The Repentance of King David
David's prayer for a pure heart and life
"Who can understand his (man's) errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; Let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, and I shall be innocent of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer." Psalm 19:12-14
David is asking God to cleanse him from secret faults. What are secret faults? One commentary speaks of secret sins as "faults hidden to ourselves and even to others but not to God. Sin is sin, even if we are ignorant of it. So our confession should always cover hidden sins." (William McDonald).
David also mentions presumptuous sins. Again, what is meant by presumptuous sins? Webster's defines "presumptuous" as "unduly confident or bold; forward." Boiling it down it's pride and arrogance. Everyone, even humble people, are guilty of pride in some form. Maybe not arrogance, but any garden variety of pride. How does pride manifest? Too many ways and too little room for every one, but here are a few:
- Thinking you are better, more spiritual, not as bad as, someone else.
- Thinking your way of thinking and your ideas are better and than others, and that you have it all figured out.
- Unwilling, even in a seemingly humble way, to get help, reach out, admit that there is a problem, or are too embarrassed or ashamed to do these things.
But back to David's prayer. He is covering all his bases here as he prays for God to cleanse him and deliver him from these kinds of sins. When he says, "Let them not have dominion over me," he, in absolute humility, is acknowledging to God that these sins have indeed had dominion over him, and he doesn't want them in his life anymore. He is saying, in effect, "God, I want you to be my God, not these sins." Good for him. May it also be with me and you!
Finally, the conclusion of his prayer, Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my" strength and my Redeemer." is revealing of his heart; his desire is to be humble, pure in heart and actions, especially his words, and honoring and pleasing to God. His final words, "O Lord, my strength and my redeemer" is validating and acknowledging his dependence on God's strength, and God is indeed our Redeemer. Amen.
© 2010 Lori Colbo