May God Guard Our Speech And Our Hearts From Wickedness
1 I call to you, Lord, come quickly to me;
hear me when I call to you.
2 May my prayer be set before you like incense;
may the lifting up of my hands be like
the evening sacrifice.
3 Set a guard over my mouth, Lord;
keep watch over the door of my lips.
4 Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil
so that I take part in wicked deeds
along with those who are evildoers;
do not let me eat their delicacies.
5 Let a righteous man strike me—that is a kindness;
let him rebuke me-that is oil on my
My head will not refuse it,
for my prayer will still be against the
deeds of evildoers.
When we are in trouble, we cry out to God. And that is the underlying desire that God places in our hearts – to seek Him out. David, the Psalmist, cries out to God regularly, and petitions God to hear his pleas. David remembered that God was sovereign, heard his cries, and would help him in his time of need:
6 In my distress I called to the Lord;
I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came before him, into his ears.
7 The earth trembled and quaked,
and the foundations of the mountains shook;
they trembled because he was angry.
8 Smoke rose from his nostrils;
consuming fire came from his mouth,
burning coals blazed out of it.
9 He parted the heavens and came down;
dark clouds were under his feet.
10 He mounted the cherubim and flew;
he soared on the wings of the wind.
11 He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him-
the dark rain clouds of the sky.
12 Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced,
with hailstones and bolts of lightning.
13 The Lord thundered from heaven;
the voice of the Most High resounded.
14 He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy,
with great bolts of lightning he routed them.
15 The valleys of the sea were exposed
and the foundations of the earth laid bare
at your rebuke, Lord,
at the blast of breath from your nostrils.
16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
but the Lord was my support.
19 He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me.
David requests that his prayers be like incense, a fragrant offering to God. He also requests that his raised arms be like a sacrifice before God. In his worship and pleading to God, the Psalmist seeks to pour himself out before God as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to the Rock of his salvation. David recognized the desire that God placed in his heart to please God in everything that He did. That didn’t keep David from sinning, but his heart was constantly and consistently turning towards God.
David asked that his mouth be guarded so that he would not speak evil from it:
A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
David’s sense of God’s holiness and righteousness were paramount in how he lived his life. We often carelessly say things to people. David most likely did the same, and asked that God help him with that. In addition to pleasing and honoring God in this, there is another good reason to ask for this ourselves:
36 I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, 37 for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.
David then asks God to help protect his heart from desiring evil:
The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?
Apart from the protection of God in our hearts, they will become corrupt. In the beginning, it was so bad, that God could only find eight people on earth who were righteous before He flooded it. He also said something telling about humans as a race of people:
The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled.
This is NOT to say that God makes mistakes. He knew that we would do what we would do before He created the Earth. But the pain of watching sin take hold of the hearts of men and what they would do grieved God, even though He knew it would occur. That is why He sent His One and Only Son, Jesus Christ, to be our final and perfect sacrifice for sin.
God doesn’t make mistakes; He cleans them up.
David so greatly desired to he draw close to God and do God’s will that he would welcome a rebuke from a righteous man. To do so would mean that David was somehow in sin, or doing something displeasing to God. A rebuke from the righteous man would help him to straighten out whatever he was doing wrong, and therefore live in greater harmony with God’s character. Oil on the head was used as anointing and healing, and David would indeed be blessed if sin that had blinded him was pointed out and addressed.
David’s prayers were constantly towards the changing of hearts of those who were doing evil. His prayers weren’t against the evil people per se, but rather against their evil actions. And while David did get angry enough on at least one occasion to ask that the evildoers have their names blotted from the rolls of the book of life, he generally and genuinely desired that others would join him in his pursuit of God in righteousness and holiness.
A Qualifying Question
Let’s ask a question: Am I pleading for God to guard my mouth and heart so that I will not sin against him?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, time and time again Your word declares You to be holy and righteous. Help me to have a better and deeper understanding of just how holy and righteous You are. Reveal to me the ways that I sin against You so that I can address them and walk ever more closely with Jesus. Please do not overwhelm me, but gently and gradually help me to not only desire to overcome my sin, but to replace the my sinful desires with a longing for You in my heart. Holy Spirit, Overpower my wickedness with Your holiness, and strengthen me as I turn from all unrighteousness and walk towards Jesus. Lord God Almighty, You and only You are able to help me to overcome, for You have overcome. Amen.