Psalm 32:6-7 “Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found; surely when the might waters rise, they will not reach him. You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.”
“What do I really need?” I start thinking about that question when others ask what to get me for Christmas. The answer isn’t always helpful. My need for most things has been satisfied. I might like a flat panel TV, but it is hardly a need, and I know few people buying gifts that cost so much anyway. I need to spend more time with my family. I need to make more evangelism calls. But those aren’t things you can get for Christmas.
David describes a need we all share in Psalm 32. More than anything else, I need forgiveness for my sins. Without it I would be a goner, condemned under God’s judgment and lost forever. But God has forgiven me, and his forgiveness delivers me from his judgment.
Forgiveness is how God responds to our confession. None of us is eager to turn ourselves in, especially if we believe we will only receive a tongue-lashing. But that is not how our Lord has dealt with us. He has always met our confession with mercy and grace. It has never happened that someone repented and confessed his sin, but the Lord judged and condemned that person anyway–ever.
Doesn’t that convince us to turn to him in prayer whenever we need any kind of help? If he loves us so much he delivers us when we have offended him, won’t he want to save us when anything else is threatening us? “Surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach him,” David promises. When catastrophe strikes, either God will take us to safety or take us to heaven. Either way we can’t lose. Either way we escape.
So complete is his forgiveness that he is transformed (in our minds–God himself never actually changes) from feared Judge to secure hiding place, from executioner to protector. So certain is our safety, that we can sing–not just whistling past the graveyard to settle our fears, but happy, carefree songs of deliverance, like the happy carols we sing at Christmas. The child in the manger didn’t bring his judgment. He brought the forgiveness that assures us of our safety.
That is what I need.