Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Psalm 32: Confession Sustains Physical Health

KEY TEXT: Psalms 32:3-5 For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord," and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.

KEY THOT: David knew from experience that when he refused to acknowledge his sin, his "bones wasted away through my groaning all day long" and his "strength was dried up as by the heat of summer." In other words, he experiences physical deterioration so long as he refuses to acknowledge his sins. Scripture teaches us that there is a direct soul-body connection. This has been confirmed by medical science: when our thought life is filled with guilt and self-condemnation, it causes the brain memory to become toxic. This toxic memory is translated by the hypothalamus into stress chemicals that undermine the immune system as production of white blood cells from the bone marrow is compromised as the bones are "wasted away through my groaning all day long".  

In other words, a prolonged period of groaning caused by guilt and self-condemnation due to unconfessed sins produces physical damage and diseases in our body. In order to maintain physical health, we must guard our mental state, by ensuring that no toxic memory are allowed to be formed in our brain. If we do not clear such toxic emotions as guilt and self-condemnation from our memory quickly, our body will pay the price of deterioration and disease due to a weakened immune system.

So David makes it a point to clear himself of toxic memory by first acknowledging his sin to God: "I acknowledged my sin to you; I did not cover my iniquity" (v.5). And he goes further than that--he confesses them and thereby experiences God's forgiveness and cleansing: "I said, I will confess my transgressions to the Lord, and you forgave the iniquity of my sin" (Psalms 32:5). The promise of forgiveness and cleansing through confession is not just a NT principle of grace, but it is also bound up in the OT too, for it is too based on grace.

But health is just one aspect of the blessings of confession. David lists other blessings associated with cleansing from sins through confession:
  • Firstly, we will know God as our hiding place as He preserves us from trouble and surrounds us with shouts of deliverance (v.6-7).
  • Secondly, we will experience God's personal guidance as He directs us in the way we should go. He will counsel us gently with his "eye upon you"(v.8-9). 
  • Thirdly, we will enjoy God's steadfast love towards us as we trust in Him, leading to joy and rejoicing. And when we sing and shout for joy, we build positive memory in our brain that will release health-giving chemicals like serotonin and dopamine. In place of stress, we will experience righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
All these blessings will flow from God to us as we acknowledge and confess our sins to clear toxic stress in our soul-body system.

Father, thank You that You have made us whole beings, that our thought-life affects our bodily health. May You cleanse us from all toxic thoughts in our mind, so that our body and bones may be kept in peak condition of good health. Amen.

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