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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6 Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm:
7 “Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.
8 “Would you discredit my justice?
Would you condemn me to justify yourself?
9 Do you have an arm like God’s,
and can your voice thunder like his?
10 Then adorn yourself with glory and splendor,
and clothe yourself in honor and majesty.
11 Unleash the fury of your wrath,
look at all who are proud and bring them low,
12 look at all who are proud and humble them,
crush the wicked where they stand.
13 Bury them all in the dust together;
shroud their faces in the grave.
14 Then I myself will admit to you
that your own right hand can save you
The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Job 40:6–14.
Job 29:21-25 21 “People listened to me expectantly,
waiting in silence for my counsel.
22 After I had spoken, they spoke no more;
my words fell gently on their ears.
23 They waited for me as for showers
and drank in my words as the spring rain.
24 When I smiled at them, they scarcely believed it;
the light of my face was precious to them.
25 I chose the way for them and sat as their chief;
I dwelt as a king among his troops;
I was like one who comforts mourners.