What does it say?
In Psalm 32 David describes how confession of sin leads to the joy of God’s forgiveness. Though some speculate David wrote it after his sin with Bathsheba, that is not certain. Psalm 51 describes the same theme of confession and forgiveness. This time, however, the title makes it very clear that this is David’s personal confession following Nathan confronting him about his sin with Bathsheba.
Psalm 86 describes a time of desperate trouble as David turns to the God of mercy, compassion and forgiveness to grant him deliverance from his enemies and to direct him in his personal growth and walk of faith. Psalm 122 claims David as author, and occupies its place among the Psalms of Degrees or Ascents. In it, the psalmist celebrates Jerusalem, center of Israel’s worship and government, and prays God’s blessing upon the city.
What does it mean?
Psalms 32 and 51 share the theme of confession and forgiveness that is one of the most important concepts for followers of Jesus to understand and experience. When God convicts us of sin, we should confess it to him immediately and find that same joy of forgiveness that David describes. In the same way, we should be just as quick to forgive those that sin against us.
In Psalm 86:9 we again see that constant theme of God’s mission. Even in his time of trouble, David does not lose sight of God’s mission that one day all nations will come to the knowledge of God to worship and glorify him.
While it is not certain, many believe that David wrote this psalm to describe his feelings as he fled from the rebellion led by his estranged son Absalom and longed to be back in Jerusalem. To pray for the peace of Jerusalem (122:6) is often misinterpreted as a formula we should follow in order to prosper. Some Christians therefore believe that we should blindly support political Israel in every decision and circumstance and pray that God would give them peace in armed conflicts with her neighbors. The word peace in Hebrew gives a meaning that goes far beyond the resolution of a state of war; it has to do with total wellbeing from living in the presence of God’s blessing.
How will I respond?
What step will I take today to live out the truth of these psalms? Is there sin to confess, someone to forgive? What can I do to not forget God’s mission to the nations even in the midst of personal challenges?