You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your countenance.
The word used is a singular one, and may be rendered "our secret" (character). "God needs no other light to discern our sins by but the light of his own race. It pierceth through the darkest places; the brightness thereof enlighteneth all things, discovers all things. So that the sins that are committed in deepest darkness are all one to him as if they were done in the face of the sun. For they are done in his face, that shines more, and from which proceeds more light than from the face of the sun. So that this ought to make us the more fearful to offend; he sees us when we see not him, and the light of his countenance shines about us when we think ourselves hidden in darkness." "These words have a singular force if written by Moses, who saw the splendour of God, and carried away upon his person its manifest tokens."
I. SECRET SIN REGARDED AS THAT WHICH WE WOULD GLADLY CONCEAL FROM OTHERS. Secrecy is always suspicious. "He that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God." Secrecy may be duty; in public spheres it may be wise policy; but when a man, in private life, does not wish any one to know what he is doing, he is generally found to be doing something wrong. The burglar, the coiner, the sensualist, want secrecy. They work in the dark; they go under feigned names; they hide themselves in the great cities; they devise all sorts of excuses to account for their time. If they succeed in deceiving their fellows, surely their ways and works are "naked and open" to God, whose "eyes are in every place, beholding the evil and the good."
II. SECRET SIN REGARDED AS THAT WHICH WE TRY TO CONCEAL FROM OURSELVES. This point requires more searching treatment.
1. Natural disposition, and errors in education, prevent men from recognizing the sinfulness of their own sins.
2. Conscience may be blunted so that it is no longer keen to witness against sin.
3. Strong will to continue in sin sets men upon persuading themselves that their sin is not sin. Illustrate from the sins of drinking, slandering, envying, etc. A man may deceive himself, but God quickly tears away his "refuges of lies." God knows the man who does not know himself. He puts the secrets into the "light of his countenance."
III. SECRET SIN REGARDED AS THAT WHICH WE TRY TO CONCEAL FROM GOD. As did Adam, by hiding among the trees. Men say, "The Lord shall not see;" but no man ever yet succeeded in closing the eye of Heaven. Men's most desperate effort is to assert and prove that there is no God, and so no observer of their sin. They never really succeed. Infidelity is the hopeless attempt to get rid of a God who sees, and will be sure to judge. - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.