As we read Psalm 32 this morning there are many things that vie for my attention, not the least of which is the torment of unconfessed sin. Some would call it guilt and I would never deny the power of guilt but unconfessed sin is something quite different. It is that burden of having done something wrong, knowing that God knows but not being willing to take ownership of it. We figure as long as we do not admit to it then it won't stick to us. The result is as David wrote:
When I kept silent,
my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
For day and night
your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was sapped
as in the heat of summer. (Psalm 32:3-4)
The Lord does not keep his hand heavy upon us because he is a vengeful God or because he is full of malice. His hand is heavy upon us because he wants us to be free from the burden, free from the sin so we will not be lost. It is sin that separates us from what we were born to be. We should rejoice that our God loves us enough to even care that we confess to these things. If his hand is not heavy upon you, if you do not feel the burden of the unconfessed then you are really in trouble. If we become insensitive to the sins we try to bury then we have become separate from God and can no longer feel his hand upon us. This is a scary place to be because we have joined the ranks of the wicked and we are lost to him. We can't let ourselves get to this place.
Look at how simple it is:
Then I acknowledged my sin to you
and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, "I will confess
my transgressions to the LORD "—
and you forgave
the guilt of my sin. (Psalm 32:5)
He already knows. It is like a parent who has received a phone call from the neighbour about their broken window. Before little Bobby walks through the door dad already knows what he has done. Yet, he waits for Bobby to tell him first. Dad wants to see the remorse and repentance to know he is sincere in that repentance. Our Father wants to know that we are sincere in our seeking of forgiveness, that it matters to us and that we understand the wrong that we did.
See what David then writes:
Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you
while you may be found;
surely when the mighty waters rise,
they will not reach him. (v. 6)
"While you may be found" is key here. When you refuse to confess then a separation begins. God does not go anywhere but you do. You move further away from him. Your character changes. You hear him less. You sense him less. Godly things take on less importance to you. Suddenly things that were no acceptable become acceptable. Then you can't find God any more even when you need him. He is there but you can no longer even sense his presence.
The mighty waters that David speaks of is the finality of death. Do not let it get to that point. Confess it so you may be free from the burden. Step into that place that David longed for:
Blessed is he
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the man
whose sin the LORD does not count against him
and in whose spirit is no deceit. (Psalm 32:1-2)
One last word. God warned us not to be stuborn about this matter. He must have been writing to some young people I know:
Do not be like the horse or the mule,
which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
or they will not come to you.
Many are the woes of the wicked,
but the LORD's unfailing love
surrounds the man who trusts in him. (vv. 9-10)