When iniquities prevail against me,
you atone for our transgressions.
Blessed is the one you choose and bring near,
to dwell in your courts!
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,
the holiness of your temple! || Psalm 65.3-4
David knows poignantly the plight of the human soul- the plight of our iniquities. He speaks of the iniquities which “prevail” against him, and in this context he is not singing of the sins of others that have inflicted pain in his life. He is locked in on the dark reality of his own iniquity. He is not thinking as the self-justifying Pharisee in Luke 18, but rather, as the tax-collector who cried unto God, “Be merciful to me, a sinner.”
He does not rest upon his reputation, his earthly power as King of Judah, nor even the positive portions of his history of devotion to God. He acknowledges that there are yet “iniquities” which “prevail against” him— his own iniquities.
However, he knows also the only remedy for his sin. “You atone for our transgressions.” David was a man who had tasted the remarkable sweetness and power of the Gospel, centuries before the mystery of its light had been revealed and articulated in Christ (Rom. 16.25-26). He had only one direction in which to turn for the answer to his plight— to the One Who atones for the transgressions of those Whom He loves. And in that acknowledgement, he was made ineffably happy.
Blessed is the one You choose and bring near,
to dwell in Your courts!
It was better for David to dwell for one day in the courts of the God Who atones, than to spend a thousand life-times in the presence of earthly potentates and all the pleasures that accompany such company.
“Blessed is the one…” To be “blessed” is not a cheap religious cliche, it is to be happy beyond measure; “Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” (Ps. 32.1) Happy beyond measure because the iniquity which he could not purify nor scrub out by any means within himself had been atoned for; “forgiven” and “covered” by the very One against whom the offenses had been committed.
He recognized that it was God’s own choice to “bring” him “near”, that he might “dwell” in the very “courts” of the Lord Himself. The ineffable happiness flowed then from two realizations: First, that his iniquities had been washed away. Second, that this God of holiness had ever-so-kindly led him to repentance and faith, for He had chosen to bring the otherwise iniquity-laden and disqualified Psalmist near to Himself.
Through the atonement, through God’s choice of the sinner on the basis of His own infinite mercies, there is a blessedness, an unparalleled happiness which ensues. The Psalmist desired to remember it morning by morning with palpable faith, for surely the sense of his iniquities would continue to hound him without it. There could only be one answer to his ongoing malady, his daily battle against the pride of life and the lusts of the flesh, only one way to remain in the happy state of vibrant faith and holy fear: “I must remember the One Who makes atonement, the One Who has chosen to bring me near!”
All the treasures of this world could not produce in the ancient King what this truth established in him— a holy satisfaction in the goodness and holiness of God, which was to be known, treasured, and enjoyed by David’s experience of “dwelling” in His courts; that is, finding his own place in the very house of God, that house which, apart from God’s mercy, he could not even think to enter, much less to dwell. Thus he would be satisfied, and in this way only.
He knew that it was not his own doing. It was the work of the God who atones, the One who chooses to bring us near to Himself.
This, then, is how you ought to bring your broken frame to God, morning by morning, evening by evening. The one who says he has no sin makes God out to be a liar, says the apostle of old (1 Jn. 1.10). But when we come before the Throne acknowledging our very present iniquities, even those which we cannot perceive, we come upon the ground of truth. When we look to him with the faith of a child, we see Him as the One Who atones for our transgressions; the One who has chosen to bring us near, to satisfy us with the “goodness” of His house and the “holiness” of His temple— to satisfy us with Himself.
In this faith is our adoption, our justification, our sanctification, our glorification, and the “everlasting joy” which can only be discovered in the One Who hung upon the tree to “bring us near.” In the final analysis, the purpose of the Atonement is not only that we should be made clean, but that we should be “reconciled to God,” and experience the glories of eternal life. And “this is eternal life, that they might know You, the One true God, and Jesus the Messiah Whom You have sent.” (Jn. 17.3)
“He answers the need of your soul. You are all guilt; He is a fountain to wash you. You are all naked; He has a wedding garment to cover you. You are dead; He is the Life. You are all wounds and bruises; He is the Balm of Gilead.” || Robert Murray McCheyne
He is the One who calls to us now, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”
“I will satisfy you” in the goodness and holiness of My House.
So do we find our place in Your house, O God. So do we dwell in that precious place. Teach us to abide in Your Son, the Atonement Lamb, that our joy would be full in your “goodness” and “holiness.” Conform us to the image of Christ upon that foundation, and cause Your Light to shine through us to a world which yet lies under the power of the evil one. Bring many sons to glory through a people who know what it means to be satisfied in You. Amen.