Register today for VBS 2022!

A Lenten Reflection on Psalm 32: A Call to Repentence

By Michael Roop

This blog is part of a series reflecting on Psalm 32. Read the rest of the series here.

C.S. Lewis was a man of many profound observations. He had a knack for saying things that his readers had never heard before, yet that also left them feeling as if they’d known it all along and simply lacked the words to express it.

Here’s one example from his Reflections on the Psalms: “I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation.” Perhaps this is the most generous explanation for why people insist on posting pictures of great meals, amazing trips, or their children’s or grandchildren’s accomplishments. To express a moment of joy completes our experience of that joy. We just can’t keep it in.

And speaking of enjoyable experiences, King David just had the granddaddy of them all. Crushed under the weight of his sin, guilt, and shame, David turned to the LORD. He confessed, without spin or blame, what was true of him and his actions. And instead of finding judgment and condemnation, he found the unspeakable relief of forgiveness.

And so the appointed consummation of joy followed. He expresses that joy publicly in a call for all his hearers to find it for themselves:

6   Therefore let everyone who is godly
offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found;
 surely in the rush of great waters,
they shall not reach him.
7 You are a hiding place for me;
you preserve me from trouble;
you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah

Verse six begins with a rhetorical link to the preceding verse. In other words, because David experienced the relief of forgiveness, he encourages all who trust God to take similar action. Offer your prayers (of confession and repentance) now! Don’t wait; the only thing you stand to lose by crying out to the LORD is the experience of His forgiveness and grace.

And, don’t wait because you don’t have forever. “Surely,” David continues, “in the rush of great waters they shall not reach [the LORD].” This is almost certainly drawing on the imagery of the flood. When the door to the ark was shut and the rains began to fall, the time to repent had run out. Similarly, David infers that a time will come when our opportunity to repent will run out as well.

Individually, this comes at our death. Cosmically, this will come at the return of Christ. Both are inevitable, and yet we cannot know the timing of either. Therefore, turn to the LORD now! And find, as David expresses in verse 7, a hiding place, a refuge, and deliverance from judgment and death.

David experienced this firsthand. How much more we who know the death and resurrection of Jesus? He is our Ark, our hiding place in the flood waters of judgment and death. Run to Him while He can be found, and He will protect you under the shadow of His wings.