"Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit."
Human biographers usually pass over matters that are not beautiful. They tell of the things that are attractive and honorable—but say little of faults and blemishes. One of the remarkable features of the Bible in writing biographies, is that it does not hide good men's faults nor conceal their sins. One reason is, that it would warn us against even the best men's mistakes.
On the Alps, places where men have fallen, are marked for the warning of other tourists who may come that way. So we are told of the sins and falls of godly men—that we may not repeat their mistakes. Another reason is to show us thegreatness of the divine mercy that can forgive such sins and then restore the sinner to noble and useful life. As terrible as David's sin was—the story of his fall and restoration has been a blessing to millions.
"Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered." This is a most suggestive beatitude. If we had been writing it, we would have said, "Blessed is he who never has sinned." But if it read thus, it would have no comfort for anyone in this world, for there are no sinless people here. Holy angels might have enjoyed its comfort—but no others could. We may be very thankful that the beatitude runs as it does, "Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered." This brings the blessing within the reach of everyone of us.
It is the first in all the long list of Blesseds, for no blessing can come to any soul—until it has been forgiven of its sins. Thegate of forgiveness is the first gate we must pass through, before we can receive any of the other blessings of God's love. Unforgiven sin lies across our path—as a mountain which no one can cross over. No other favor or gift or prosperity is of any avail—while our sins remain uncancelled. But with forgiveness, come all the blessings of life and glory.
The word "covered" seems a strange word to use about anyone's life. There is one way of covering sin which can bring no peace, no blessing. We must not try to cover our own sin, so as to hide it from God. That is what David had been doing with his sins which at last he brought to God, and he tells us a little farther on in the Psalm how little blessing he found in that way. Says the wise man: "He who covers his sins shall not prosper. But whoever confesses and forsakes them shall have mercy." Sins which we cover ourselves, even most successfully, as it appears, are not forgiven. They are like slumbering fires in the volcano, ready to burst out any moment in all their terribleness. But when God covers our sins—they are put away out of sight forever—out of our sight, out of the world's sight, out of God's sight. The Lord says He willremember our sins against us no more forever. So the covering is complete and final—when it is God's.
"When I kept silence, my bones wasted away, through my groaning all the day long." Sometimes we ought to be silent to God. This is the wise thing to do when sore trials are upon us, and we do not know what to do. "I was silent; I would not open my mouth, for You are the one who has done this!" There is a great blessing in such silence to God. It brings peace, joy, comfort. It means a submission to God's will—in time of suffering. But here is a silence to God, which does not bring blessing—silence about our sins. Unconfessed sins cause only bitterness and sorrow.
David's language here tells the sad story of the days when he kept silent about his guilt, when he tried to hide it, when he made no confession, was not penitent. It was almost a year. He went on with his work, keeping up the external show of royal honor, probably even engaging outwardly in the worship of God. But he could not put away the consciousness of his sins. This memory stayed on his mind and saddened every joy, embittered every sweet, and shadowed the face of God. His very body suffered, and his heart kept crying out continually. It will never do just to keep quiet about our sins and try to hide them and forget them. We should never keep silent to God, even a moment about any sin we have committed. We should tell Him at once—the evil thing we have done.
"Then I acknowledged my sin to You and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the LORD'— and You forgave the guilt of my sin!" The moment David confessed his sins, back on the very echo of his liturgy of penitence, came the blessed assurance of pardon. "I have sinned" — "The Lord has also put away your sin." "I will confess" — "You forgave."
So we learn the only way to get forgiven of our sins—we must put them out of our heart—into the hands of God, by sincere and humble confession, and by true repentance. Then they will trouble us no more forever.
Some people try to hide away from God when they have sinned—but this also is a vain effort. Adam and Eve tried this, hiding in the garden after their transgression, when they heard the footsteps of God approaching. But God called them and brought them out before His face to confess their sin. The only safe flight for the sinner from sin and from God—is to God. In the divine mercy and beneath the cross of Christ—there is secure and eternal refuge.