Monday, May 23, 2016
Letting God Fix the Problems
To the chief Musician, even to Jeduthun, A Psalm of David.
“I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me. I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good; and my sorrow was stirred.” (Psalm 39:1-2)
David wanted to do the things that were right. He soon realized what James 3:5-10 says, that the Tongue is impossible for a person to control completely. “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.” Unfortunately, this is an area of life that is easily neglected.
David found himself saying things that were not right despite his best efforts. In Matthew 15:17-20, Jesus explained, “Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.” Like our actions, the words we speak are inspired by the attitude of our heart. Most actions take a physical effort, with the result we frequently have time to stop before we perform them, but words are so easy to say they frequently slip out before we can stop them, especially when we are under pressure.
David had made a commitment to keep his mouth under control, even if it meant he could not say anything, even about good things. The refusal to speak at all resulted in frustration and growing depression. People need to express themselves, and when they can’t or don’t, emotional pressures build up. David’s efforts to fix a problem by human means only made things worse.
“My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue, LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am. Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah. Surely every man walketh in a vain show: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them.” (Psalm 39:3-6)
The efforts to maintain silence resulted in growing frustration and finally he could keep silence no longer. David asked God to help him understand the end result of his life and how long it would be. So that he could understand how weak and powerless people are. He realized our earthly life is extremely short, as compared with history, and that even a hundred years is nothing compared to eternity. At best a man’s accomplishments produce no lasting benefit, and our efforts to gain wealth and power are only a show. People put out all the effort to achieve these things for nothing and they have no real control over who will benefit when they die. It is just a rat race on a treadmill, going nowhere.
“And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee. Deliver me from all my transgressions: make me not the reproach of the foolish. I was dumb, I opened not my mouth; because thou didst it. Remove thy stroke away from me: I am consumed by the blow of thine hand. When thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity, thou makest his beauty to consume away like a moth: surely every man is vanity. Selah.” (Psalm 39:7-11)
David realized his only hope was in the Lord. The only way he could control his tongue was if God did it. He asked God to prevent him from doing and saying things that were wrong so that the foolish people were not making fun of him. He also asked that God end the punishment because knowing God was disappointed with him was crushing his spirit, leaving him feeling worthless.
“Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears: for I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were. O spare me, that I may recover strength, before I go hence, and be no more.” (Psalm 39:12-13)
David asks that God show him his forgiveness because his happiness and his very life is based on God’s acceptance, just as was that of his ancestors. Like a child asking a father he loves to show his love after he has been punished, he is desperate to know he has been forgiven. If that forgiveness was not received, like the child, David might well be swallowed up in his unhappiness and give up hope. It is critical that the relationship be restored.