9 The fear of the Lord is pure,
The decrees of the Lord are firm,
and all of them are righteous.
10 They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the honeycomb.
11 By them your servant is warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
12 But who can discern their own errors?
Forgive my hidden faults.
13 Keep your servant also from willful sins;
may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless,
innocent of great transgression.
14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
This Psalm includes such a powerful contemplative prayer. It is a meditation on the longing of one’s heart to follow God. The author shares such reverence to the Holy One that is our Rock and our Redeemer. Even today, we may sense how our Lord’s decrees can be “sweeter than honey,” when we know how we are serving God in the healthiest of ways. Still we know too that the boundaries of God’s laws help to put us on the right path and protect us from harm. However we also know the sting that we feel when we think we’ve missed the mark!
If we are not careful, our guilt over our missteps can hold us back and leave us feeling stuck. In my past, I have known such guilt and I bet you have too! Guilt can be an unforgiving mental loop, that even when we have sincerely asked for God’s forgiveness, we cannot forgive ourselves. Often, we can trap ourselves into feeling that we are unforgivable.
But lest we forget, our God is both our Rock and our Redeemer. Our God is our Rock because we need God’s strength to keep us faithful. Our God is also our Redeemer, the one who forgives us, even when we are the most unforgivable. In fact, our Redeemer lives to forgive us.
The psalmist knows of the errors of his ways but doesn’t waste time being trapped by guilt. Instead, the psalmist honorably asks for forgiveness for his “hidden faults” and moves on to a prayer of not letting his willful ways get the better of him. The psalmist knew about getting unstuck by trusting in the grace of our Redeemer. So be like the psalmist: honorably ask forgiveness, forgive yourself and move on accepting the grace of our Redeemer.
By Barbara Carlson
For Pondering & Prayer
If the psalmist’s common plea sounds familiar, you are not alone. Perhaps we want so much to please our God, but we feel we have fallen short. But our God is both our Rock and our Redeemer. Whenever we sense the errors of our ways, do we ask for forgiveness and then respectfully move on? Or are we stuck feeling that we have let our Redeemer down, once again? Are we stuck in the mental trap that says we are unworthy of the grace of our Redeemer? Pause and say a reverent prayer of forgiveness and move on to serve God.
Prayer: May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, Oh Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. Amen.