In Search of Hidden Faults (Psalm 19:12)

But who can discern their own errors?
Forgive my hidden faults. (Psalm 19:12)

Don’t you just hate those people who stand up in church and declare themselves as the chief of all sinners. I mean, really, does anybody believe either the Apostle Paul or John Bunyan when they call themselves “the chief of all sinners?” I find myself, when listening to such people, rolling my eyes and thinking, “Okay, if you are the chief of all sinners, what does that make me?”

Seriously, I don’t do that, because I understand the process that leads somebody to say such a thing. The more closely I look at myself, the more clearly I can see my sins. At about the time that I seem to have some big sin under control, I become aware of five other ones, equally nauseating by God’s standards, that still lurk beneath the surface. I set to work on those sins, only to uncover still further ones. When I lie upon my deathbed, I’m convinced that I’ll leave certain sins, certain hidden faults, unseen, unacknowledged, and untreated.

As David comes toward his close in this magnificent psalm, he moves from the entire cosmos at the outset to the individual at the end. The heavens declare God’s majesty. God’s law is magnificent and all-revealing. The manifestations of God’s power are awesome, but what hope is there for me in my own power?

The answer, of course, is “none.” That person who irritates me by proclaiming himself the chief of all sinners, knows this, assuming he is not merely aping Paul’s words, because he has held his own life up to comparison with the majesty of God as demonstrated in Creation and with the holiness of God as expressed in the Word. I’m reminded here of Isaiah’s “I am ruined” in Isaiah 6:5.

When we consider the enormity of the heavens and the power of the Word, is there any room for pride? Is there any sensible response other than worship and obedience of Him who created both? I think not.