Why do we go to church? Why do we need God? This psalmist shares the most fundamental reason for our longing for God: We want to be forgiven! In our lives, we have committed sins. We are not perfect. We have regrets. Sometimes, we want to go back to the time when we made mistakes and to start all over again. However, in our third dimension, our time is irreversible. The only cure for us is to be forgiven by the Creator! That is why the psalmist proclaims in this way: “Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Happy are those to whom the Lord imputes no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.”
To be forgiven by God, we need to confess our sins to God. This is the only way how we can experience forgiveness. Until we confess our sins, they stay in us and torture us! “While I kept silence, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah”
Once we confess our sins to God, however, we can experience immediate forgiveness: “Then I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not hide my iniquity;
I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah”
When we learned this simple truth, we want to share it with others who suffer from guilt and shame. We want to tell them how wonderful our God is. We want to point out to them that there is an exit. “Therefore let all who are faithful offer prayer to you; at a time of distress, the rush of mighty waters shall not reach them. You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with glad cries of deliverance. Selah
The psalmist now turns to the congregation and to the world. He wants to share this way with others who do not want to come to God, who are stubborn like horses or mules. “I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Do not be like a horse or a mule, without understanding, whose temper must be curbed with bit and bridle, else it will not stay near you.
The psalmist ends this psalm with the confession of faith: “Many are the torments of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds those who trust in the Lord. Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart.”
All you upright in heart! We cannot be upright in action but we can be upright in heart. We can stumble and fall but we can ask help and forgiveness. When we acknowledge that we are not perfect and we need help, the gracious God is always there to forgive us and take our hands.