Carelessness (Part 1)

Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults. Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. (Psalm 19:12-14 ESV). This picture is similar to my saw. It looks pretty innocent, doesn’t it? Well, last week I was working on a project in the shop that involved a long run of repetitive cuts on my table saw. I remember thinking as I was making the cuts that I needed to be very focused and not “fall asleep” from the repetition. The table saw is one of the most dangerous power tools in my shop. In fact, the statistics say that of all the accidental lacerations seen in the ER involving construction, 55% happen with the use of a stationary saw (actually it rises to 73% when you get more specific and use “table saw” as the reference point). Further, most of the accidents are with people who are 65 or older and have had extensive experience with the tool. Well, I could go on; however, let’s just say I checked off every box. I simply lost my focus for a micro second on the last cut at the end of the rip. The injury was severe. I was very careless. Our reading today deals with carelessness and sin. Sin is a mystery, and it’s a mystery David wrestles with. First he looks up to the heavens to delight in the Creator’s handiwork (vv. 1–6). Then he looks down to delight in God’s words (vv. 7–11). And the next moment he is on his face pleading with God for power for victory over sin (vv. 12–13). The psalmist shows us sin in at least two different forms: “hidden faults” and “presumptuous sins.” One is like a trapdoor that swings out from underfoot, and the other is like a double-door seen from a distance and approached. These are the careless sins. I’ll be looking at those sins in the next few days. A number of commentators believe the “great transgression” at the end of the passage refers to physical adultery or spiritual adultery. No doubt these serious sins are included, but willful sins come in various shapes and sizes. We must go deeper than merely cataloging “bad” sins. More generally, it appears that presumptuous sins arise from carelessness with God and his word, and carelessness with the needs of others. We can also be lured into these sins by the willful disobedience of others. Whatever the origin, we can see that our carelessness leads to callousness and calloused hearts lead to arrogance or insolence towards God and others. This is where we find ourselves in the “ER” hoping not to lose a finger, or worse. We must remain vigilant and humble in our understanding that we are not immune to these mistakes. Make that your commitment today. We’ll see more...

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