The Mississippi Baptist Foundation  |  est. 1943  |  Psalm 24:1
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“Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults.

Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me.

Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression.

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart

be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer”

(Psalm 19:12-14)

          In response to a question from his father regarding the different meanings of a traffic light’s three colors, the popular “theologian,” Dennis the Menace, correctly indicated that the red light meant “Stop!” and the green light permitted drivers to “Go!” When Dennis’ proud father asked about the yellow light, Dennis quickly added, “Yellow means hurry up, you might just make it.”
          In verses 7-10 of Psalm 19, the psalmist eloquently described the value of God’s word, the law, for giving instruction for proper living. In verse 11, he declared that by God’s word, we are warned. Although we are given a caution light, however, we often ignore the warnings.  Eventually, we tend to become colorblind to the impurities that pervade society and influence our decisions, viewpoints, and actions. Yellow becomes like green and encourages us to “keep on trucking” until we reach the point that red and green are interchangeable according to our own whims and desires.
          Recognizing the dangers and difficulties associated with a sinful lifestyle, the psalmist offered a prayer for God to assist him win the battle for purity in his life (19:12-14). Incorporating this color-coded prayer into your prayer life will serve as a guide for establishing and maintaining purity before God.
          The first light is yellow: “Lord, slow me down and pardon me from the blindness of my sin” (19:12). Concerned that sin could escape one’s notice or knowledge, the psalmist asked in rhetorical fashion “Who can discern his errors?” (NIV, NASB) or “How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart?” (NLT).
          The answer to the question would be “no one can…” (TEV) apart from a relationship with God. The psalmist was not in denial regarding sin. Rather, he made an honest appeal to God who looks beyond the exterior to the depths of one’s heart (1 Samuel 16:7) for guidance.
          The psalmist sought a pardon from “hidden faults” or “secret sins.” The psalmist knew that ignorance was not a valid defense and that inadvertent, or non-deliberate, sins required atonement (Lev. 4:2-35). Rather than try to play a game of “Hide and Seek” from God, the psalmist made an earnest attempt to be obedient by humbly asking God to reveal sin (Psalm 139:23-24) and to “pardon me from the blindness to my sin.”
          The red light means “stop” and thus the psalmist prayed… “Lord, stop me and protect me from the boldness of my sin” (19:13ab). The psalmist prayed the he be “kept back” from intentional and willful sinning. The word translated “presumptuous/willful” is used to denote godless, arrogant, rebellious man. “Lord, protect me from my bold, presumptuous, rebellious march into wickedness and ungodliness.”
          The psalmist prayed that these presumptuous sins would “not rule over me.” Like the request presented in the great hymn “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling,” the psalmist asked the Lord to take away his bent to sinning so that sin would not dictate his life and have dominion over him.  With the psalmist, all of us should pray that the red light would be placed in a prominent place where we will see it and be “kept back” from presumptuous, willful, and intentional sin.
          The green light concludes the prayer on a positive note as the psalmist prayer “Lord, prepare me to be blameless before you” (19:13c-14). The psalmist desired to be complete in his relationship with God. Once pardoned from “hidden faults” and protected (“kept back”) from “presumptuous/willful sins,” the psalmist knew he would be postured for a pure relationship with God.
          “Upright” (KJV), “blameless” (NASB/NIV), and “perfect” (TEV) translate a Hebrew word meaning “complete/whole.” (cf. Noah and Job). The psalmist desired for his every action, attitude, word, and deed to be “acceptable” or “pleasing” to God.

          Not unlike the psalmist’s prayer for a pure relationship with God, the chorus to the song “Sanctuary” petitions the Lord for a pure and holy life…

Lord prepare me to be sanctuary, Pure and holy, tried and true;
With thanksgiving, I’ll be a living Sanctuary for You.

          Winning the battle for purity cannot be accomplished apart from a proper relationship with God. Such a relationship begins with an honest acknowledgement of your sinfulness, an earnest desire to change from your present approach to living, and the decision to submit in total obedience to the Lord, your refuge, your rock and your redeemer.

Dear Heavenly Father, Help me to win the battle for purity in my relationship with you. May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in your sight so that I will be a living sanctuary for you. Amen.