercy and grace. Although David lived before the time of Christ, he still recognized that forgiveness was a gift from God available through His covenant promises. Today we have the added benefit of knowing about the death and resurrection of Christ that has made God's forgiveness available to all who come to Him.

Sad Is the One Who Doesn't Confess

Psalm 32:3-4

For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away

When David refused to confess his sins He recognized the heavy hand of God upon his life. When we turn from God we find ourselves alone and the weight of our sin drags us down. But there is a very easy solution.

God Forgives

Psalm 32:5

Then I acknowledged my sin to you ... And you forgave the guilt of my sin.

Once David confessed his sin he found forgiveness. Only one thing keeps us from receiving forgiveness from the guilt of sin - our stubborn refusal to admit our sin. Confession renews our relationship with God. As long as we cherish sin and refuse to admit it to God, a wall of rebellion remains between us and God. Forgiveness is always a two way street. God offers forgiveness to all, but, until we come to God and confess, the barrier remains.

This is also true in our relationship with others. We should be like God and offer loving forgiveness to all who hurt us, but a full restoration of fellowship is not truly possible until they accept their part in the hurt and accept our forgiveness. We can always forgive and let go of the anger and sin, but we cannot always restore the lost fellowship.

God Protects

Psalm 32:6

Here we come to the central verse which in Hebrew poetry is often also the central idea. This section begins with the word "therefore," so lets look back and follow the argument.

  • It is a joy to be forgiven
  • Refusal to confess leads to sadness
  • God offers forgiveness to all who confess
  • Therefore, we should seek God in prayer

The argument is clear and compelling. Why resist God when He offers so much?

Therefore let all the faithful pray to you
    while you may be found;
surely the rising of the mighty waters
    will not reach them.

David adds two other key concepts to this short verse. First, people should seek God while He may be found. This suggests that God may not always call to us or possibly that we may no longer hear that call because of our calloused heart. Don't ignore the call of God. Life is too short to miss out on the blessings available to those who turn to God.

The second thing David mentions is that God protects those who seek Him from the rising waters. Waters throughout scripture represent chaos and trouble. Confession leads to more than forgiveness. It also brings us under God's care and protection. Which leads us to verse 7.

God Delivers

Psalm 32:7

you ... surround me with songs of deliverance.

In God we find a place where we are protected and delivered. What a beautiful picture the psalmist paints. God surrounds us with songs that declare our deliverance.

I love this picture. There are times in life when I feel overwhelmed by the troubles and stress of life. The waters rise up to engulf me. But in the midst of our trouble, God is singing songs of deliverance - surrounding us with the sound of His soothing voice - calling out to us to trust Him.

Wise Is the One Who Follows God

Psalm 32:8-9

Verse 8 can be read two different ways. Either God is speaking and telling us that He will guide us and instruct us or, more likely, David is still talking and letting us know that he has great advice for us. I believe it is the second reading that makes the most sense since David is the primary speaker throughout the psalm. And here is his advice:

Do not be like the horse or the mule,
    which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle

Another wonderful image. Don't be dumb like a donkey! Come to God freely. Don't make God drag you around like a dumb animal. Sometimes we act like the donkey. Digging in our heels and pulling away as God seeks to lead us to a better place. But we will not come because we think we know better. Be wise and and follow God.

Happy Is the One Who Trusts God

Psalm 32:10-11

sing, all you who are upright in heart!

Why should we sing? Because

God's unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in Him.

One final powerful image. God so loves us that it is like being surrounded in a sea of love. No longer are we surrounded by the rising waters but instead we find ourselves surrounded by the songs and love of God. Once we realize this, our hearts well up with joy.


Confession and trust lead to rejoicing and singing.

The choice is simple. Do you want to live under the fear and stress of rejecting God or enjoy the joy and fellowship of following Him?

Jerry Wyrick

This post is part of a series on the Psalms.

by Jerry Wyrick, President of Worship Arts Conservatory

Posted in General Worship, Personal Worship, Psalms and tagged , , .