Psalm 19:12,13 –
- But who can discern his errors ?
Clear thou me from hidden faults.
Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins;
let them not have dominion over me !
Then I shall be blameless,
and innocent of great transgression.
Have you ever had the experience of being in a room in your home when a single shaft of bright sunlight shines into it? You've always assumed that the room was clean but the sunlight reveals tiny particles of dust everywhere.
Earlier in this Psalm the writer had spoken of God's revelation of himself in nature, especially in the sun. Here as he thinks about Scripture, the image of the sun may well be in his mind again. God's Word is like a piercing ray of light: it conveys truth but it also shows up everything in our lives which is not clean. Hence the paradox that it is often the most saintly people, the people who are closest to God, who are most aware of their failings.
Again and again, as we read God's Word, we become aware of our own shortcomings and failures. We all have "hidden faults" – failings that we drift into without being aware of it. And certainly we all have "presumptuous sins" – failings that arise from our stubborn conviction that we know best and we can lead our own lives without reference to God. The correct response to the realization of our failings is not to give way to despair but to seek God's forgiveness to free us from the guilt of sin, and his help to free us from the power of sin.
Prayer: O Lord, you know our faults and failings better even than we know them ourselves. Grant us your forgiveness for the sins that have marred our lives in the past, and the help of your Holy Spirit in combating the power of sin in the future. Amen.