Four words in this verse—"cover," "prosper," "confesses," and "forsakes"—highlight some valuable instruction for us. According to Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Lexicon, these Hebrew words mean:
» Cover (kacah, #3680): "to cover, to conceal, to hide."
» Prosper (tsalach, #6743): "to advance, to prosper, to make progress, to succeed, to be profitable."
» Confesses (yadah, #3034): "to throw, to shoot, to cast" and by extension, "to confess" or even "to praise."
» Forsakes ('azab, #5800): "to leave, to loose, to forsake, to let go."
In other words, if we try to hide or ignore our faults, our chances for success in life are dim, but if we admit them and put them behind us, we will have favor. In The Road Less Traveled, M. Scott Peck remarks that "it is easier for us to try and forget a problem that we know exists than to deal with it." He states a fundamental truth about our problems. If we do not deal with a problem—in our case, sin—it will never go away. It will fester, and it will always come up later or manifest itself in a different form.
Spiritually, then, if we are not honest with ourselves about our sins and shortcomings, we will not reach our full, God-given potential. God can show us our sins, but He cannot and will not force us to overcome—that decision is ours. We must see ourselves for what we are and have the desire to make the conscious choice to change. Thus, Paul instructs us in Philippians 2:12-13:
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.