Who can understand his errors? cleanse you me from secret faults.
The terms used in the Word of God to describe the life of the Christian believer show that it is not a path of ease, nor one of self-indulgence. Gurnall says, "The Christian's work is too delicate and too curious to be done well between sleeping and waking, and too important to be done ill and clambered over, no matter how. He had need to be awake that walks upon the brink of a deep river, or that treads on the brow of a steep hill. The Christian's path is so narrow, and the danger is so great, that it calls both for a nimble eye to discern and a steady eye to direct; but a sleepy eye can do neither."
I. CONFESSION OF SIN. There are —
1. Secret faults. The heart is deceitful above all things: who can know it? Amazed at the inward corruptions you discover, again and again in wonder you well may ask, "Who can understand his errors? — who can count the number of the one-fourth part of his secret faults?" Some persons think there is no harm in what they in their ignorance call "errors," or "little sins." But "little sins, suppose them to be so, are very dangerous. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. A little staff may kill a giant. A little leak will sink a man-of-war. A little flaw in a good cause mars it. So a little sin, if unforgiven, will bar up the doors of heaven, and set wide open the gates of hell. Though the scorpion be little, it will sting to death a lion; and so the least sin will destroy you forever, if not pardoned by the blood of Christ." Watching, therefore, your heart, you will resist every kind of sin, and bring it into subjection to the obedience of Christ. But secret faults, if indulged, will break forth ere long into open sins. These are what David here confesses as —
2. Presumptuous sins. David knew what he said when he thus spake. He knew that lust, when it is conceived, bringeth forth sin, and that sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. David had not forgotten the deceit, the lying, the murder, the adultery, most awful sins of presumption, of which he himself had been guilty in the matter of the wife of Uriah the Hittite.
II. SUPPLICATION OF PARDON. He prays to be delivered —
1. From the guilt of sin.
2. The power of sin. "Keep back from presumptuous sins." David knew that, were it not for the restraining grace of God, there was no sin which he might not be tempted to commit. 0h, what a scene of sin and misery this fallen world of ours would become were it not for this preventing power of God! See the ease of Abimelech in regard to Sarah. Laban in regard to Jacob. And yet more does He hold back His people; David from destroying Nabal.
III. DEVOTEDNESS OF LIFE. He singles out two things.
1. Edifying discourse. "Let the words of my mouth," etc.
2. Devout reflection.
3. He recognises the mainspring of all true religion. "O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer." We all need a Redeemer.
(C. Clayton, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.