Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart. This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.
I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.
1 To the choirmaster: to Jeduthun. A Psalm of David. I said, “I will guard my ways, that I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth with a muzzle, so long as the wicked are in my presence.”
2 I was mute and silent; I held my peace to no avail, and my distress grew worse.
3 My heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue:
David, how dare you reveal my sin! My “tendency” to open mouth and insert foot. My desire to have everyone know my thoughts, my concerns, my complaints, my solutions, blah blah blaaaaah.
Wasn’t it simply two psalms back, in Psalm 37, where David counselled his own heart, (and own lives), to “be still and wait on the Lord”? Obviously David sought to guard his mouth, hold his peace, and yet out comes the verbal diarehha. So Carl-like! So human.
Let us put some chronology into this accusation, and give David the benefit of our findings. Psalm 37 came near the end of David’s life, after he had experienced all of his trials, opened his mouth at all the wrong times, found his will to be far too weak to control his heart. Psalm 39 is a psalm that comes out of the times David was anointed King, early in his adult life.
You see, even in my blogging, I jump to conclusions, and did not give David the benefit of the doubt, and consider the context of David’s experience and situation when he blew his top! I suppose I may be in need of reading (and living) Psalm 37 – what a great psalm!
Nevertheless, this psalm is an open confession of David’s weakness, and it is interesting that in the first three verses, David does not refer to God as his strength, but as his own will not being able to contain his heart. I will, I will, I will.
How often have you made resolutions, determining with all your heart to perform some duty or habit for the Lord, or even for your spouse, a child, boss, co-worker, friend. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. The trouble in my mind is that occasionally I do keep a promise on my own strength and therefore maintain the illusion that I am caption of my own destiny. What malarky.
Jesus, when speaking with His disciples, made the audacious claim, that without Him, they could do nothing.
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. – John 15:5
My assumption, due to previous errors and limitations in my thinking, is that the fruit is souls, and this verse is restricted to evangelism. After reading it for the 272nd time, I think I may have limited the message of the Lord to His disciples. The fruit may just happen to be the character/image of our Lord, which includes evangelism, but certainly does not restrict itself to only evangelism.
Back to the psalm, where David admits to loosing control of his tongue, and of his confession of the inner rolling and toiling in his heart, of the need to speak up. He just has to correct the issue, interject, insert his all knowing wisdom, inform the audience of every thought and consideration he ruminates over.
In Psalm 37, David knows where his strength is.
May I be brutally honest. As I have tried to understand and follow Him, I have found some truths, though they may not be surprising to you, have rocked my world. Consider.
A Good Question is a Good Teacher
Did not Jesus constantly ask questions. Was not one of the first things men heard from God (that is recorded) a question? (Genesis 3:9)
The power of a good question!
Early on in my walk, I spent hours and hours trying to convince some of the truth of my thinking. Not so now. Some of my best friends are frustrated with me due to my reluctance to define my belief to the 100th point. To what end will this accomplish? To discuss, argue and go away divided? I have found that a good question, if received by the hearer, may reveal a person who wants to know the answer.
Jesus did this often, in providing short stories of fishermen, and farmers, widows and judges. Some wanted to figger it out. They became followers, even apostles!
I am reluctant at times to give definitive answers, and prefer to suggest passages, or various perspectives to consider. The Word of God is available for all, and if you are thirsty for answers, I direct you to the Word of God. Will you go to the Word of God?
Water is Appreciated by Thirsty Folks
Drowning people don’t want water. In a nation full of Christian/religious radio stations, television shows of preachers preaching, churches on every corner (although that is changing in many nations), many people are drowning in the “good news” I find that many are numb to it, and many may feel it is overbearing and oppressive.
Am I saying to not share the gospel? Of course not. But before you open your mouth and speak great swelling words, show humility in service to others, sacrifice of self for the one who even hates you. Drowning people need a life jacket thrown to them, not exhorted to swim better, or to be told they shouldn’t have fallen out of the boat!
A Quiet Spirit is Influential
Many decades ago, I was in a church when during a business meeting, a decision was required that caused much debate. Debate is good, as long as love is in the midst of it. (Hint – Maybe not so in this instance!) An older widowed man, lets call him Bob, who was an elder (leader) in the church was completely quiet, listening to the concerns. At one point, the head elder spoke up and requested (demanded) Bob’s thoughts.
Bob took time to answer, he answered slowing and deliberately, and he answered in response to the spirit of the meeting and not the topic at hand. At the time, in my youth, and along with the head elder, I felt frustration over Bob’s seeming obfuscation of the issue. Looking back, his wisdom should have been treasured, for whether the roof shingles were to be dark or light was of no matter. Imagine this – division in a church over the color of roof shingles! Let it not be! Bob message sounded like an apostle I read, who wrote – “Love one another”
Did the church continue in a heated discussion? Yes, sadly so.
Well then Carl, how can you say a quiet spirit is influential? It sure didn’t seem to make a difference for that meeting!
Well, decades later this old man thinks of Bob’s quiet spirit, and seeks to emulate the quiet influence he had on me. By the way, the shingle decision wasn’t made that night, but folks went home feeling rejected and hurt. So wasteful!
Oh, to be more like Jesus, who knew when to speak and when to not speak. He is the One David confessed as the One who could control his heart/mouth/tongue.
Will you also join David in this confession?
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