Read thru Old Testament Devotional – July 20, 2017

July 20


Psalms 31-33


Book #1: 1-41, cont’d.


Psalm 31

Psalm 31:1-24-David calls out to God to save him.  He says that God is his "rock of strength" and "stronghold" and "fortress" (:1-5).  With this in mind, notice how David says he has reacted: “In Thee, O LORD, I have taken refuge” (:1); “Into Thy hand I commit my spirit” (:5).  David is aware that God has seen his struggles and has helped him to stand secure (:6-8).  He describes how the years of struggle have affected him physically and emotionally, and how the people of the community have begun to look down on him (:9-13).  David tells God that his "times are in Thy hand" (he trusts God with his life) and asks that God will cause His "face to shine upon Thy servant".  This speaks of God looking upon him pleasurably, perhaps a smile (:14-18).  He now speaks of the goodness of God...that even when he thought that his prayers were not being heard, they were (:19-22).  David encourages others who love the LORD...telling them that they too can have courage in Him (:23-24).


Psalm 32

Some suggest that this Psalm was written after Psalm 51…in which David confesses the sin he had committed with Bathsheba.  Here, he describes the blessing that comes when sin is confessed and forgiven.

Psalm 32:1-2-The man who confesses his sin to God will be forgiven.  Three words are used of sin and three words of forgiveness...

  • transgression—forgiven…the word literally means that the sin has been taken away
  • sin—covered…so that God no longer regards them; as in the case of God providing covering for Adam and Eve
  • iniquity—does not impute…this word means that God will not charge him with sin


Now there is a difference between a transgression and a sin. A sin is not always a willful act. The word sin comes from a root word which means, "to miss the mark." God says, "Here is the mark. I want you to hit it." All right. And I take aim, and I miss. Now I may not deliberately miss. I may be trying to hit it. I might just be a poor shot. That is still a sin. I have missed the mark. Whether it is deliberate or just a lack of weakness or failure, it is still missing the mark that God has set. That is why the Bible says, "All have sinned." The Bible calls you a sinner. You may get uptight about that, but God said that you have all missed the mark.

Now when I tell you the mark is perfection, that is what God wants you to be, then, is there anyone here who is willing to stand up and say, "I have hit the mark. I am perfect. Look at me. I am Mister Perfect"? No, I think we will all confess, "I have missed the mark." Not always willingly. I have sought to be a better person than I really am. I am not as good as I would like to be. I have missed the mark.

A transgression is a little different, because a transgression is a willful, a deliberate missing of the mark. It is a deliberate action of disobedience on my part. God says, "Here is the line. Now, Chuck, I don't want you to go over that line." And I get busy with my activities, I am not paying any attention, and all of a sudden I am over here on the other side of the line. And God says, "Hey, hey wait a minute. There is the line I told you not to go over." "Oh Lord, I'm sorry. I forgot all about it. I, hmm, didn't mean to." I still went over it. It was a sin; it was a missing of the mark. It wasn't really a deliberate, willful kind of a transgression. Whereas if God says, "Here is the line, Chuck. Now don't you cross over it." And I step over it and say, "Okay, God, what are You going to do about it?" That is a deliberate, willful transgression. Many times sins compound into transgressions. I start off innocently enough. But then rather than repenting and turning, I seek to try to cover it and hide it and all, and it compounds until it becomes a transgression. But either way, oh how happy I am when it is all forgiven. When it is all over. When it is all covered.

Chuck Smith :: C2000 Series on Psalms 31-40,


In verses 1–2 three synonyms are used for sin: the first one (transgression) is generally taken to indicate disobedience, rebellion against the divine will; the second one (sin) is misconduct, faulty action; the third one (iniquity) is wrong, evil. In verse 2b deceit stands for lie, hypocrisy, fraud; and spirit represents the inner self, the person’s character. In some languages it will not be possible to make the distinction in the nature of sins suggested here. However, in some languages it is possible to qualify evil deeds in order to approximate the suggested differences in meaning. The translator must be careful not to create complex syntactic problems in attempting to make these distinctions…

In verses 1–2a three verbs are used for forgiveness: (1) “carry away” (the Hebrew for forgiven), sin being thought of as a burden; (2) “conceal, hide” (covered), sin seen as an imperfection, a defect which must be removed, or else as a stain which must be wiped out; (3) “not to regard as guilty” (imputes no iniquity), that is, to consider innocent. Some see in this last one a commercial figure, to cancel a debt (see neb “the Lord lays no guilt to his account”). In the case of the second verb (verse 1b), the English verbal phrase is covered may suggest “covered over,” that is, disguised or concealed in such a way that it is not seen. This is not an adequate statement of what forgiveness involves, and a translator must be careful not to give the wrong impression.

