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Liberated From Crippling Guilt
The Day David Was Set Free
David’s Song Had Returned
These are real events that happened to real people in real places. I was thinking of that as I was sitting and reading some excavation reports. They are always digging up new things in Jerusalem because it’s been destroyed about 33 times over the centuries since the time of Melchizedek and Abraham. I was thinking that there’s almost no spot you can sit in Jerusalem where you don’t have at least three, if not 4,000, years of continuous inhabitation under you. Anywhere you sit it’s just there. It’s just piles of it. It’s called a tell, it’s layers of life. This event, Psalm 32, happened in a real place and the archeologists have gotten to the point now that they’ve dug it up. You can sit on the rocks that used to be the beautiful palatial walls of David’s citadel where this happened. It’s exciting to relive what was happening as these words were written because Psalm 32, it’s a part of God’s Word, is a forever recorded in Heaven song about how wonderful it is to have our sins forgiven. God is called our Savior. He loves to save from sin. He loves to be a forgiving God. It says in the Old Testament, He had abounded in mercy and loving-kindness and this is one of the clearest examples. This is a song about the day that David’s soul was set free from the prison-house of guilt and sin.
Now, for the past 20 years, I’ll never forget living in California when Jerry Brown was the governor last, and he’s going to be again. It shows how things go around. 20 years ago, when we lived in California, the LA times did a little section about the high capacity of the mental institutions in hospitals that California was paying for the 40 million people who live in California. There’s a proportionate number of people that are always under state care, but it had an interesting line. It said, if we could just find a way to get rid of guilt, we could empty much of our hospital system. Many of the people there were in a prison house of guilt and of pain over whatever happened to them, and it just got to the point where they were no longer able to function normally in society. That’s what David was like just before this moment. He was released and set free from the prison-house of guilt and anguish over his unconfessed and unforsaken sin.
As we open and read just the first two verses of this psalm, I want you to think with me about the events surrounding the day, the moment, the place, and the time where this psalm bursts forth from David’s heart. It was a moment when he was set free from his emotional bondage. He was in solitary confinement because of his emotions. He had the warring, the conviction over his sin. The guilt he had over the battered body of Uriah that was carried home to be buried. Over the incredible burden he had of his hidden sin of adultery. Over the lies of deception and just the loss of fellowship with God. In the moment that he was set free because he confessed and forsook his sin. Do you understand? That’s all it took to release him from the prison house. Confessing, agreeing with God’s, saying what God said about his sin, and forsaking saying, by your power, God, I turn from that. It didn’t mean he was perfect; it didn’t mean he never had a bad thought, bad word, nothing else, but it meant that he forsook, turned his back on, his sin, and this 32nd Psalm burst forth.
With that on your mind let’s follow along with his words. Let’s stand together for the reading of God’s word. We’re only going to read two verses of it and then we’ll pray. Psalm 32 and the superscript in the Hebrew manuscript, which is verse 1 is “A Psalm of David. A Contemplation.” Then the psalm. Here are four different descriptions of what God did. Number one, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven.” Number two, “whose sin is covered.” Verse 2, “blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity.” Finally, at the end of verse 2, “and in whose spirit there is no deceit.” What he said is, wow, so wonderful to have that all gone, and he couldn’t hold it in, that ash rei, that blessedness. It’s the overflowing, unbelievable wonder of that burden removed from the prison house open.
That’s why it’s such a blessing to be a soul-winner. Every time you lead someone to Christ, you get to see that wonderful miracle as they sit there, or stand there, or kneel there and realize their sins are gone and they’re not imputed to them anymore. What a wonderful truth. Let’s bow together.
Father, I pray that our hearts would be stirred with David’s at the wonderful effects of confessing and forsaking sin. What a wonderful change has been wrought in our lives since Jesus has come into our hearts. Thank you that you banish the sin, the doubt, the guilt. Lord, we sometimes drag it all back in, but you’re ever ready to banish and free. Release and free us from the prison house of our unconfessed and unforsaken sin the moment we confess and forsake. I pray, we’d learn these blessings and enjoy them through the power and grace of our loving and merciful Savior. We pray, amen.
