This is one of the penitential psalms. It speaks of sin, guilt, the miserable state of sinners. But it also thanks God for the gift of forgiveness.
The prayer begins with the word “happy” or “blessed.” Both translations are found. “Happy” indicates good fortune and joy. “Blessed” implies God’s loving gift. The psalmist rejoices that God has taken away his sin.
The description is quite graphic (and maybe we have felt this way in some not-too-happy moments of our life): “As long as I kept silent [that is, not owning up to my sins], my bones wasted away;/ I groaned all the day. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me.”
Relief came only when “I declared my sin to you.” There is nothing like confession to clear the mind and unburden the heart.
Then we hear the words, probably uttered by a temple priest to the psalmist and all who are listening: “Many are the sorrows of the wicked,/ but love surrounds those who trust in the LORD.” Indeed, the sinner is now in good standing before God: “Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you just;/ exult, all you upright of heart.”
What a beautiful turn-around! The miserable sinner is now a saint.