If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened. (Psalm 66:18 ESV)
Our view of sin and how we deal with sin matters.
In this verse, the psalmist is reminding us that if we choose to hold onto sin — to cherish sin — then there is a ramification: “the Lord would not have listened.”
The context for this truth is given in the two preceding verses:
Come and hear, all you who fear God,
and I will tell what he has done for my soul.
I cried to him with my mouth,
and high praise was on my tongue. (Psalm 66:16-17 ESV)
The psalmist had cried out and prayed to God and God responded. The psalmist says, “I will tell what he has done for my soul.” The psalmist also gives us a reminder of how he prayed. We are told he “cried to him with my mouth” and that “high praise was on my tongue.”
When we look at this piece of Scripture in the right context we can see this message clearly:
- The psalmist has had prayers answered. God has indeed done things for his soul.
- These prayers were made with cries out to God and with praise on his tongue for God.
- But if the psalmist had cherished sin, the prayers would not have been answered. God would not have “listened.”
Again I will say, our view of sin and how we deal with sin matters.
Of course we are all sinners, every single one of us, saved and unsaved. And, of course, since God is sovereign, omniscient and omnipresent. He knows what we pray, He knows when we pray and He knows where we are when we are praying. And, of course, if we are unsaved and steeped in sin we can call out to God and He will hear our cry for Him.
But there is something about our attitude toward sin that affects how God listens to our prayers.
Note that in the psalmist’s prayer that he cried to God and that he brought high praise to God. Any of us can cry out to God when we need comforting, need help or need strength. We can cry to our heavenly Father. But when we praise our Father, we are calling to mind who He is and we are repeating those things back to Him. He is our Creator, Healer, Savior, Sustainer, Comforter and on and on and on. If we truly know Him, then we can indeed call on Him as Holy and Righteous and call on Him as our Savior. And how can we call on Him as our Savior if we are clinging tightly to the sin that caused Him to suffer and die for us?
We show the ultimate ungratefulness to God when we choose to hold onto sin after all He has done for us. We show the ultimate arrogance when we cling to and cherish our sin while calling out to Him for help.
We will never stop sinning. And, we may even commit some really heinous sins after we are saved and before we enter heaven. But our attitude concerning sin matters. In the worst case, our attitude about sin may proved we aren’t really saved. Short of that, our attitude about sin may cause God to not actively listen to our prayers or be obligated to respond.
Lord, please change my attitude about sin. Thank You for these reminders. Please remind me of my sins so that I may confess thing and come to You for repentance and forgiveness. Thank You for Jesus Christ who paid for my sins. In His name I pray. Amen and Amen.
“Sunday Worship” is a weekly series that can hopefully be used to help prepare our hearts to worship God Almighty. You can read all of the posts in this series by clicking here.