You may be seated. As you’re seated, why don’t you just go through the day that David was set free. We know from the events in the scripture that David was hiding and holding onto his sin, but one day the generals of king David’s cabinet made their way up to the palace. They wound their way up those cobbled streets just as they did every morning. We know that for at least nine months David was stewing in this brine of his sin. Arriving at the huge stone citadel, they expected to be dismissed again by a frustrated and depressed king of Israel. His chamber doors were usually shuttered and silent. Unlike in the old days, when he was up at dawn, he was always in the darkness of his guilt and sin. Before they could get any closer to the palace, the sound of the sweet songs of David stunned them because, you see, one by one with incredulous faces they looked up at each other. Then they looked at the throne and there he was, the sweet psalmist of Israel perched on the steps of his throne. Harp in hand, his face tilted reverently with tears streaming down his face. Do you think that David’s saying this kind of monotone with his mind on the grocery list or work tomorrow? This was sung from the depths of his soul. He was feeling the blessedness of his sins removed, of the deceit gone, of the transgressions no longer counted to his account.
David’s song had returned, and he was back. The real David was back and so was his song. Like a spring gushing in a parched desert, the generals dropped to the floor to drink from the river of worship that again, flowed from David’s heart. Do you remember David being described as a sweet psalmist of Israel? During his reign, Israel was an incredible place of not only undefeated armies but also a place of rivers of worship. We only have captured for us the songs of David that God wanted us to have forever. I’m sure that he didn’t only sing these. I’m sure that his heart was constantly enraptured as he thought of the God he loved. Like the days of old, those generals and all the others began to have hearts that burned again with adoring love to God. Their work was set aside, and worship again became their passion. Soon workers and servants and aides and guests and nobles, everyone, took their place in the court of God’s anointed king because David had his song back and everybody knew something happened because there was a song in his heart.
For a moment, turn to the New Testament with me to the book of Ephesians chapter 5 because, just like David, when you and I have the miracle of salvation, God plants within us His Spirit. When God’s Spirit is within us, something happens to us. It says in Ephesians chapter 5 and verses 18 onward, “don’t be drunk with wine.” That’s what you were as pagans, Paul said, that’s how you got your relief. That’s how you got settled down after a hard day at work. He says you used to just sit there and drink to feel better. Don’t do that because that leads to dissipation. Verse 18, “but be filled.” That’s interesting. It’s present tense. It’s a passive tense. That means you don’t do it, someone else does it. It’s an imperative and it’s a command. If we’re not full of the Holy Spirit, it’s not God’s fault. Do you understand? That’s what an imperative is. An imperative means it’s up to us. We have to respond. We have to go. We’re sitting next to the gas pump, and the handles there, and the credit card and you just have to stick it in and allow it to fill you up. You see, the lack is on our part. He says you need to constantly be being filled with the Holy Spirit.
Now watch this verse 19. “Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.” Look what happens when we obey. We are singing and making melody in our heart to the Lord, the evidence of salvation. That is operative, the way God wants it, which is being full of the Holy Spirit. The fullness of the Holy Spirit is dependent on the emptiness of self. See those two don’t work together.
When it says humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, we empty ourselves of our selfish ambition, or pride and go our own way in our own will. We invite and allow and welcome the Spirit of God to fill all the places self takes over. That’s an imperative. It’s the response to God. Asking for this is up to us. Now, keep going. Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians. It’s the same thing Paul says to the Colossians in chapter 3, two books over to the right. Paul describes the evidence that when God lives within us, by His Spirit, the outward evidence that shows up in our life. The fullness of the Spirit, always as evidenced by this same concept.
