Psalm 32:6-7: Therefore, let all the godly confess their rebellion to you while there is time, that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgment. For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory.
If God is who the first five verses of Psalm 32 have described him to be – a merciful God who forgives the sins of his people when they confess them – then it only makes sense for everyone who wants to live for God to turn to him for his help and deliverance.
Yet sometimes, even as Christians, we resist turning wholeheartedly to God. Why? Among many possible factors three reasons stand out and need to be mentioned.
First, we may resist confessing our sin to God because we are torn between loving God and loving the world (1 John 2:15-17). We may be attempting to have it both ways: to live with one foot on the narrow path of Christian discipleship and the other foot on the wide path of me-first/my-way living. If so, confession would then appear as a threat to us, for to confess our sins to God would mean that we needed to give up our double-life and plant both feet firmly on the path of following Jesus.
Second, we may resist confessing our sin to God because we have been hardened by the deceitfulness of sin (Heb. 3:13). In other words, our immersion in sinful ways may be leading us to genuinely believe our rationalizations which justify our behavior to make it okay in our own eyes. Our hearts may be in the process of becoming hard and unresponsive to God’s word. This is obviously a dangerous place to be in as a Christian.
Third, we may resist confessing our sins to God because we can’t forgive ourselves and therefore find it hard to believe that God will forgive us. If we find ourselves feeling this way, we must become aware that we have crossed from “godly sorrow” into “worldly sorrow” (2 Cor. 7:10). Godly sorrow finds its hope in the grace of Jesus Christ and leads to repentance because godly sorrow recognizes that there is no sin which God will not forgive. Worldly sorrow, on the other hand, believes the lies of the evil one and so despairs of forgiveness and leads to death.
Following the example and instruction of David in Psalm 32, it is necessary that we turn away from any and all of these reasons for resisting God and come to cast ourselves on his abundant mercy. When we do so we will discover that he is the God who delivers: He lifts us up above the waters of judgment and becomes our hiding place and source of protection. If we turn to him, he will deliver us from having a divided heart (Ps. 86:11), from the deceit of sin (John 8:34-35), and from doubt about his love and forgiveness (1 John 3:19-20).