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. (Psalm 19:13–8—NIV)

One of the rules of warfare is to know your enemy. Any great general will make a study of his adversary’s past behaviors and will become a student of his enemy’s latest moves. You must approach your life’s personal spiritual battles in the same way, especially in this day.

"Those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority, they are presumptuous, self-willed." With these words Peter describes the rebel, apostate heart (2 Peter 2:10). Not a single genuine believer would dare to wish to be described in such a manner and would shudder to think of the wrath of God that awaits such high-handed sinfulness. Yet it must be granted that any willful sin committed by any man, saved or no, falls under this description. Our enemy is as much within as without.

David recognized the need for divine intervention in this battle with sin. In verse 12 of our text he says, "Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults." The secret ones are the ones which are hidden, unperceived, the general spiritual maladies of the heart. These are the ones which are difficult to discern without the aid of the Holy Spirit illuminating our hearts with the Word of God.

But the specific inventory begins in verse 13. There is a need to reckon what sins tend to powerfully control when given the opportunity. David begs urgently for God’s intervention, "Let them not have dominion over me." These enemies of his soul he calls "presumptuous sins."

The Hebrew word here is usually translated by terms such as "the proud ones." They would be sins characterized by being knowingly arrogant. David uses the term in Psalm 119:51, "the arrogantly proud have me in mocking derision." The root of the word has profound implications for the believer’s understanding of the enemy within and it further sheds light on what is so presumptuous about our sin. Its root means to boil as water, to cook, to boil over. It brings to mind the difficulty of boiling spaghetti without it surprising us and making a mess by boiling over the pot. Wilson’s O.T. Word Studies adds, "under the influence of pride, arrogance, wantonness, rashness and insolence, urging to violence and presumptuousness, though unprovoked."

The sad fact is that believers still retain the old nature while awaiting the rapture. Until then sin always has a foothold in our old nature, though it is crucified it still has a voice and whispers to our vanities from the darkest haunts of our thinking, feeling, and thirsting hearts.

The dividends for spiritual victory are blamelessness and innocence (absolved) of great (much) transgression (grave offense). Verse 14 quickly follows with, "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer."

When was the last time you gave serious thought and catalogued the sinful trends that so frequently dominate you? Name the sins, put up your guard against them, and call upon God for aid in the fight, so that you may indeed name and count your spiritual victories He gives you daily. "And having done all, stand."