Look at chapter 3 verse 16 of Colossians. It’s the same context. It’s talking about the Holy Spirit only it says, “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.” The same concept of fullness of Spirit is described as the fullness of the Word of God because the Spirit of God inspired the Word of God. When we are full of Him, He is so tied to His Word that we want His Word to fill us. That’s what is so dangerous today. We have a church in Christendom that talks about the fullness of Spirit. There’s such a detachment from even understanding, knowing, or eating of the Word. Those two things go together. When you’re full of the Word you’re full of the Spirit. I’m not talking about knowledge. I’m not talking about Biblical trivia. I’m talking about letting the Word, the truth of God, His voice, His truth as revealed in His Word, dwell in us. We allow and invite and welcome God, His mind, His truth, His Word into us. When it happens, we are full of His Spirit because as the Word of God fills us it empties us of ourselves. We invite God to speak through His Word in our life and He speaks through His Spirit.
There’s this parallelism between the fullness of Spirit, Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16. “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.” It’s exactly the same wording as Ephesians 5:19. Look at the end of verse 16, Colossians 3, “singing with grace in your heart to the Lord.” You see, the outward evidence of this forgiveness, self-emptying, Spirit filling, is that we have a song. It’s what we’re going to be doing forever around the throne. God gives us previews. A little foretaste of that worship of Heaven. What happens when we sin? Back up to Ephesians 4 and look at what it says in Ephesians 4:30. As wonderful as the Spirit flowing through us may be, when He is grieved or quenched, the spring of our soul and the song that results dries up.
Look what Ephesians 4:30 says. It says, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God.” That’s what David had done. Before Psalm 32 David had grieved and quenched and dampened the work of the Spirit of God out through his life. Ephesians 4:30, don’t “grieve the Holy Spirit of God by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” It’s interesting that “do not grieve” is another one of those imperatives. That means we’re responsible. We’re responsible to guard our life against grieving the Holy Spirit. We don’t just go through life and say, if you get grieved it’s your own fault, I’m just going to live under grace. No, we have to deny ungodliness that grieves the Holy Spirit and quenches and drives out His powerful influence on our life. That’s why it says in 1 Thessalonians 5:19 “do not quench the Spirit.” That’s our responsibility.
That’s what happened to David. Let’s back up because I want to show you again in 2 Samuel 12. I want to show you how David got these blessed benefits of confessing and forsaking his sin. 2 Samuel chapter 12, we’re going to pick up in verse 7 where we left off last time. The consequence of David’s displeasing the Lord, where we ended last time, was that he lost his song. God became grieved with David’s sin. When God is grieved, the Spirit of God is quenched. The Spirit of God is snuffed out and doused with the deadening effects of David’s sin. He goes right from singing and worshiping and being like an oasis in the desert to being like the desert. He’s just dried up. David’s heart, touched by God’s grace, responds in 2 Samuel 12 to the conviction of the Holy Spirit. He responds as we saw last time, with confession and repentance. What a song it must’ve been after all that time of holding it in to come out, but what was needed was a confrontation.
David was covering his sin and was unwilling to do anything about it until his sin was lanced by the prophet Nathan. When Nathan pointed his finger at him, David realized he couldn’t hide that sin anymore. Starting in 2 Samuel 12 and verse 7, “Then Nathan said,” and this is the climactic moment. I want you to think about this as God thought. David had a splinter in him, or he had some kind of a scrape and it had gotten infected spiritually speaking. It’s so much like our bodies. David had this infection, and it was starting to swell and get discolored and showing all the effects of the battle going on there between the body’s immune system and the invasion of this infection. That’s what David was like. He was swollen with the awful effects of his sin. His wounded soul throbbed with the long incubated infection of self-righteousness.
