The Bitter Price of Secret Sin

David's celebration of God's forgiveness takes a dark turn as he recalls his anguished past. He remembers—perhaps accompanied by a gloomy minor key—the days of misery he spent in the isolation of secret sin.

Reflection on Past Sins

When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away
Through my groaning all day long.
For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;
My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. Selah.
I acknowledged my sin to You,
And my iniquity I did not hide;
I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD";
And You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah. (32:3–5)

David takes us back to those tragic days when he refused to acknowledge his wrong (32:3-4). These amazing lyrics describe what went on inside the composer during his tormented days of unconfessed sin. He admits that "keeping silent" about his sin cost him dearly. He paid a bitter price to preserve his secret. The inner conflict brought on a psychosomatic illness. His tormented mind, wracked with mental and emotional conflict—his refusal to deal completely and honestly with sin—caused several physical ailments.

  • His "body wasted away."
  • He groaned "all day long."
  • He endured this "day and night."
  • His "vitality (literally 'sap, juices') drained away."
  • He had a "fever heat" like the hot summer.

Abruptly, he adds Selah—pause and consider!

Obviously, during that miserable period of time, God's hand was heavy upon him. In the words of Proverbs 13:15, "The way of the treacherous is hard." Like a tree trying to survive without water from refreshing rains, David was utterly miserable and became spiritually barren in this sinful state.

Finally, David found relief through confession (Psalm 32:5). Without restraint he poured out his sinful condition. Don't miss the progression:

  • I acknowledged my sin.
  • My iniquity I did not hide.
  • I will confess my transgressions.
  • You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah.

Like a cool, cleansing shower on a hot, sweaty day, God's forgiveness washed away not only David's sins but also silenced his tormenting guilt. The Lord penetrated into the depths of the poet's inner being to provide that magnificent relief only He can bring: PEACE. God forgave completely because David confessed completely.

If you are harboring some sin, if you are keeping hidden a few secret regions of wrong, then don't expect to enjoy freedom from guilt. There is an unspoken principle that runs through the pages of Scripture like a scarlet thread: Secret sin cannot coexist with inner peace. Peace returns only when our sins are fully confessed and forsaken. Few grinds are more galling than the grind of an agitated, tormented conscience. It's awful! And few joys are more relieving than having our sins forgiven.

Charles R. Swindoll Tweet This

From Living the Psalms  by Charles R. Swindoll, copyright © 2012. Reprinted by permission of Worthy Inspired, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

Christmas items