The Global Positioning System (GPS) that enables electronic car navigation to work properly has a feature that is comparable to forgiveness. Once a destination has been identified and a route planned, GPS recalculates the route if the driver get’s off course.
David used three key words in Psalm 32 related to navigation, imputeth, transgression, and iniquity, that describe how God’s forgiveness works. David said, “Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity” (Psalm 32:2). The word translated imputeth, châshab (khaw – shab´) “signifies a mental process whereby some course is planned or conceived” (2803). When God charts the course of a person’s life, it is similar to entering an address into a navigation system. Once the coordinates are locked in, the system makes adjustments as necessary.
As with reaching a desired destination in traffic, life sometimes causes us to intentionally veer off course. David said, “I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD” (Psalm 32:5). The word translated transgressions, pesha‘ (peh´ – shah) signifies a revolt, “a willful rebellion from a prescribed or agreed upon path” (6588). Sin and transgression are sometimes used interchangeably to describe an offense against God. The important thing to note is that these words do not represent mistakes, like taking a wrong turn, they describe actions that are taken that ignore or circumvent the course that God has charted for us.
Occasionally, due to an accident or road construction, we are forced to take an alternate route. Iniquity is an alternate route that we take because we choose or want to avoid reaching our destination. David said, “I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid” (Psalm 32:5). The word translated iniquity, ‘avôwn (aw – vone´) portrays sin as “a perversion of life (a twisting out of the right way)” (5771). When David said that he had not hid his iniquity, he was not talking about it being hidden from God because that would be impossible. David had been deceiving himself, he thought that because he had Uriah killed in battle (2 Samuel 11:15), he was not guilty of murder. David’s navigation system tried to tell him he was going the wrong way, but his iniquity caused him to turn it off, so he didn’t have to listen to its annoying reminders.
After Nathan the prophet confronted him, David said, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered” (Psalm 32:1). Nathan did not tell David he had sinned. David knew he had sinned before Nathan came to see him. God sent Nathan to tell David to turn his navigation system back on so God could start giving him directions again and correct his course. That’s what it means to be forgiven.