Daily D – Psalm 141:3-4
Take control of what I say, O LORD, and guard my lips. Don’t let me drift toward evil or take part in acts of wickedness. Don’t let me share in the delicacies of those who do wrong. PSALM 141:3-4 (NLT)
Where did Solomon learn his base-level wisdom? I’m guessing much of it came from his dear old dad, King David. KD proves himself one of the wisest men ever in this prayer. He says, “Take control of what I say, O LORD, and guard my lips.” In other words, “It’s never too early to shut up.”
The ESV translates this verse, “Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.” Wouldn’t it be nice to have a guard, a person dedicated and able to keep us from saying the wrong thing? Or to say too much of anything? Or to say the right thing at the wrong time or in the wrong way?
Notice how many of the individual proverbs in the Book of Proverbs have to do with what we say and how we say it. Solomon learned some valuable life lessons from Dear Old Dad. Jesus had some things to say about what we say and how we say it. Paul did as well. And James, Jesus’ brother, said “the tongue is a flame of fire,” (3:6).
Verse 4 is interesting. KD prays, “Don’t let me drift toward evil or take part in acts of wickedness.” Notice the word “drift.” The ESV translates this word “incline.” The CSB translates it “turn.” The NIV translates it “be drawn.” The Message paraphrases it, “Don’t let me so much as dream of evil.”
Evil actions are not accidental. They are most often rationalized before they are engaged. We drift toward sinful behavior by allowing alluring thoughts to linger. We incline toward evil when we refuse to turn away from it and keep going “just a little farther.” We are drawn toward evil when we allow our emotions to control us rather than us controlling our emotions. We end up on the wrong side of sinful behavior when we dream on about thoughts we should have dismissed immediately.
1. It’s never too early to shut up.
2. It’s always time to turn away from evil.
A life full of healthy, wholesome delicacies awaits the person who can control the tongue and the appetite.
I will ask God for tongue control and a healthy appetite.
Our Father, please take control of what I say. Put your thoughts in my mind and your words in my mouth. When neither is present, keep my mouth appropriately closed. Give me a hunger and thirst for more of you and the good things you provide. Deliver me from delicacies that drag me into places I do not want to go and keep me longer than I want to say. Amen.
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Deuteronomy 8:12-18 When you eat and are full, and build beautiful houses to live in, and your herds and flocks grow large, and your silver and gold multiply, and everything else you have increases, be careful that your heart doesn’t become proud and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery. He led you through the great and terrible wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, a thirsty land where there was no water. He brought water out of the flint rock for you. He fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your ancestors had not known, in order to humble and test you, so that in the end he might cause you to prosper. You may say to yourself, ‘My power and my own ability have gained this wealth for me,’ but remember that the Lord your God gives you the power to gain wealth, in order to confirm his covenant he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates.“
Deuteronomy 1:2, 3 It is an eleven-day journey from Horeb to Kadesh-barnea by way of Mount Seir. In the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first of the month, Moses told the Israelites everything the Lord had commanded him to say to them.