Wednesday, November 23, 2005


“9 The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?
10 “I the Lord search the heart
and examine the mind,
to reward a man according to his conduct,
according to what his deeds deserve.”

(Jeremiah 17:9-10 NIV)

“12-Who can understand his errors?
Cleanse me from secret (hidden) faults (sins).
13-Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins;
Let them not have dominion over me.
Then I shall be blameless,
And I shall be innocent of great transgression.
14-Let the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.”

(Psalm 19:12-14)

q What does Jeremiah 17:9 and Psalm 19:12 tell us about the condition of the human heart?

I’ve often said, “It’s not the known sins and struggles within me that concern me the most, rather it’s the sins and struggles within that I’m not aware of that scare me. It’s the things that are at work influencing and perhaps ruling me that I don’t even know about – this is of greater concern.

q What do you think are the connections between Psalm 19:12 and 19:13?

Before God can deliver us from ourselves, we must undeceive ourselves. St. Augustine

It was reported recently that an enormous pine tree in the mountains of Colorado had fallen victim to a pine beetle and died. According to locals, up to that point the tree was thought to be indestructible. It had survived fourteen lightning strikes and many years of Colorado winters, including avalanches and fires. But it was eventually brought down from within by a tiny insect that did its work silently. (Today in the Word, October 1997, p. 28.)

Could it be that hidden or secret sins lead to presumptuous sins, which left unattended will have dominion over us? Could this be why David asked God to not just deal with the surface issues, rather he asked God to dig deep, even into that which he was not aware of? The end result, said David, would be innocent of great transgression.

Hidden sins have to do with subtle mind-sets and heart-sets that we may not even be aware of, but are nonetheless influencing decisions and actions. If these mind-sets (thought patterns) and heart-sets (ways of feeling) are permitted to continue they become embedded ways of thinking and feeling. The Bible describes this as a stronghold. The result will be the formation of habits which will begin to set the course of our daily lives. If they are rooted in sin, the Bible says they will have dominion over us. The outworking of this is our thought-filled and willful disobedience i.e. great transgression.

How does a worm get inside an apple? Perhaps you think the worm burrows in from the outside. No, scientists have discovered that the worm comes from inside. But how does he get in there? Simple! An insect lays an egg in the apple blossom. Sometime later, the worm hatches in the heart of the apple, then eats his way out. Sin, like the worrn, begins in the heart and works out through a person’s thoughts, words and actions.[i]

q Why does David ask God to let the words of his mouth and meditation of his heart be acceptable in God’s sight?

q What role do our words and heart meditations play into the previous verses? (look back at Psalm 19:12-13 and Jeremiah 17:9-10)

q How does changing our inward meditations and speech change the course of hidden/secret sins and sins of presumption?

Prayerfully meditate through Psalm 19:12-14

“12-Who can understand his errors?

(This involves being in a posture of humility before God, acknowledging that our default mode is self-dependence. This awareness or lack of awareness produces gratefulness for God’s unconditional love and grace.)
Cleanse me from secret (hidden) faults (sins).

(Part of the cleansing process is personal and spiritual awareness – God bringing revelation to the things that are working deep within. Pray for this type of understanding.)

13-Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous (willful) sins;

(Humility recognizes that our hearts are utterly deceitful, even beyond cure, at least outside of God’s transforming love and grace. Keep back is simply a plea for God to keep us from us. Often the greatest enemy that we face isn’t lurking in the realm of darkness with demonic forces, rather it’s the Enemy-in-a-Me – the enemy within. Keep back is a appeal to the grace of God to continue to convict us, keep us in check, restrain, and help us to hold back. It’s a statement of – God, I don’t want to be ruled by this, but know that left to my own vices, I will be…I’m willing to enter the process of transformation… It is only by your Spirit convicting me, making me aware, and keeping me in check can I begin to be transformed in the areas of my mind, emotions and will. CHANGE MY “WANTER”. Sometimes the best prayer we can pray is: God, I want to want what you want! Give me the desire to desire to change.)

Let them not have dominion over me.
Then I shall be blameless,
And I shall be innocent of great transgression.

(I shall be innocent of great transgression. This verse shows us the process of sin if left unattended. In the process of transformation, this goal is one of the key motivating factors in our continuance and perseverance, not to mention a safeguard against discouragement. I shall be innocent of great transgression. In other words, I shall walk in purity and wholeness. It’s also a declaration of thanksgiving and appreciation of the One who has made a way for this purity and wholeness i.e. redemption. Along with verse fourteen we say, O, LORD, You are my strength and my Redeemer.)

14-Let the words of my mouth and
the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight,

(God… I can never expect to become more like You, unless that which sets the course of my life is pleasing in You. Therefore, I need you to help me govern the meditations of my heart and that which makes it to my mouth. Show me the mind-sets and heart-sets which are currently directing my footsteps that need to be transformed, even repented of…)

O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.”

“May the inner and the outer person meet.”

The drunk husband snuck up the stairs quietly. He looked in the bathroom mirror and bandaged the bumps and bruises he’d received in a fight earlier that night. He then proceeded to climb into bed, smiling at the thought that he’d pulled one over on his wife.

When morning came,
he opened his eyes and there stood his wife. “You were drunk last night weren’t you!”

“No, honey.”
“Well, if you weren’t, then who put all the band-aids on the bathroom mirror?”[ii]

Areas of Greatest Challenge
A recent survey of Discipleship Journal readers ranked areas of greatest spiritual challenge to them:
1. Materialism
2. Pride
3. Self-centeredness
4. Laziness
5. (Tie) Anger/Bitterness
6. (Tie) Sexual lust
7. Envy
8. Gluttony
9. Lying
Survey respondents noted temptations were more potent when they had neglected their time with God (81 percent) and when they were physically tired (57 percent). Resisting temptation was accomplished by prayer (84 percent), avoiding compromising situations (76 percent), Bible study (66 percent), and being accountable to someone (52 percent).
(Discipleship Journal, 1992, p. 11-12.)

[i] Heaven and Home Hour Radio Bulletin.
[ii] Source unknown

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