Bratcher, R. G., & Reyburn, W. D. (1991). A translator’s handbook on the book of Psalms (p. 303). New York: United Bible Societies, Logos Bible Software


  1. Concerning the character of those whose sins are pardoned: in whose spirit there is no guile. He does not say, "There is no guilt' (for who is there that lives and sins not?), but no guile; the pardoned sinner is one that does not dissemble with God in his professions of repentance and faith, nor in his prayers for peace or pardon, but in all these is sincere and means as he says-that does not repent with a purpose to sin again, and then sin with a purpose to repent again, as a learned interpreter glosses upon it. Those that design honestly, that are really what they profess to be, are Israelites indeed, in whom is no guile.

Matthew Henry :: Commentary on Psalms 32,


Psalm 32:3-5-David says that when we don't deal with sin it has an affect on us mentally and physically.  The words “my body wasted away” (NASV; KJV-“my bones waxed old”) are the same that speak of clothes wearing out in Psalm 102:26.  The symptoms are so intense that he was “groaning”…this word actually means “roaring” (KJV) and is used of a lion.  These symptoms are caused by God (:4).  He loves us too much to allow us to callously continue to sin.  But when we acknowledge sin…confess it...God forgives us.  David uses three words to express his confession of sin…

  • acknowledged
  • I did not hide
  • confess


Verse 4

In line a the Hebrew verb for acknowledged is the causative form of the verb “to know,” thus “to make known,” that is, to confess, admit, reveal. I acknowledged my sin is therefore “I confessed my sins” in tev. In some languages this expression may have to be recast to say, for example, “I told you openly that I had sinned; I did not say that I had not sinned.” In some languages an idiomatic example will be more natural; for example, “I carried my evil on my head where you could see it.”

In line b the negative counterpart to the verb in line a is did not hide; this verb appears only here in the Psalms. These three verbs, I acknowledged, I did not hide, and I will confess, are an emphatic statement of the supreme importance of confessing one’s sins to God. In languages which do not speak of hiding sins, it is sometimes possible to say, for example, “I did not deny that I had sinned” or “I did not say that I had not sinned,” or stated in direct discourse, “I did not say, ‘I have not sinned.’ ” In some languages it is not good style to place a negative statement immediately following a positive one with the same meaning, and so the translator will have to modify the form.

Bratcher, R. G., & Reyburn, W. D. (1991). A translator’s handbook on the book of Psalms (p. 305). New York: United Bible Societies, Logos Bible Software


Psalm 32:6-7-David says, “Therefore”, meaning “Based on my own experience”...and then encourages us all to seek God’s forgiveness when we have sinned.  There are a couple of possible interpretations of the second half of verse 6.  First, the words “flood of great waters” in the second half of verse 6 is a reference to the flood of judgment in the days of Noah.  The word “they” speaks of this flood, the flood of God’s judgment.  So, we might paraphrase this verse as…”When the flood of God’s judgment comes it will not find me.”  A second possible interpretation is that the first half of verse 6 is admonishing people to immediately seek God’s forgiveness when they become aware that they have sinned…and, the second half of verse 6 is saying that the reason to do so is either (1) because once God has pronounced judgment, it is too late to seek forgiveness; or, (2) if we ignore the conviction of the Holy Spirit, our sense of guilt will be weakened and we will never be able to return to the place spiritually in which we will desire to repent.  We will be overwhelmed.


How precious is God’s mercy! Those who have received it never have to worry about the judgement of God. When that judgement, like ‘a flood of great waters’ (v. 6), sweeps over the wicked, it will not come near those who have been visited with mercy.

Ellsworth, R. (2006). Opening up Psalms (p. 100). Leominster: Day One Publications, Logos Bible Software


Psalm 32:8-11-David now gives instruction to others about what to do when they sin.  Don't fight against God...but be submissive to Him.  The result will be a life filled with joy.


Psalm 33

This is an anonymous Psalm.

Psalm 33:1-5-The author says that we are to sing and play instruments as an expression of worship to God for His love.  Praise is “becoming to the upright”…meaning that it is a suitable, or appropriate behavior for the upright to be involved in.  We should praise God because “the word of the LORD is upright” (:4a), “His work is done in faithfulness” (:4b); “He loves righteousness and justice” (:5a); and, “The earth is full of the lovingkindness of the LORD.” (:5b).

Psalm 33:6-12-God's power and wisdom are spoken of.  First, we see His power in creation (:6-9).  Then, we see His rule over the nations of the world (:10-11).  The nation that worships God will be blessed.

Psalm 33:13-22-The author says that God sees all the people of the earth.  At this moment (2015), there are approximately 7,405,000,000 people on planet earth…and God sees every single one of them.  He made every one of them and He is aware of everything that they do (:15).  The Psalmist says that no matter how powerful they may be…people cannot trust in their own abilities because ultimately they will fail.  God keeps His eyes on those who love Him...and He protects them (:18-22).


Prayer: Lord, please help me to have a pure, clean heart.  Speak directly to me when I sin and give me the grace that I need to confess it and repent.  I don’t want there to be anything in my life that would hinder You from working in and through me.

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