Psalms 30–31 reveal some devastating consequences of pride. Pride itself is sin, and it keeps us from admitting other sins and from enjoying the Lord’s presence and fellowship. Psalm 32 gives us the key to victory over pride—simple, heartfelt confession of our sins.
In the seventeenth century, elaborate hunting expeditions were held by the wealthy landowners. They camped out in the open during their hunt, but this wasn’t just a little tent and a campfire; they had large, elaborate tents that housed kitchens, dressing rooms, and even personal libraries. It was not unusual to bring along dozens of guests and paid musicians.
After a successful hunt, the expedition turned into a time of feasting. However, the servants were not included. While their landlords and their guests enjoyed venison, the servants were given the remaining organs of the deer, which they referred to as umbles. The umbles would be cleaned, mixed with fruit and vegetables, wrapped in dough, and then baked. It came out looking like a pie. The servants called it umble pie.
This term would change over the course of time and come to refer to someone who lived in humble circumstances. The phrase also came to refer to someone who had been caught or embarrassed because of some crime or failure. That person was said to be “eating his humble pie.”
The truth is, nobody likes to eat humble pie. For one thing, it doesn’t go down easily. I have been to a lot of restaurants over the years, and I have never seen “Humble Pie” on the menu.
It’s human nature to stay away from that stuff. To love yourself, promote yourself, advertise yourself, and defend yourself—that is a lot more appetizing than the humiliation of admitting your failure, or “eating humble pie.”
These next three psalms all deal with the subject of pride. David also describes what it means to be humbled. In fact, he reveals the joy that comes when we humble ourselves before God, confess our sin, and turn to Him.
In Psalm 30, we learn that David had sinned against the Lord. We are not exactly sure what it was, but it was related to some act or attitude of pride.
The psalm opens with David celebrating the Lord’s grace in drawing him up like a bucket from a well. He says in verse 1, “I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up.” The Lord has lifted him back up. And in verse 6 he admits that it was his pride that put him down there in the first place; he writes, “I said in my prosperity, ‘I shall never be moved.’” Well, there is the pride. Did you hear the Lord’s name in that boasting? I didn’t either.
David writes in verse 7, “Lord . . . you hid your face; I was dismayed.” He should not have been surprised by God’s reaction, but David’s pride had blinded him.
One of the warning signs that the Lord is about to give you a slice of humble pie is when you hear yourself using the words, I, me, and my. When your focus is on you, God and other people take a backseat. So, let me ask you some hard questions:
- Do you crave attention?
- Can you rejoice when someone else gets the spotlight?
- Do you have a hard time forgiving others?
- Can you easily find fault in others but cannot see any fault in yourself?
- Do you blame God or other people for the failures in your life, or can you see your own hand in them?
But let me give you the good news. David opens this psalm by celebrating the Lord's grace in drawing him back up like a bucket from a deep well. He says here in verse 1, “I will extol you, O LORD, for you have drawn me up.” David says again, here of the Lord in verse 5, “For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor [his grace] is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with a morning.” Those are great promises.
As we move into Psalm 31, David is now humble before the Lord, but pride is still lingering on his mind. He writes in verse 23: Love the Lord, all you his saints! The Lord preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.” ”—as if to say he’s gonna serve that person a slice of humble pie.
And what's the result? Well, he says back here in verse 10, “My strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away.” Listen, beloved, we waste our lives when we focus on I, me, and my. But what does it mean to demonstrate humility? What does that look like?
Well, it’s really thrilling to think that Jesus pulls verse 5 right out of this psalm, and our humble servant, the Lord Jesus, quotes it just before He dies, when He prays, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” (Luke 23:46). Then He draws His final breath and dies for your sins and mine.
Well now, following these two psalms that address the subject of pride, David gives us a personal testimony of confession in Psalm 32.
David wrote Psalm 32 in response to his adultery. His sin with Bathsheba and the arranged death of her husband were nothing less than evil manifestations of pride. David sinned greatly, but in his pride, he refused to confess his sin.
Nearly a year went by before the prophet Nathan confronted David, back in 2 Samuel chapter 12. That confrontation brought the truth to light, and David broke down in genuine repentance. Immediately following David’s admission, he wrote his confession to the Lord in Psalm 51, and we will get there soon enough. But in Psalm 51:13 David promised to teach transgressors the way of God so that sinners would return to the Lord.
Psalm 32 is the fulfillment of that promise. David is teaching us all here how to respond to sin and the pride that lurks behind every sin.
David begins by revealing to us that pride blocks the blessing of God. In the first two verses of Psalm 32, David writes:
Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit, there is no deceit.
Notice this word transgression. It means “crossing over the line,” going too far.” The word for “sin” here means “to miss the mark.” In other words, sin is missing the target of righteousness. It can also refer to realizing that you are missing something in life. Beloved, sin does not bring a sense of fulfillment; it brings a sense of emptiness. And then the Hebrew word for “iniquity” means “twisted.”
These three synonyms here—transgression, sin, and iniquity—are all rooted in pride. Just like plaque can stop the flow of blood to your heart, pride can block the flow of God’s blessing in your life.
What is the solution? David teaches us here to go to the heart Doctor—it’s time for another checkup. David writes in verse 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.”
There is nothing like the relief of confessing your sin and being forgiven by the Lord. No wonder David ends this psalm with joy in verse 11 as he celebrates a clean conscience and a clean heart: “Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous [righteous refers to being right with God] and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!”
With confession, your heart is made right. It is clean once again.
Let me encourage you with the reminder that whenever the Lord sits you down in life and serves you a piece of humble pie, it might not taste good, but it isn’t going to hurt you. It’s nonfattening. It’s actually good for you. It reminds you of your sin, but it leads you to your Savior and confession of your sin. And as you confess your sin—every day—you leave that table with a renewed sense of fellowship with the Lord and a renewed sense of joy and thanksgiving. You are ready for another day as you walk with your faithful, gracious, forgiving Redeemer and Lord.
 See David Wilton, “Humble/humble pie,” wordorigins.org, February 3, 2021.
 “The title of this psalm is subject to two interpretations. It may mean that the psalmist composed it for the occasion of the dedication of the Lord’s house. This would not be the dedication of Solomon’s temple since David had already died when Solomon dedicated it. It could mean the tent that David erected in Jerusalem to house the ark of the covenant when he brought it into the city (2 Sam. 6:17). Or perhaps this occasion was the dedication of the temple site (1 Chron. 21:26; 22:1). The Lord’s chastening of the king preceded both of these events. The writer referred to this discipline in the psalm” (Thomas Constable, Notes on Psalms, 2016 edition [Sonic Light, 2016], 88, planobiblechapel.org).
 Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Worshipful (Cook Communications, 2004), 123.