Confession Songs

The book of Psalms include some of the deepest, most desperate confessions of sin found in Scripture. The poetic lyrics, and presumably the key of the music, communicate with precise form both the heaviness of conviction and the relief of forgiveness. No man is permitted into God’s presence unless his sin is pardoned, so it is not surprising to find these confession songs as part of the congregations’s worship.

King David, a man known for his musical skill and for his disastrous sin, wrote in Psalm 32:

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
(Psalms 32:1–2)

“Transgression” concerns revolt or rebellion against God’s law. “Sin” emphasizes missing the mark, failing to live up to God’s law. And “iniquity” stresses a twisting away or deviation from God’s law. All three make a man guilty. David describes forgiveness as a great blessing,

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. Selah
(Psalms 32:3–4)

God sees, God knows, and God humbles those who attempt to cover their sin with silence rather than have it covered by His sacrifice. Sturdy bones “waste away,” they are worn out through “groaning.” The groaning results from God’s “heavy hand,” His personal pressing on the hearts of His people. Why does He do that? Because they can’t be happy/blessed unless their sin is acknowledged, atoned for, and absolved. God will reprove us unto repentance so that we can worship in His presence where there is fullness of joy.