13a Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me.
This was a prayer that David, the king of Israel, made to God. In this prayer, he presented himself to God as “thy servant”. Though David was a mighty king on earth, he was never ashamed to think of himself as God’s servant. He acknowledged, at the height of his reign, that it was God who had placed him on the throne in order to do His will. So he humbly confessed before the Lord, “I am thy servant.”
In this real spirit of a true servant of God, the king sought God’s help to enable him to remain faithful and holy unto Him. Being God’s servant, he knew how culpable he would be if he were to sin against his God. So he detested displeasing God by trespassing His laws. His earnest desire and prayer in life was that he would not commit sin against his God.
In the preceding verse, he prayed, “… cleanse thou me from secret faults” (v. 12b). The “secret faults” refer to sins he had not yet recognised, and which remained hidden to him and others. Some sinful passions, thoughts and actions can be so ingrained in one’s way of life that one may fail to identify them as sins, which may furthermore remain hidden to all. Every servant of God, like David, would not like to see such secret sins remain in him, but that he would be purged of them all.
Then David also wanted God’s help to deal with what he called “presumptuous sins”. The word “presumptuous” translates a Hebrew word (zed) that literally means boiling, swelling or inflated. This Hebrew word has often been translated in the Bible as “pride”. So David was particularly referring to sins which proceed from self-confidence, selfreliance and self-exaltation. Such sins would inevitably lead to contempt of God’s majesty and glory. Rebellion and defiance of God’s holy will, instead of submission to service, would eventually characterise the one who commits presumptuous sins.
Unless God restrains us, our hearts will violently boil with a proud and insolent contempt of God. That is why David prayed that God would keep him back from presumptuous sins and not let them have dominion over His servant. Only divine power can restrain such loathsome sins from overpowering us. So, let us earnestly pray that God would prevent sin from dominating and ruining our lives of service unto Him.