“Clear Me from Hidden Faults”
Psalm 19: 7-14, August 19, 2018
Sermon by Margot Celeste Bennett
7 The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the decrees of the Lord are sure, making wise the simple;
8 the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is clear, enlightening the eyes;
9 the fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey, and drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
12 But who can detect their errors? Clear me from hidden faults.
13 Keep back your servant also from the insolent; do not let them have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
Search me, O God, and know my heart today;
I praise you, Lord, for cleansing me from sin;
Try me, my Redeemer, know my thoughts, I pray.
Fulfill your promise and make me pure within.
See if there is some unclean way in me;
Fill me with fire, where once I burned with shame;
Cleanse me from my sin and set me free. In Jesus name I pray.
“Clear Me from Hidden Faults”
Anyone know someone who is unhappy or even miserable all the time? Of course, you do. I think we all could name at least one person who seems to be dissatisfied all the time. What if that person you know is you?
The answer is: Meditate on the law of the Lord day and night (Psalm 1:1–3). So, for the sake of your joy and your prayers I want to encourage you develop an unshakable commitment to being in the Word of God every day. To encourage and inspire you to do that, I want to look at verses 7–14 of Psalm 19. The point of this text as I see it is this: Because the Scriptures open us the Word of the Lord – the communication of the living God – they have effects on us that are better than the effects of anything else we can read or study or watch or listen to.
David’s Six-fold Repetition
In verse 7 we hear “The law of the Lord is perfect, …the testimony of the lord is sure…” Verse 8 goes on to state, “The statutes of the Lord are right, … The commandment of the Lord is pure…” and finally in Verse 9 we hear “The fear of the lord is clean, … The judgements of the Lord are true…” Six times David uses the phrase “of the Lord,” that is, God who says, “I am who I am” and there is no other. The God who created all that is and holds it in being, and who understands everything in the universe from galaxies to the Higgs Boson is our God and The God we love and trust.
The New Testament Teaching
The New Testament confirms David’s teaching. Paul says in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All scripture is inspired by God and is profitable . . . ” “Inspired by God!” Peter says in 2 Peter 1:20–21, “No prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit. Jesus himself said in John 10:35, “The word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken.” The Scriptures are here to teach us the Word of God.
God understands us better than anyone else. He knows how we get to be the way we are and how we are affected by our surroundings. God knows the future and how everything will come out in the end. God is more caring than any counselor. God is more creative than any poet or artist.
The Good Effects of Meditating on the Word of God
A general statement is found in the first part of verse 10 and the last part of verse 11. David says first in verse 10 that the words of God are “more to be desired than gold, even much fine gold.” And then at the end of verse 11, “In keeping of them there is great reward.”
If you have a choice between God and GOLD, choose God. The point is clear. The benefits of knowing and doing what God expects of us are greater than all that money can buy.
The Specific Benefits of the Word of God
So, what are some these benefits? What is this “great reward” that verse 11 is talking about that makes meditating on the Word of God so much better than much fine gold?
It seems to me that what David says can be boiled down to three benefits: life, wisdom, and happiness. Miserable people don’t prevail in the right spirit, but that God is the key to prevailing in prayer for the right things in the right spirit because it makes foolish people wise, and miserable people happy. Let’s look at these one at a time.
The Benefit of Life
Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone but [shall LIVE] by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). This is why he was fasting for 40 days—to learn as a man the radical need for God and the only relative need for food by man. Food can only give physical life. But God gives spiritual life, life that never ends, life which is life indeed.
You cannot maintain dynamic, powerful, vibrant life in God if you neglect God, because “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.”
Our life begins with God and we stay alive by God. If we abandon God, we will die spiritually. And this dying is very devious because its chief symptom is the denial that it is happening. Only God gives the life which matters in the end. The law of the Lord revives the soul. God has made it the means of life. Without it we perish.
The Benefit of Wisdom
We see this in the second half of verse 7: “The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple”; and the second half of verse 8: “The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.”
