Posted in theology

Confess early, confess often

By Elizabeth Prata

You might have heard of that phrase, ‘vote early and vote often.’ Wikipedia describes its origins and meaning:

Vote early and vote often is a generally tongue-in-cheek phrase used in relation to elections and the voting process. Though rarely considered a serious suggestion, the phrase theoretically encourages corrupt electoral activity, but is used mostly to suggest the occurrence of such corruption. 

The phrase had its origins in the United States in the mid-19th century, and had an early appearance in Britain when a newspaper reprinted correspondence from an American solicitor. The phrase, however, did not find widespread use until the early 1900s when it was used in relation to the activities of organized crime figures in Chicago. 

I was reading Psalm 32 yesterday. David’s fervor for the Lord surely comes through in reading successive Psalms, doesn’t it! In addition, verse1-6 really spoke to me.

David knew that confession was critical to his walk with the LORD. He notes that when he kept his sin to himself, it afflicted him physically and physiologically. Only when he confessed he found relief.

In other Psalms David begs the LORD not to turn His face away, nor to take His Spirit from David. David knew that the Spirit was a gift that could be taken away from him, as often happened in the Old Testamnt. The Lord’s Spirit and presence left the Temple. The Spirit was given to men in the later chapters of the Exodus in order to complete artisinal work for the Temple artifacts (Exodus 31). The Spirit departed from Saul (1 Samuel 16:14). The Spirit had a different ministry then and worked in different ways, that were not always solely salvific. So, David pleaded not tohave the Spirit removed (thus signifying God’s blessing was removed). He waa eager to repent so that he would maintain tghe gift of relationship with the Holy LORD.

I was curious about the line in verse 6, “Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found;”

What does that mean? It means when we feel a conviction of sin, to confess then. Do not let it wait. Hebrews 3:13 reminds us of that-

But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

Barnes’ Notes further explains:

It does not mean that there were appointed or set times in which God would be gracious; or that there were seasons when he was disposed to “give audience” to people, and seasons when he could not be approached; but the meaning is, that whenever they came thus – with this penitent feeling, and this language of confession – they would find that the time of mercy. The idea is not that God is anymore disposed to show mercy at one time than another, but that they would find him “always” ready to show mercy when they came in that manner: that would be the time to obtain his favor; “that the time of finding.” The real time of “mercy,” therefore, for a sinner, is the time when he is willing to come as a penitent, and to make confession of sin.

Our fervor to confess should be vigorous and constant. I personally think many churches today and the wider church globally downplays confession and sin. We aren’t really treated to sermons that pound our heart with conviction of sin’s deceitfulness in men and confession’s importance to God.

In other words, to take the phrase I opened the essay with and twist it to make my point: confess early and confess often.

Psalm 32

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
    whose sin is covered.
2 Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,
    and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

3 For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
    through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
    my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah

5 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. Selah

6 Therefore let everyone who is godly
    offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found;
surely in the rush of great waters,
    they shall not reach him.
7 You are a hiding place for me;
    you preserve me from trouble;
    you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah

8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
    I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
9 Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
    which must be curbed with bit and bridle,
    or it will not stay near you.

10 Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
    but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord.
11 Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous,
    and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

Further resources

Sermons on the Psalms by Phil Johnson

Learning to Love the Psalms By W. Robert Godfrey



Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.

2 thoughts on “Confess early, confess often

  1. I used to live in Chicago, and I voted regularly (but only once per election). I sometimes wonder if I am recorded as still voting regularly in Chicago.
    Confession truly is an important part of our relationship with God. God doesn’t need our confessions, but we need them. God promises to forget our sins (Jeremiah 31:34, among others), but he forgets best when we remember and confess. J.

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.