What does Psalm 32:4 mean?
ESV: For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah
NIV: For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.
NASB: For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality failed as with the dry heat of summer. Selah
CSB: For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was drained as in the summer's heat. Selah
NLT: Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. Interlude
KJV: For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah.
NKJV: For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah
Verse Commentary:
Believers who sin experience "conviction:" God's spiritual reminder, associated with guilt, which makes a person aware of their own wrongdoing (John 16:8). Those who have placed their faith in Christ (John 3:36) can admit their sin and repent (1 John 1:8–10), being assured that in Christ they have complete forgiveness. Their fellowship with God can be restored. Until then, God's discipline can come in many forms, including the physical and emotional burdens of conviction (Revelation 3:19).

God's hand weighed heavily on David, because of his grievous sin (2 Samuel 11—12). Just as scorching heat and sunlight can shrivel a plant, David's physical stamina vanished. Instead of being full of energy and physical prowess (Psalm 144:1), David felt like a withered old man. God was convicting David of his sin, but David refused to repent. According to Psalm 51:12 he lost the joy of his salvation.

Today, when a believer sins, the Holy Spirit convicts with the purpose of inspiring repentance and confession. Fortunately, our God is a pardoning God. Micah 7:18 assures us He pardons iniquity and passes over transgression. First John 1:9 encourages believers to confess their sins, because God is "faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
Verse Context:
Psalm 32:1–4 expresses David's relief and happiness once God forgave his sin (Psalm 51:1). He recalls the misery he felt when he refused to acknowledge and confess his wrongdoing. David's resistance to admitting his sin imposed dire consequences: physical distress and relentless conviction. This is one of the ways in which God communicates to His believers when they need to repent of sin.
Chapter Summary:
This psalm follows a progression of David's own experience: from the pressure of resisting confession, to the relief of being forgiven, to a renewed appreciation of God's graciousness for His people. David notes that being forgiven of sin is a great blessing, and those who resist repentance are delaying that restoration. He reflects on his own experience with stubbornness and encourages all people to seek God in sincerity.
Chapter Context:
Psalm 32 follows David's confession of the sins of adultery and murder. Psalm 51 records his initial response when confronted by the prophet Nathan. The background of David's sin, Nathan's rebuke, and the aftermath are found in 2 Samuel 11—12. For some undisclosed time, David refused to acknowledge his sin, but when he finally confessed it, the Lord graciously forgave him.
Book Summary:
The book of Psalms is composed of individual songs, hymns, or poems, each of which is a ''Psalm'' in and of itself. These works contain a wide variety of themes. Some Psalms focus on praising and worshipping God. Others cry out in anguish over the pain of life. Still other Psalms look forward to the coming of the Messiah. While some Psalms are related, each has its own historical and biblical context.
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