Is ignorance bliss?

Psalm 19:12 “Who can discern his errors?  Declare me innocent from hidden faults.”

How often we can be tempted to show ourselves as better than we really are.  The motivations can be many: pride, hypocrisy, fear – whatever the cause, it is a dangerous thing, particularly if we see no fault in it ourselves.  Hidden faults, secret sins, things we hide from others, can be so easy to mask.  How often do we secretly doubt, secretly fear, or secretly lust? No one else knows about it. We profess faith in Christ and if we would ask someone, they would tell us what fine Christians we are as they watch us outwardly play the part.  But how often does what’s underneath the surface betray what we portray?  How much cursing is “under our breath” so that no one else hears it?  How much anger, greed, coveting, and mocking are there on the inside, where no one else sees?

In the psalm above, King David, whom God called “a man after my own heart (Acts 13:22),” confesses the problem of his “hidden faults.” He knew that “the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart (1 Samuel 16:7),” for it was on this very basis that God had revealed to the prophet Samuel that David was to be Israel’s next king.  You see, it was not that David had no hidden faults. Rather, what was special about him was that he hated those faults like God hated those faults. He knew that his only hope to be free from them was the mercy and grace of God, and he voiced that dependence in his heart-felt prayer of Psalm 19.  But beyond this, David knew that he had hidden sins that were even hidden from him; thus, his question “Who can discern his errors?” He knew that even as he took stock of his own life, there were sins in his life that he was not aware of.  It could have been simply because of ignorance of God’s law.  It could have been because of clouded judgment. Perhaps it was a drifting away from his relationship to the Lord due to neglect, busyness with other things, or failure to seek the Lord in prayer. Whatever the cause, David knew he had this problem, and if he did, surely, we do as well. 

In David’s great prayer of confession in Psalm 51 he says this: “Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.”  David knew that that’s exactly what God desires, and this was David’s desire, as well, because of his love of God, however faulty.  David’s continual prayer was for obedience to God and a heart on fire for his glory. He hungered for righteousness on the inside, not just a show of righteousness for man to see.  May God help us to have such a love for Him that we long for purity of heart and freedom from secret sins.  May He give us a holy hatred for hypocrisy, particularly when that hypocrisy secretly tries to establish itself in our own hearts.  And may we constantly be reminded that God is “the God Who sees me (Genesis 16:13)” and when He looks at me, He looks not as man does, for the omniscient One looks on my heart.

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