I am so glad to be back in writing mode. The past 2 months have been crazy for me and my family. I have changed jobs and, as a family, we have moved across the country. I have not been able to study and write like I normally do. I am getting settled in and I am so glad to be able to study and write on a more regular basis. Last week, our Sunday School lesson was based on Psalm 32. David left some practical advice for us to learn from his mistakes. Another of the Psalms that I have a lesson on is Psalm 19, Restoring the soul.
In Psalm 141, King David shares with us about His relationship with God. David cries out to God 11 times in these 10 verses, begging God for protection. The main protection that David asks for from God is that God protect David from himself. David also asks for protection from those who are evil, but, most of the protection that David needs, like you and I do, is from himself.
I. Protection from his worst enemy
King David had some enemies during his lifetime of walking with God. Goliath was an enemy. King Saul was an enemy. Even one of David’s own sons, Absalom, was an enemy. But, King David’s worst enemy by far was, himself. He, like all of us, was his own worst enemy. The good part about King David is that he realizes that he is his own worst enemy. How many of us in our modern world have been taught to blame others as being our worst enemies. We have phrases like, “the devil made me do it“. Human beings are masters at shifting and assigning blame to others. We all need to learn from King David’s example here. We need to take a long look in the mirror and come to terms with the fact that, “we have met the enemy, and the enemy is us“. King David cries out to God and begs God to protect him from himself. The first two requests are, “hasten to me when I cry out to you and give ear“. The idea is that God is excited to hear David cry out to Him for help. In fact, God waits patiently for us to cry out to Him for help in dealing with our greatest enemy, ourselves. Not only is God able to hear us, He is also able to do something about the requests that we have. He can come to our aide. The next two requests from David are in verse 3. David begs God to “set a guard over his mouth, and keep watch“. The idea is that David is asking God to be a watchman and a protector. He asks God to watch over the words that come out of His mouth. There are several reasons why we all need a guard over our mouths.
- Death and life are in the power of the tongue. We can build people up with our words or, we can murder them with our words. (Proverbs 18:21)
- We will give an account to God for every word that comes out of our mouths. (Matthew 12:36)
- We have the uncanny ability to bless God and curse men with the same mouth. (James 3:9-10)
Our mouths can be our best friends or our worst enemies. We need wisdom from the Lord to help us tame our tongues because we cannot tame them on our own. David understood this and he begs God for help. In verse 4, David has two more requests from the Lord. He begs God not to “let his heart be inclined toward evil and the delight that sin promises“. God is not going to lead David astray. David’s own sin nature will lead him astray. David understands this major problem and he begs God for help. We know that we are predisposed to evil. Sin just looks so good to us and it entices us with promises that it can never keep. The problem is, we keep falling for it, even though we know where it leads us. David asks the Lord to keep him from going toward his natural inclination to sin. That is part of the Lord’s Model Prayer that Jesus used to teach His disciples how to pray. “Lead us not into temptation“. We are already on the path to temptation and sin. We need God to help us maneuver the path while we are on it. We need deliverance from it when it rears its ugly head, even though it looks like a delicacy, as David states it. When reading this plea from King David, I cannot help but to think about Eve, Achan, and King David himself. All three of them were enticed by what they saw. They then desired what they saw. They took, knowing that what they were doing was wrong, and then they tried to cover up their actions. The is the process of sin. Have you ever experienced this process? I bet you have, even in the past week. You saw something that was a delight to the eyes. You began to desire that thing. You thought about it until you took it. You knew what you were doing was wrong but you did it anyway. Then, you felt shame over what you did and tried to cover it up. You need protection from yourself just like I do and just like David did. Do you beg God for protection from yourself?
II. Protection offered to him from others
King David also recognized that God can use others to protect us from ourselves. That is why his next requests deal with others offering something positive to him. In verse 5, David asks God to allow the righteous to give good advice and counsel to him so that he will avoid the wrong things and do the right things. Often, we do not mind taking advice and counsel from God but, we are not too keen on taking advice from others. Our pride gets in the way. David asks God to keep him humble enough to take advice from righteous people and even allow them to reprove him. To reprove means to show someone where they are wrong with the purpose of helping them get right. As I mentioned before, because of pride, we often do not like to take advice from others. Because of that same pride, we definitely do not want to have others show us where we are wrong, even if it is for our own good. David understood that about himself and he begs God for help. How about you, my dear friend, are you humble enough to take advice and counsel from godly people? Are you humble enough to allow God to use others to show you where you are wrong, for your own good? How did you respond the last time a godly person pointed out a mistake in love, with the purpose of helping you make it right? The second thing that David begs God to do is to help him be grateful to those who help him with godly advice and counsel. As people, we are not naturally grateful. It is something that we have to learn. When David asks God not to let him “refuse” help. The word refuse here, in the Hebrew language, has multi-level meanings. It could be translated “frustrate” or “discourage“. I do not know about you but, one of the things that discourages me the most when doing something for others is when they do not appreciate it. David asks God to remind him to be grateful. David needed to be reminded. I need to be reminded. You need to be reminded. Do you ask God to remind you to be grateful to others?
III. Protection from evildoers
Finally, David finishes up this amazing Psalm with a plea for protection from those who are evil and do evil deeds. David does not ask for more strength or courage. David simply asks God to protect him by staying there with him. David was a mighty warrior but, he understood that the source of his strength and might was his relationship with God. David runs to the Lord and seeks refuge with Him. David begs the Lord not to leave him defenseless. Without the Lord, David, the mighty warrior, is defenseless. The Hebrew rendition of this phrase is, “Lord, please don’t leave me naked and vulnerable“. This is a beautiful picture of Biblical faith. David depends on the Lord and he trusts the Lord with his life. David knows that there is evil in the world. David does not try to run away from the evil around him. He faces the evil around him bravely because, the Lord is right there with him, leading the way. Is this the way that you live your life on a daily basis, beloved? David knew that if he trusted in the Lord, he would walk through the enemy’s traps as the enemy fell in his own traps. Do you live with this confidence? Would you like to have this kind of confidence? The Lord is there and like in the very beginning of Psalm 141, He is eagerly waiting for you to call out to Him the way that David did. Are you ready to do that?