When I asked the Lord this morning what He wanted me to write, Psalm 39 popped into my head. I didn’t even remember what that particular Psalm was about. I’ll post it here in case you don’t have it memorized either!
I said, “I will watch my ways
and keep my tongue from sin;
I will put a muzzle on my mouth
while in the presence of the wicked.”
So I remained utterly silent,
not even saying anything good.
But my anguish increased;
my heart grew hot within me.
While I meditated, the fire burned;
then I spoke with my tongue:
“Show me, Lord, my life’s end
and the number of my days;|
let me know how fleeting my life is.
You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
the span of my years is as nothing before You.
Everyone is but a breath,
even those who seem secure.
“Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom;
in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth
without knowing whose it will finally be.
“But now, Lord, what do I look for?
My hope is in You.
Save me from all my transgressions;
do not make me the scorn of fools.
I was silent; I would not open my mouth,
for You are the one who has done this.
Remove Your scourge from me;
I am overcome by the blow of Your hand.
When You rebuke and discipline anyone for their sin,
You consume their wealth like a moth—
surely everyone is but a breath.
“Hear my prayer, Lord,
listen to my cry for help;
do not be deaf to my weeping.
I dwell with You as a foreigner,
a stranger, as all my ancestors were.
Look away from me, that I may enjoy life again
before I depart and am no more.”
When I first read it I’ll be honest, I was like, “Whoa God, that’s pretty intense. How in the world does this apply to my life?” So, here is what the Holy Spirit was saying within me. I’m going to break this up for the entire week because there’s quite a bit of meat to it!
Watch Your Words
In verses 1-3 David said that he would keep his tongue from sin and tried very, very hard to stay silent in the presence of the wicked – he didn’t even want to speak good things. When we’re around other people, especially non-Christians, we need to guard our mouths. We are judged by what we say and considered wise when we keep silent unless God tells us to speak. Speaking wisdom to a fool is like casting your pearls before pigs (Matt. 7:6) where they will trample it under their feet and then turn on you.
Another thing we need to remember as children of God, that I need to constantly remind myself, is that our enemy is Satan and his demons (not people). Unlike God, they can’t hear what we think, only what we say. So, when we are speaking we need to be very careful, even if we’re only talking to ourselves. The enemy is always listening and when we say certain things, he knows what to use to come against us.
It’s interesting how everytime Justin and I tell one another that we need to walk by faith, not by sight, to trust in God no matter what our circumstances, either that same day or the next one we’re immediately attacked with fear, doubt, and even anger at our situation. Right after we said it! Of course, we still need to speak words of faith, but we also need to be aware that we’ll be attacked on those very things and be wary of it instead of giving into those feelings.
I remember one time when I was little my dad bragged constantly on a car they had. My mom kept telling him to stop bragging, that something bad would happen, and sure enough, the car broke beyond our ability to repair it. So, we see that it isn’t just saying bad things that give the enemy ammunition against us, but even bragging about good things can bring evil on our heads. That’s why we need to be very careful of what we say.
In verse 9 David says that he remained silent because God was the one who brought punishment on him for his sins. Although I don’t believe God punishes us for sin anymore (if we’re born-again) because all our sins were forgiven through Jesus, I do believe He allows us to suffer the consequences of our sins. And I believe in verse 9 that we are basically being told that if we are suffering the consequences of our sinful actions, we have no right to complain to anyone – especially God – because it is our own fault. Instead, we should learn from it and not commit those sins again.
Some of the struggles Justin and I are going through right now are because of bad choices we made in the past. I should have been serious about school and gone to college right after I got out of high school. I should have gotten a degree in something that made money and interested me so that right now I would have a career instead of struggling to find my place. Justin made some wrong choices too. And, while I don’t believe all our problems are because of our own choices – I think some of it is just God testing us – I do know that we have to stop complaining to God about a situation that is partly our fault. Wishing we’d done things differently doesn’t change the past. The best thing is to look at the future, trust God to fix everything and bring us through, and stop complaining. Complaining never moves God to action.
And finally in verses 12-13 David pleads with God to hear and answer his prayer. No matter the reason why we’re in a bad situation, I believe we should always plead with God to deliver us and then thank Him for doing so, even if we don’t see the deliverance yet.
Sometimes it feels like my prayers are falling on deaf ears because God hasn’t changed our situation yet. I know a lot of you, dear readers, feel the same way. But we need to remember that God will always answer, however, it will be His way and in His timing. In the meantime, keep taking your problems to God and then thank Him for delivering a result – for changing the situation or bringing you through it stronger and wiser than ever before.
In case you want to learn more about the power of our words, I have a lot of other blog posts and a vlog that you can check out:
Becoming the Proverbs 31 Woman: Controlling Your Tongue – Vlog (why we need to control it)
The Sins from Pride (talks about bragging/boastfulness)
Saturday Thoughts: Criticism (how to handle it, when to give it)
The Relationship Killers (tells about the danger of gossip and slander)
Tell the Truth (discusses lying vs. truth)
This is only part one of a three-part series I’m going to write this week on what I have gleaned from Psalm 39. I hope you stay with me and learn what God wants us to know through this powerful passage!