Dedicated to the devotional, exegetical and philosophical study of theological paradox in Conservative, Thoroughly Biblical, Historically Orthodox, Essentially Reformed theology . . . to the glory of God alone!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Psalm 32:4 - The Heavy Hand of God

For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me.

This post will deal only with the first half of verse 4. We'll take look at the second part of the verse in the next post.
Under the weight of his guilt, David felt the heavy hand of God upon him. Sin is always against God, and God is always against sin, so the responsibility for dealing with sin is God's. He is the Great Moral Judge Who writes the Law which charges us and He declares the judgment which condemns our sin. His heavy hand is a hand of stark justice, and because of our depravity we rightly feel condemned under the weight of it.
But was God's heavy hand on David ONLY exercising the justice of condemnation? Certainly not. Let us examine the ways in which it was a revelation of mercy.
First, note that it was a measured heaviness. David was not squashed under it, killed and immediately sent to hell as strict justice would have demanded. He was allowed to feel an uncomfortable pressure that was designed to lead him toward repentance. It was a display of God's patience in withholding the full judgment that was deserved.
Second, it represented the touch of God that remained on David's life. David was still in direct contact with God. God's hand was correcting, not condemning him. At this time in David's life, God's touch was heavy and severe, but it wasn't absent. God had not abandoned him to his sin.
Third, it was the beginning of God's saving work in David's behalf. What felt like a crushing weight to David was actually God's hand laying a secure hold on him in preparation for the rescue that was to follow. Those who save lives as part of their daily work understand this all too well. Rescue workers are trained to take a firm grasp of the person who is in jeopardy and hold on tenaciously. Our perseverance in faith is directly linked to God's perseverance in grace. If He ever let go of us, we would be lost. But the heavy hand is God's firm grip preparing to pull us from the clutches of sin.

Dear friend, thank God for all the conviction of sin you have ever felt. Praise Him for any sense you have ever had of the crushing weight of your iniquity. Be grateful for the humbling and humiliating knowledge of transgression that feels unbearable to you. These are indications of the glorious, heavy hand of God that refuses to leave you perishing and resists every step you take toward destruction. Do not mistake His severity for an intent to destroy. It is not for your destruction, but for your salvation that He lays a heavy hand upon you. If it was God's purpose to destroy you, He would never convict you of sin.

Calvin offers this insight: "[David] was kept down and fettered by perplexing griefs, and distracted with lingering torments, until he was well subdued and made meek, which is the first sign of seeking a remedy. And this again teaches us, that it is not without cause that the chastisements by which God seems to deal cruelly with us are repeated, and his hand made heavy against us, until our fierce pride, which we know to be un-tameable, unless subdued with the heaviest stripes, is humbled." (Comment on Psalm 32:4)

Great and merciful Lord, I thank You for the heavy hand which humbles my fierce and un-tameable pride - and draws me back to You again and again. Amen.

1 comment:

  1. "If it was God's purpose to destroy you, He would never convict you of sin."

    A huge AMEN!


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