The Secret of Happiness Part 1

by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)

Happiness is Knowing God!

Happiness is Knowing God!

August 25, 2006


The Secret of Happiness

Scripture: Psalm 32, especially verse 1: Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

Introduction:
Some suffering in life is hard to explain, but much of it is self-inflicted. Could your misery be due to poor choices? Due to apathy or indifference? Could our suffering be due to sin?
Psalm 32 lets us see God’s blessings for those who are forgiven. This psalm gives us the forgotten secret of happiness, telling us that sin brings sorrow, but confession brings forgiveness and forgiveness brings joy. Listen as I read Psalm 32 from the New King James Bible:
1 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered.
2 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit.
3 When I kept silent, my bones grew old Through my groaning all the day long.
4 For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was turned into the drought of summer.
5 I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” And You forgave the iniquity of my sin.
6 For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You In a time when You may be found; Surely in a flood of great waters, They shall not come near him.
7 You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance.
8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.
9 Do not be like the horse or like the mule, Which have no understanding, Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, Else they will not come near you.
10 Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; But he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him.
11 Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous; And shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

In the first two verses, David writes about: The Joy of Forgiveness. Both verses begin with, “Blessed is the man.” Blessed is one of those religious words that are hard to translate into realistic terms. Perhaps the closest we can come is “happiness.” The psalmist says that the blessed person is the one who understands forgiveness. But we can’t understand the reality of forgiveness if we don’t understand the concept of sin, so David uses three words to describe sin: Transgression—Sin—Iniquity.

The psalmist was happy that...His transgression was forgiven and that his sin was covered. This psalm grew out of David’s experiences with the Lord after he had committed adultery and had tried to hide his sins (2 Sam. 11–12). But nothing is hidden from God. God sees what you do and keeps a record of it. David had covered his sins on earth, but he couldn’t cover the record in heaven. He found that hiding sin only led to negative physical, emotional, and spiritual consequences. His body wasted away, he groaned all day long, and his vitality was drained. The same consequences will fall on any man or woman who refuses to admit guilt.

But confession brings peace and joy as sin is first uncovered and then covered by God with His forgiveness. However, when you refuse to confess your sins, the Lord must deal with you to bring you to repentance. The longer you wait the more miserable you will be, as you can see in David’s experience.

There is a proverb that says, “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.” (Prov.28:13). When we trust Christ as Lord and Savior, we receive forgiveness from the penalty of sin. When we, as believers, confess our sins, we receive forgiveness that maintains fellowship with God our Father.

There is no blessing for the person who covers his sins, that is, who refuses to drag them out into the light and to confess them to God and to anyone else who has been wronged. But anyone who confesses and forsakes his sins has the assurance that God not only forgives but forgets. In the book of Hebrews, it says, “And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” (Heb. 10:17). When we confess, God wipes the record clean. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” according to 1 John 1:9.

If you’re a Christian, you need to know that The Lord doesn’t impute iniquity. Impute is an accounting term, that means that it’s not counted against us. A rough illustration is when you get pulled over for speeding and the kind officer tells you it will not go on your record. God’s forgiveness is like that. There’s no sin so great that He won’t forgive it, and there is no number of sins that are too many for Him to forgive. This is a reason to rejoice!

When a shipwrecked sailor has been rescued from death, and is sitting warm and dry by the fire, his first thought is to congratulate himself: “How lucky I am to have escaped with my life. How thankful I am to those who saved my life.” David, like the sailor, is a rescued man; and he expresses his thankfulness and joy before he tells the story of his moral shipwreck.

A person may comment about his fall into sin, but it doesn’t matter because God says “I have blotted out as a thick cloud thy transgressions, and as a cloud thy sins.” David is treated as innocent. The Lord does not charge him with the sin. David is so very grateful that he shouts for joy, praising God.

Verses 3 and 4 are the opposite of 1 and 2 because they speak of: The Misery of Unconfessed Sin.

3 When I kept silent, my bones grew old Through my groaning all the day long.
4 For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was turned into the drought of summer.

Notice the shift to a personal pronoun. Verses 1 and 2 use the terms “he” and “the man”, but here David uses the personal pronouns “I” and “me”.

David is giving us a personal illustration about the power of unconfessed sin. “When I kept silent”, he said, unwilling to confess my sin, my body wasted away and God dealt with me so severely that my vitality was drained like a man suffering in the summer heat. Do you recall a time when the summer’s heat was so oppressive you found it difficult to even breathe? For me personally, that’s the way it’s been this summer; I have been uncomfortable ever since it got hot. But the worse thing about the heat is that it keeps you awake at night. Unconfessed sin hunts us down, oppresses us, and just like the heat it keeps us awake at night.

If you’re a child of God, you can sin, but you cannot get by with it. That’s the difference between the saved and unsaved man. If you’re a man of the world, you can get by with your sin temporarily, but a child of God cannot. The hand of God was heavy upon David day and night. Paul says, “For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.” If we don’t judge ourselves, then God is going to judge us. God takes His own child to the woodshed for punishment.

Sometime after David’s sin, the prophet Nathan came to David to accuse him, and he said, “David, I have a little story to tell you.” This is the story: “…Then the Lord sent Nathan to David. And he came to him, and said to him: “There were two men in one city, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had exceedingly many flocks and herds. But the poor man had nothing, except one little ewe lamb which he had bought and nourished; and it grew up together with him and with his children. It ate of his own food and drank from his own cup and lay in his bosom, and it was like a daughter to him. And a traveler came to the rich man, who refused to take from his own flock and from his own herd to prepare one for the wayfaring man who had come to him; but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.” So David’s anger was greatly aroused against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this shall surely die! And he shall restore fourfold for the lamb, because he did this thing and because he had no pity.” Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul.”(2 Samuel 12:1-7)
Verse 5 is next and it speaks about: Confession and Repentance. In this verse, David used the same three words—Transgression, Rebellion, and Sin that he used in verses 1-2, saying that he had learned to acknowledge his sin, to expose his wickedness to the Lord, and to confess his disobedience. This is good instruction for you and me, isn’t it? If you are out of fellowship with God today, David in this verse tells about the way back. We are also told in the New Testament, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

In his book, Healing for Damaged Emotions, David Seamands writes about a young minister who once came to see him. He was having a lot of problems getting along with other people, especially his wife and family. He was continually criticizing her.He was sarcastic and demanding, and he was destroying their marriage. His attitude was also harsh toward members of his church. Finally, in desperation, he came to see Dr. Seamands, and after a while, the painful root of the matter came to light. Seamands wrote: “While he was in the armed forces in Korea, he had spent two weeks of R & R in Japan. During that leave, walking the streets of Tokyo, feeling empty, lonely, and terribly homesick, he fell into temptation and went three or four times to a prostitute. “He had never been able to forgive himself.


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