I turn to you, Lord, in time of trouble, and you fill me with the joy of salvation
This is one of the seven “penitential psalms’ in the Psalter. It is a prayer of thanksgiving for the removal of sins.
Turn to God for Restoration from Sin
by Michal Hunt (Agape Bible Study)
The psalm is attributed to King David after God forgave him of his sin of adultery with Bathsheba, which led to her husband’s arranged death (2 Sam chapter 11 and 12:13). It is the second of the seven Penitential Psalms of the Church (see Pss 6; 32; 38; 51; 102; 130 and 143). The psalmist does not claim to be innocent of his sin. He expresses his repentance and the covering of his guilt through the sacrificial blood ritual of the sin sacrifice (Lev 4:27-35). Through God’s representative, the priest, he makes his offering to God, seeking atonement for his sin and receiving, in God’s name, the priest’s pronouncement of forgiveness (Lev 4:35b). Sin is in both the act and its injurious consequences. The forgiveness comes not through the sacrifice of the animal itself but the humble contrition of the penitent sinner (Ps 51:18-19). The psalmist acknowledges that blessed is the person who experiences God’s mercy and forgiveness (verses 1-2), which allows him to approach God with a sincere heart (verses 5, 11).
In the Church’s Penitential Psalms, we celebrate the happiness of the person who acknowledges that God forgives his sins through the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. However, Christ’s blood does not merely cover our sins (as in the old covenants) but washes us clean and restores us to fellowship with God and the community of the faithful. In this connection, Church Father and Archbishop of Constantinople St. John Chrysostom (c. 344/354-407) wrote, quoting from Psalm 32:5 ~ “Shall I remind you of the different paths of repentance? For there are many, each distinct and different, and they all lead to heaven. The first way of penance consists in the accusation and acknowledgment of sin […] For this reason, the psalmist says: ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord, and you forgave the guilt of my sin.’ Therefore, if you condemn in yourself the deed by which you gave offense, the confession will obtain your pardon before the Lord; for the one who condemns his offense makes it more difficult for himself to commit that sin again. Ensure that your conscience is always alert: it will be your private prosecutor, and then there will be no one else to accuse you before the tribunal of God. This is the first and best path of penitence” (De diabolo tentatore, 6).