One day when that crushing weight of sin brought David near collapse, you see God was monitoring David. He knew that David was near collapse, just being so smitten by his sin, so crushed by the chastisement and chastening hand of God. God sent that messenger at the precise moment. It wasn’t that Nathan was looking through his calendar and saying, oh, let’s see, oh, maybe I’ll go visit David today. That might be how he looked at it, but God said, this is when David needs to hear this. Nathan walks in and he said this, verse 7 of 2 Samuel 12, “Then Nathan said, you’re the man! Thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your keeping and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more.'” Wow, that’s something to think about. David had an incredible kingdom. God says if that wasn’t enough, I would have given you a lot more. Wow, just think of what God was offering him.
Verse 9. “‘Why have you despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword; you have taken his wife to be your wife, and you have killed him with the sword of the people of Ammon.'” Verse 10. “‘Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ Thus says the LORD :”. Verse 11. “‘Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of the sun.'” Verse 12, “‘For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, before the sun.’ So David said to Nathan,”. Here’s the confession. “I have sinned against the LORD .” It doesn’t sound very big, does it? The Lord doesn’t say you need any flowery words.
I meet people and they’re always trying to pray the prayer of salvation one more time, hoping that they do it a little better so they can get saved. The problem they have is not praying the right prayer, it’s understanding salvation. Salvation is my crying out in helplessness needing His forgiveness, His salvation. David said, I have sinned against the Lord and that’s interesting. This is completely different from Saul. Saul said no, the people sinned. David’s predecessor, Saul, said the people sinned. No, not me. They did. See the complete difference between a man after God’s own heart? I’ve sinned against the Lord, and the man after people’s own heart, it’s not me, it’s them. David and Saul are our beautiful pictures of the wrong and the right way to confess sin. David’s is short and sweet and simple. “‘I have sinned against the LORD .’ And Nathan said to David, ‘the LORD also has put away your sin. You shall not die.'” There is the indication that David was feeling the weight of the penalty of his sin. It says in 1 Corinthians chapter 11, the Christians that do not confess and forsake their sin after they’re born again become weak, get sick and some die.
It says in 1 John 5, there’s a sin that leads to death. It says in Revelation chapter 2 that some of the people were involved in immorality, that were born again Christians, and they wouldn’t repent of it. The Lord has cast some into beds of sickness and killed some. God chastises, sickens, weakens, and kills Christians who act like unbelievers. David was under that weight of God’s wrath against his unconfessed sin, but the Lord says you shall not die. “However,” verse 14, “because of this deed, you have given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme.”
You know what that is? Remember Job chapter 1 and 2. Satan comes in when God allows him to, before the other hosts of Heaven, and Satan accuses believers. He was accusing God about Job and God said, Job won’t do what you said, I know Job. Satan was saying, Isn’t that Your singer? The guy that sings about you all the time isn’t that him? With Bathsheba right there? Yeah, he’s one of yours, isn’t he? Can you imagine Satan blaspheming? That’s what David realized. “Because by this deed,” verse 14, “you have given great occasion for the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme me.” It wasn’t just Satan and his angels, the neighboring nations heard about this. It was known as the word leaked out.
Slowly, but surely the enemies of the Lord blaspheme and here’s the first effect. “The child also who is born to you shall surely die.” Wow. What a horrible thing sin is. It deceives us with all the glittering promises. It destroys with deadly accuracy. When you’ve been defeated, David is inspired by God to tell us the step to come back to God. That’s why this is in here. It’s not in here just because David’s the only person that sinned. It’s in here because David is the most written about person in the Bible, 141 chapters, so that we see an inspired pattern for our lives. This is completely recorded by God in Technicolor. It has the surround sound of what happened, and it has the inspired psalm of the blessings of confessing and forsaking sin. Before we examine the intricate details of Psalm 32, and let’s go back there, we’re going to soon be done, but we’ll be there for much of the time.
