Friday, December 9, 2022

Guarding Your Lips (Psalm 141)

“Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips” (Ps. 141:3).

Yesterday we studied how God’s enemies have mistreated and persecuted His people throughout history. In Psalm 140 David described the onslaughts of his enemies and how he longed for vindication. Like David, all the saints are oppressed and attacked in one form or another, yet our response should be the same in all situations—humble and gracious. This can be a tall order when people continue to weigh us down, but like Christ we should remain silent, like a sheep before the slaughter.

If you struggle to keep silent before your enemies, be encouraged that David had this struggle as well. It wasn’t easy for him to remain passive when Saul pursued him. How many times was he falsely accused and personally attacked? He struggled to maintain a godly frame before those who chased him from his home into foreign lands. But what did he do to find the strength to keep quiet before his accusers? He prayed for God’s grace. In Psalm 141 we read of his struggle and his solution: “LORD, I cry out to You.… Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips. Do not incline my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with men who work iniquity; and do not let me eat of their delicacies” (vv. 1, 3–4).

David prayed that God would keep him from sinking to the level of his enemies. He needed God’s strength to bridle his tongue and to keep him from returning evil with evil. He prayed not only that his speech remain pure but that his thoughts be free of revenge. What good is it if you keep silent outwardly but seethe inwardly? David knew that he was called to a higher purpose and to a higher manner of conduct which included his thoughts as well as his actions. He also knew that he could not behave as he ought without the strength of the Lord. Left to himself every man will descend to the base actions of the wicked, but with the power and grace of the Lord, man can do all things. The next time you are tempted to return evil for evil, to think vengeful and wicked thoughts toward your enemies, to speak rashly in your own defense, humble yourself before the Lord and ask Him to guard your mouth and purify your thoughts.

When someone falsely accuses you or criticizes you, how do you respond? Is there someone to whom you have returned evil for evil? If so, confess it and seek reconciliation with that person. Are you holding any grudges or bitterness? If so, confess that as well and forgive those who have mistreated you.