Daily Worship

No Hiding Place

Jane Denniston March 28, 2022 0 0
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Psalm 32 (NRSVA)

1 Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven,
    whose sin is covered.
2 Happy are those to whom the Lord imputes no iniquity,
    and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

3 While I kept silence, my body wasted away
    through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
    my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.Selah

5 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

6 Therefore let all who are faithful
    offer prayer to you;
at a time of distress, the rush of mighty waters
    shall not reach them.
7 You are a hiding-place for me;
    you preserve me from trouble;
    you surround me with glad cries of deliverance.Selah

8 I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go;
    I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
9 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.

10 Many are the torments of the wicked,
    but steadfast love surrounds those who trust in the Lord.
11 Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, O righteous,
    and shout for joy, all you upright in heart.

We are accustomed to thinking of sin as something which separates us from God, yet the implication of verse three in this Psalm (While I kept silence, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long) is that it is not only the sin itself, but the attempt to hide the sin which leads to a breakdown in our relationship with God. On the other hand, the psalmist discovers, in verse five, that in confessing the sin the relationship is restored (‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’, and you forgave the guilt of my sin.)

Consciousness of sin, consciousness of failing to live up to the call of God on our lives, can lead us to try to avoid God; trying to hide from him, although we know this is not possible. Ironically, for a soul in distress, rather than hiding from God, if we were to hide in him, we would find balm for our pain. As the Psalmist tells us, God’s forgiveness brings us to rejoicing, and our openness to God causes him to rejoice. The Psalmist points out (Psalm 139) the impossibility of hiding from God in any case, so why would we prolong our distress? And what joy it could bring us, to know that God rejoices in us.




Loving heavenly Father,

your word tells us

that where we confess our sin

you are faithful, and just, and you forgive us our sin.

Help us to recognise

that sometimes the sin lies

in not being open with you

about our faults and failings.

That sometimes, the bigger sin

is trying to do the impossible

and hide our face from you.

May we, as the hymn puts it,

lay all our thoughts open to your gaze

that you may indeed be

a hiding place for our soul, Amen

Lent Disciplines

A Symbolic Action to do sometime this week that suits you. As a time of prayer hold your hands out in front of you. Look at your left hand and take a moment to hold the things that you are grateful for. Look at your right hand and take a moment to hold the things that concern you. Then bring your hands together, fingers interlaced, to bring it all before God.