Psalm 32. I want to just do a quick word study for you of four of the words. Psalm 32 has an incredible picture of how to get the rivers of living water back into the soul of David. How the man after God’s own heart gets his joy and his peace back, how he gets his fellowship renewed and how he gets the songs flowing again. Now you might not be a Psalm 23 writer, but you and I are supposed to be speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. We’re supposed to be, if we’re saved, singing and making melody in our hearts to the Lord. That means it’s a singing that flows from our hearts. That might not qualify you to be up on the risers here, but the Lord loves it and that’s what David shows us how to get back.
He starts out by saying, I never want to forget the consequences of sin. Here’s what he does, I’ll just give you the outline. Verses 1 and 2 David sings with delight when his sins were forgiven. That’s what the first 2 verses are about, he’s just singing with delight. Then in Psalm 32 verses 3 and 4, David describes his despair, and he remembers the pain of concealing his sin. We saw that a little bit last time, how his bones grew old, and he groaned all day long. It was like he was in constant pain, but then in verses 5 through 7 David describes his deliverance. When his sin was cleansed away, the sin he’d concealed. His sins, when he confessed them, were removed. Two verses, 1 and 2, he talks about that. 3 and 4 talks about how horrible it was and then 5 and 6 and 7 he goes back to the whole blessing of confessing and forsaking.
That’s why the book of 1 John, the little five chapter, almost the end of the Bible, book is all about the marks of who true believers were. Remember 1 John is written when fakes were coming into the church, when Gnostics were coming in, the mystery religions. If you know anything about the history of the church, Rome was filled with cults and the early church was moving around and there wasn’t a lot of written down stuff. There were people there in the first century who talked about being born again.
Did you know, you could be born again in the cult of Mithras? Do you know how you got born again? You went down in a pit and there was a grate over the pit. All the inductees into the cult would go down in the pit and they’d take their clothes off and they would take a living bull and they’d slit its throat and let the hot blood pour down like a shower on them. They would come out of there saying I was born again. I was washed in the blood of the Son of God. Doesn’t that sound pretty good? Would you let them in the membership here? Only if you ask them who the Son of God was and what His blood did to them, exactly the process, how they got there. That was a first century cult, Mithras, washed in the blood of the Son of God. The Son of God was a bull, and his blood was cows, and they were involved in great wickedness, but they had the right language.
The first century church was confronted with this. They had the cult of Mithras and they had Gnostics. Gnostics talked our talk, but they had the secret insider knowledge. 1 John says no, this is what a characteristic of a truly born again person is, they are confessing their sins. They’re forgiven, they’re unashamed to say, yes. I had someone come to me this morning and they said, you made a mistake in your sermon. I said, Only one? If you think about it, we are imperfect people working for a perfect God, perfect Word. There’s always imperfections, mistakes, and sins in our lives.
1 John says that the characteristic of us is we’re confessing, we’re agreeing with God about our sins. We’re constantly saying I expose myself to your Holy site. I say before You, I am uncovered. Remember we’re naked and open for the eyes of Him, with whom we have to do. As it says in Hebrews 4 that the word of God pierces and divides, and it cuts to our hearts. When it cuts, we say, ah, I agree, God. That’s the growing process. The closer we get to the Lord, the brighter, the light gets it. Most of us look pretty good in dim light, but you get the brighter light and people are picking stuff off. The brighter, the light, the more they see.
I always tell the joke that I remember some of our best friends in Rhode Island invited us to their house after church. We went there almost every time after the evening service. This was a house that was standing when George Washington came through Rhode Island, it was a historic mansion. I always wondered every time we drove up, every window had a candle in it. When we got inside, every room was lit. The food was great, everything was wonderful. We made the mistake of going there during the day once. That house was dusty and filled with cobwebs. It looked like a haunted house almost, but at night, just by candlelight, it looked perfect. There wasn’t much light exposing all the dirt and dust and cobwebs and everything that was in disrepair.
