Bible Reading: Psalm 141
O Lord, I call upon You; hasten to me!
Give ear to my voice when I call to You!
2 May my prayer be counted as incense before You;
The lifting up of my hands as the evening offering.
3 Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth;
Keep watch over the door of my lips.
4 Do not incline my heart to any evil thing,
To practice deeds of wickedness
With men who do iniquity;
And do not let me eat of their delicacies.
5 Let the righteous smite me in kindness and reprove me;
It is oil upon the head; Do not let my head refuse it,
For still my prayer is against their wicked deeds.
6 Their judges are thrown down by the sides of the rock,
And they hear my words, for they are pleasant.
7 As when one plows and breaks open the earth,
Our bones have been scattered at the mouth of Sheol.
8 For my eyes are toward You, O God, the Lord;
In You I take refuge; do not leave me defenseless.
9 Keep me from the jaws of the trap which they have set for me,
And from the snares of those who do iniquity.
10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets,
While I pass by safely.
In this Psalm of lament it appears that David is under some sort of personal attack. Some people have publicly slandered him or accused him unjustly. Have you ever been in a situation like that? How are we to respond when someone is out to get us and destroy our reputation? More than likely we are tempted to strike back in like form. We want to blast them publicly; in the office, the neighborhood, or on Facebook for all the world to hear. We are ready to respond on twitter to their behavior and attacks on us. I can’t think of a more pertinent psalm for our culture’s social media than these verses.
Notice that David’s first response is not to the attackers but to the Lord (vs. 1-2). He pleads to God to hear and protect him. That’s the first thing to do. Leave twitter alone and go to the Lord. It is in the presence of God that we find the wisdom and ability to not return sin with sin. David asks the Lord to guard his mouth (v. 3) so that he doesn’t sin by engaging in the very thing his slanderers are doing. In verse 4 his desire is to stay clear of the way a sinful person reacts. David wants to handle this in a godly way and he knows that prayer must be his first response.
His second response is that he might learn from the accusations against him (vs. 5-7). Wow. How many times do we do that? Usually we just want to strike back and defend ourselves. But for David, even if 98% of the accusations against him are false, he desires to learn of the 2% that may have some truth he needs to comprehend. If the attacks are from a “righteous” person (v. 5), David prays he will receive the words and they become as soothing oil upon his head.
Finally, David double downs on turning to God. “My eyes are toward You, O God” (v. 8) not on the people who have caused his pain. Not only does David place himself in the hands of God, he also places the outcome of his enemies in the hands of God (vs. 9-10) where they best belong.
May you use this Psalm as a guide for troubling seasons in your life.
Weekly Memory Verse: The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger and great in lovingkindness. Psalm 145.8