A wise person is a person whose life makes sense in the enlightenment of reality. So for example, self-denial will look foolish and collecting “stuff” on earth will look wise only if you are in the dark about the reality of heaven (Luke 12:33) and the danger of riches (Mark 10:25) and the rewards of sacrifice (Matthew 19:29). But if you live in the light of the reality of heaven and the staggering rewards of sacrifice, then it makes sense to obey the command of the Lord to deny yourself for His sake. It is the path of wisdom.
And where is the light of reality shining? Where do we go to get out of the darkness? God is the Essential Reality. Everything disconnected from God is unreal in the way it was meant to function. Therefore, a life without God is an unreal life.
How do you escape the darkness? The commandment of the Lord gives light to the eyes. The testimony of the Lord makes wise the simple. Wisdom is a life that makes sense in the light of reality. And the light of reality shines from the Holy Spirit.
The Benefit of Joy
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.
What are these errors and hidden faults? Most of us are reticent to admit our errors and faults especially hidden faults? Not me!!!! Sure, people will admit to minor errors and simple faults. Often making a joke out of them as if they’re unimportant. No one is blameless.
One huge error we often make several times a day are the sins of presumption. What does that mean? It means that we will make judgements about people, things, places or situations where we have no basis in truth, yet we know for a fact that we are right. I’ll give you a personal example: I have an antler from a mule deer I picked up in Jackson Hole Wyoming in 1997. I have been dragging the huge antler with me everywhere I have been since. One day very recently I found a use for it and went out to the garage to look for it because that’s where it always was. I couldn’t find it after looking everywhere. Then I thought, maybe it was stolen. The maybe turned into a fact it was stolen. Who would be so low as to steal my antler? The Water heater guy! I left him alone for ten minutes or so and that was plenty of time for him to grab it and toss it in his truck. By the time I was finished I knew for a fact that the magnificent antler was stolen and who the likely culprit was. I presumed quite a bit didn’t I. I made up an entire history and became angry, and then I thought, maybe he needed it more that I did. After a few days I let it go and used some cedar driftwood for my project instead. For those few days though, I remained angry and allowed it to get to me. Can anyone relate?
A few weeks later Connie and I were looking for a specific box. After searching the house, I decided to go check the attic because you never know. Upon climbing half way up the ladder guess what was sitting right in front of me on the ledge. A mule deer antler. Boy did I feel dumb. I put it there and forgot all about doing so. Romans 8:28 – “God works all things together for good for those who love him and who are called according to his purpose.” Oh, I found the box we were looking for too.
Hidden faults. Most of those aren’t really hidden. They’re ignored as faults. Most of those aren’t really hidden. They’re just ignored as faults. When I first read this Psalm, I was struck by the: “Clear thou me my hidden faults.” My first thought was, I didn’t have any hidden faults. My ego is as large as the Grand Canyon. I know what my faults are. But the more I thought about it the more it came clear that my hidden faults are obvious if I just open my eyes and admit them to myself. Since then I’ve tried to identify them as they have come up and work through my faults. It is slow and very hard work. Very often I find myself praying, asking The Lord to “Help me with this!”
Hidden faults are sneaky and insidious. Does anyone know a person who always must be right no matter what, and never once considers the possibility of giving the other person or persons the right to be wrong? These people never seem to be very happy, do they? There’s a thought, Give the other person the right to be wrong.
How many of us know that person that everything happens to? “Why does this always happen to me?” I find these people to be miserable all the time. The truth is bad or inconvenient things happen to people for two reasons. One reason is they just make bad decisions and must suffer the consequences of those decisions. They want to do things their way and ignore God and the good the God has in mind for them. The other reason is, and I’m sorry to say this because you don’t want to hear it, but it’s just your turn. “Stuff” just happens. It happens to everyone. It’s not what happens to us, but how we deal with it that makes all the difference in a happy, hope filled and faithful life, or a miserable life.
I hope I’ve given you a few things to think about and I wish you nothing but peace, happiness and joy.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.