God says the more we come into the light of His Word, and the more it shines on our life, that we see more and more. The more we see, we don’t hide it and sweep it under the rug. We pull the rug and say, God, clean that up, clean it out. That shouldn’t be there. That shouldn’t be there. That shouldn’t be there. That’s what was going on in David’s life. He’s saying, I don’t want this. When we are convicted by God, we don’t cover our sins. When we don’t cover our sin, we can prosper. When we cover our sins and we know God sees them, when we try and hide them, God says, I will never allow you to prosper. You will be frustrated. You’ll be thwarted. Everything you do, I will resist. That’s James 4:4-5. God says adulterers and adulteresses, when we love anything more than Him, when we are willing to neglect God for someone else, when the world allures us and pulls us in, God says You’re at enmity with Me, I’m going to resist your life. David said, I don’t want any more resisting. I’m going to confess them forsake.
Look at Psalm 32 verses 8 onward. This is the fourth division. The first division is that he was delighted that his sins were forgiven. The second one is that he was in despair when his sins were concealed. The third division starts in verses 5 through 7 and David sings of his deliverance when he confessed his sin. Now, he goes back to verse 8. This is one of the ways of Hebrew poetry. They do a positive then into a negative, they go back to a positive, they go back to a negative. It’s to emphasize, it’s to contrast. In verses 8, 9, 10, and 11 David sings about his longing that his sinful ways be crushed. When I speak at Camp Barakel we go out in the national forest, and I always preach to all the high schooler boys. They always have me go out there and give them this talk because they’re camping, and we have this gigantic roaring inferno. It is this big fire. When it’s over, there is this big jug of water and a shovel and you don’t just put the fire out, you dig it and you turn it over and you pour more water on it. You dig it some more and you turn it over and you roll every log, and you keep putting water on it. That’s because you don’t want to leave any smoldering coal or spark or ember. Nothing is left glowing, and you keep doing that. It’s a big white cloud of steam and it’s black, and mud and ashes. You just keep shoveling and turning over until you’re sure there’s nothing left. That’s what David comes to in verses 8, 9, 10, and 11. He says, “I want my sinful ways crushed. I want my sinful desires abated. I want to not go back to that. I don’t want that anymore. I want You.”
Let’s do a Hebrew word study. Starting in Psalm 32 verse 1, let’s see how far we get. Number one, David said, “blessed is he,” the first line, Psalm 32:1, “Blessed is he,” and this is where the joy of the words are. We believe in verbal inspiration. That God inspired not thoughts. He didn’t inspire principles. The Holy Spirit inspired words. Every word of God is pure. Now here’s one of the pure words. Look what this says, “blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven.” I’m going to work on the positive ones tonight.
In the future we’re going to look at David’s usage of the words for sin. Transgression is a very descriptive word, but what about transgressions? They’re forgiven. The word forgiven in Hebrew is nāśā’. It means literally to have our sins lifted off of us. Today in the news it talked about this gigantic football player who was at home in his basement, and he was trying to be ready for the big game. He was just doing his hundred and 85 pounders here. When he went back like that to put it on the little spot where you put your weights, he missed and killed himself right on his weightlifting bench. They said it didn’t kill him right away. If someone would have been there, they could have lifted it off. That’s the word right here. Blessed is he who’s crushing load of sins have been lifted off by the Redeemer. Jesus stands by like a weight spotter and when He sees us under the crushing load of sin, as soon as we say, I agree with you, God, I have sin. I confess and want to forsake the sin. He lifts it off.
You don’t understand it unless you’ve ever been too weak and you’re trying so hard to push that off and it’s coming back toward you. That’s where David was, and the Lord lifted the crushing load of his sins. It’s like Pilgrim in Pilgrim’s Progress. The pack rolled off into Christ’s tomb. We have been crushed by our sins and will get crushed by any we keep around. Sin suffocates and smothers us and squashes the very life of our soul. There is a Redeemer, and He can set us free. His only hope to his spotter, to the One he knew could lift that crushing load off of him. David cried.
