“Moreover, keep me from committing flagrant sins; do not allow such sins to control me. Then I will be blameless, and innocent of blatant rebellion.” (Psalm 19:13 NET)
While it is true that all sins are equal in the sense that any of them can damn a soul to hell, there is a wide range of evil involved in different transgressions. These can range from a selfish motive to crimes such as murder.
In our verse above, David is not referring to a particular sin; he is alluding to the attitude that lies behind a person’s sinful actions. Perhaps a glance at some other Bible translations will help to bring clarity to his statement. The NIV calls these transgressions “willful,” the NASB “presumptuous,” the NLT “deliberate” and the NEB labels them “sins of self-will.” Whatever term is used, the overriding sense is that the person has committed his act of sin in open defiance of God’s authority: in His face, as we would say.
Moses referred to this attitude when he said, “the person who does anything defiantly… is blaspheming the LORD; and that person shall be cut off from among his people.” (Numbers 15:30)
In the verse before David’s statement, he had asked the Lord to acquit him of hidden faults. He follows this request with the plea found in our passage: “Keep me from committing flagrant sins, do not allow such sins to control me.” While self-trusting souls tend to dismiss such concerns, David knew full well that if he allowed sin to fester within him, he could easily find himself falling headlong into one form of wickedness after another.
All sin begins in the heart. Contemplate any action long enough and it will only be a matter of time before one actually does it. Unfortunately, one sin begets another. It is the nature of sin to increasingly demand more indulgence. The more sin becomes entrenched in the heart, the more defiant the person becomes of God’s authority. Before long, all pretence of spirituality is thrown off and the person becomes bold and reckless with his actions. The sinner becomes like the adulterous woman who “eats and wipes her mouth, and says, “I have done nothing wrong.” (Proverbs 30:20)
How different was David’s attitude! He had the wisdom to see where the steep slide into evil would take him. “By the fear of the Lord one keeps away from evil,” his son would later write. (Proverbs 16:6) Yes, he feared the very sin that had the power to drag him away from God and eventually into hell itself.
The thought that he could actually become so given over to sin that he would do so with a brazen attitude was too much for him to handle.
And how about you? Can you say that you have a heart like David’s regarding sin? Do you hate every form of it in your heart? Do you fear the hold it can have on your life? Then you are in a very blessed place in life because it means that you are continually turning to the Lord for His aid and deliverance.