Learning from another believer’s life experience can greatly enhance our spiritual growth.  In Psalm 32, David shares from his own life: the effect of habitual sin, the result of confession, and the joy of forgiveness and fellowship with God.  Many commentators believe this Psalm would follow Psalm 51, a prayer for restoration following David’s sin with Bathsheba and murder of her husband, Uriah.


“Yes, what joy for those whose record the LORD has cleared of sin,
whose lives are lived in complete honesty!”
Psa. 32:2 NLT


1.  Read Psalm 32.  The word “transgression” means “rebellion” and “sin” means “to miss” or “to go wrong.”  According to verse 1, what has made David so abundantly blessed?   Using the definitions above, describe the changes that confession produced in David’s life.  (Note:  The word “Maskil” may mean “instruction in godliness” or “meditation.”)

2.   David’s sin is “covered.”   This means his sin is not counted against him.  How do you think God’s merciful covering of sin affected David’s thinking about his past, present, and future?

3.  David hid his sin and lived a deceitful life before God and others for at lest a year.  According to verse 2, what character quality leads to confession and the forgiveness of sin?  Why is it wise to display this quality?

4.  According to verses 3-4, what did David “intentionally” choose to do about his sin?  Describe David’s experience due to unconfessed sin.

5.  How did David describe God’s involvement?  What do you think was the purpose of God’s relentless discipline?

6.  According to verse 5, what resulted from God’s loving discipline?    How quickly did David receive forgiveness?

7.  If David had not accepted God’s forgiveness and restoration, how do you think it would have affected his life?   How would unconfessed sin affect your life?

8.  The “therefore” in verse 6 refers to David’s joy in God who is ready to forgive and restore sinners.  The NLT translates Psa. 32:6 as, “…let all the godly confess their rebellion to you while there is time, that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgment.”  How does David describe his nearness to God in verse 7?   What is the benefit of this nearness?

9.  Do you think of God in this way?  Explain.

10.  Some commentaries suggest the text in verses 8-10 switches from David’s thoughts to instruction from God, but since David assumed the role of teacher in other Psalms, it is possible that he is making the following exhortation. (See Psa. 34:11 and Psa. 51:13.)  According to verse 8, what is promised by the teacher?  You should have four answers.

11.  Explain the wisdom for living that is expressed in verse 9.  How did David’s decision to keep silent about his sin serve as an example of his illustration?

12.  Reread verses 6-7 and 10. In contrast to the despair and misery forced upon those who live wickedly by refusing to confess sin, what is promised to those who live wisely and rely upon the Lord?

13.  Reread verse 11 and verses 1-2. What is gained by those who willingly yield and submit to God and honestly confess known sin in their lives?

14.  Perhaps you are keeping silent about sin in your life.  God will forgive your sin when you honestly confess, and He will instantly restore you to fellowship.  Read 1 John 1:7, 9.

15.  Reflect on David’s testimony and exhortation in this Psalm.  From your own personal life experience, write a paragraph expressing praise for God’s forgiveness and His willingness to forget our sin.  Include New Testament references to support your story.


So rejoice in the LORD and be glad, all you who obey him!
Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!
Psa. 32:11 NLT


© Copyright 2005  Bonnie Lisech (Permission granted to copy for nonprofit use.)  Scriptures are taken from the NIV unless noted.   [email protected]

With special thanks to Jan Harris for editorial perspective and to Barb Snyder for editorial detail.


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