There was a successful businessman in Chicago. I don’t know if there are any more, the way our country is going, but there used to be a successful businessman in Chicago. He was saved from his heavy load of sin through the ministry of DL moody and all that great revival of the 1870s. That man wrote out his testimony. In fact, he was so moved by the Lord at the wonderful forgiveness he’d received that he actually sold out everything in Chicago. He moved to Jerusalem because in that day, like today, one of the greatest bodies of unreached people in the world were the Moslems. This man, this Chicago businessman, sold out everything, moved his family across the ocean. In the process lost a few. They sank and his wife was saved, and you probably know the story. Most people don’t know the rest of the story. He ended up in Jerusalem and he started working with Moslem orphans because they didn’t have any Christian outreaches to orphans.
Hospitals and missions are not funded throughout history, by Buddhists and Muslims and Taoists and Shinto’s. They are Christian missions by and large. I’m not saying they have none. I’m talking about these good Samaritan outreaches are most frequently expressions of the love of Christ. He said, I’m going to go be a beacon of Christ’s love, so he moved his whole family to Jerusalem. In fact, if you go there today, if you’re walking in the Damascus Gate, his house is right there. It’s still there. It’s on the left side of the Damascus Gate on top of the walls of Jerusalem. He built this gigantic house and had an orphanage for Muslim children. When they ask about how he came to this place, he confessed what most of us have heard, but most of us haven’t thought about lately. He confessed how wonderful it was that the crushing load, the weights that were going to smother his life out, were lifted off of him. That was his testimony. It’s in your hymn book. That’s what we’re going to end with tonight.
Why don’t you close your Bible and take your hymn book and look at 493. We’re not going to sing it; we’re going to say it and I want you to think about this. Think about being on the bench, being crushed and smothered and underneath it all. This man, by the way, he wrote this also reflecting on losing his children. You’ve all heard the story of Spafford’s wife and children, the steamer and the message. Most people don’t know what happened to him. Losing his children didn’t daunt him. He kept going and spent the rest of his life working in Jerusalem with Muslims. He told them that “when peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like the sea billows roll, whatever my lot, you have taught me to say it as well, it as well with my soul.” That’s after losing his children. “Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come let this blessed assurance control, that Christ has regarded my helpless estate.” Now we’re under the weights here. He’s starting to choke on this thing “and has shed His own blood for my soul.”
Now 493, third stanza, look at this. This is a modern version of what David was saying in Psalm 32. David said in Psalm 32 “Oh, the blessedness of this man whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity in whose spirit there is no guile.” That’s an old-fashioned way of saying verse 3, “My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought, my sin, not in part, but the whole is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more. Praise the Lord. Oh, my soul.” David said you don’t know how wonderful it is to feel your sins smothering you. To feel your sin crushing you. To know that there was nothing that he could do except cry out to his Redeemer, who always was standing there. To lift off the burden of his sin.
It isn’t just at salvation the Lord does that because David was already saved. This is the Lord’s lifelong ministry. Whenever we get crushed under the weight of our guilt or the weight of our anxiety or our feeding some desire of our heart until it just makes us so distant from the Lord and that starts crushing the life out of us spiritually. The whole time that’s happening the Lord is standing there, the open door of escape. We wouldn’t have to get crushed. We didn’t even have to get under it. If we do, He said, “I’ll never leave you or forsake you.” Even when we sin the Lord doesn’t say, oh, I’ll just leave you alone, let you get your just desserts. He stands there waiting to forgive us, to lift the burden that’s crushing us. Now that’s the message that the Surgeon General of California needs to hear, 20 years ago, and walk up and down the hospitals of the people that are crushed by their load of sin and guilt and fear and anxiety and whatever is crushing them. To say, “My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought, my sin, not in part, but the whole is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more. Praise the Lord, oh my soul!” Then the chorus is, and this is how we witness, “It is well with my soul. It is well with my soul.” Someone says how? You say because there’s a redeemer and He lifted off the weight of my sin.
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