Today’s reading is Psalm 39.
David kicks off our psalm with a resolution. “I’m going to keep my mouth shut.” I don’t know all the details of why David made this decision. The only thing I know for sure is his declaration that he wanted to keep from sinning. He especially wanted to keep from sinning in the presence of the wicked.
Perhaps they were tempting him to sin with his tongue. Perhaps he was afraid of giving them a reason to discredit him. Perhaps he was afraid of giving them a reason to discredit God. Perhaps he was afraid of giving them an opportunity to justify their own sins. Perhaps he was angry at them, but knew that to respond verbally with his anger would be sinful.
I don’t know the ins and outs. However, I know this, even though he struggled, he was on to something. In James 3, we learn the tongue is a troublesome little creature. Even in this psalm, we learn James told the truth when he said it was impossible to tame. David tried to tame it, but got so worked up he had to speak. James tells us the tongue is a deadly poison, a world of unrighteousness, staining the whole body. Considering he also told us that pure and undefiled religion means keeping ourselves unstained from the world (James 1:27), we see keeping that tongue muzzled might be pretty important.
But here’s the good news for David. When he finally got to the point of no longer being able to keep his silence, instead of something sinful in the presence of the wicked, he turned to God and prayed. There’s probably a great lesson in that all on its own.
Obviously, we are going to speak. We can’t walk through all of life without ever talking. But between Psalm 39 and James 3, we should probably learn to do a lot more thinking and praying before we start talking.
Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 39.
Discuss the Following Questions with Your Family
- What are your initial reactions to the psalm and the written devo above?
- What are some of the sins of the tongue?
- Why do you think it is so hard to tame the tongue?
- What advice would you give to help our family speak in a godly way to one another and to others?
- What do you think we should pray for and about in light of this psalm and our discussion today?