Tag Archive: psalm 38

‘I said, “I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin;
I will put a muzzle on my mouth while in the presence of the wicked.”'[vs.1]

strong opening line and one we could all learn from, which James picks up and runs with in chapter 3.1-12 which includes these warnings:

‘With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.’ [James 3.9-12]

as we read the psalm further, we see david can’t stay silent, but the idea of not rushing in with your mouth [yeah, yeah, i can still learn lots here sometimes, i didn’t say these weren’t addressed directly at me] is a good and wise one. the tongue can be such a destructive force and there is no UNDO button to save and make it as if it never happened – trust can be rebuilt [usually S-L-O-W-L-Y] but said things can not be unsaid and have a habit of being brought back to the surface with the littlest encouragement.

another idea behind the need to ‘put a muzzle on my mouth while in the presence of the wicked’ might be because bad talk can be contagious. when someone else starts gossiping or speaking bad about someone who is not around, the huge tendency and temptation is to use that as an opportunity to get all my built up irritation/frustration with that person or their actions out and before you know it the reputation of that person is lying pierced and bleeding on the floor in front of us, with no means of defence…

so i should always watch my tongue, but ESPECIALLY when i am in the company of others who are more likely to speak badly so that i won’t be caught up in it.

there is a lot more in this psalm and i would love to hear a thought that stood out for you in the comments section, but i think with the emphasis that James and others puts on the tongue, that it is worth just stopping for a moment and really letting this sink in, and maybe making a decision to take longer to speak and especially be careful of anything said about someone who is not in the room…

[To return to the Intro page and be connected to any of the other Psalms i have walked through before now, click here]

‘Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath.
Your arrows have pierced me, and your hand has come down on me.
Because of your wrath there is no health in my body;
there is no soundness in my bones because of my sin.
My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear.’ [vs. 1-4]

Um, wait, what? This must be one of those other psalms, right, the psalms not written by david?… Nope, says it right there, a psalm of david, a petition…


something must have happened.

the “them” became the “me” perhaps…?

which i have been alluding to as from psalm to psalm we have been seeing this gung ho “kill the bastards” type attitude from david towards “those who sin” giving the strong impression that he was not part of that team… and now suddenly, he has fallen, and not just a little [popular opinion places this psalm after the bathsheba incident] and now suddenly he is the prodigal shamefully crawling home with his tail between his legs and no longer the older brother indignantly declaring his worth and deservement of reward.

how quickly the tables turn.

i wonder how differently david would write most of the psalms we have looked at already now that he finds himself on the other side – do you think his “smite the enemy” and “decimate those who sin” calls might be more grace-filled restoration focused petitions?

how does this affect the way i view the people who i don’t like or who have hurt me [maybe really deeply and painfully] when i start to get how someone maybe doesn’t have to be a complete schmunglehead to do complete schmunglehead things? because i did those things so it can’t be SO bad, right?

‘Lord, do not forsake me; do not be far from me, my God.
Come quickly to help me, my Lord and my Savior.’ [vs. 21-22]

while it is a good thing to call on God in your time of need and brokenness, once has to ask the question of whether david might have had a lot more people to call on as well and to have gather around him [dispensing grace, mercy, love, forgiveness, compassion] if he had shown a lot more of it to others in his previous writings…

i hope this psalm in some small way is a reminder to us that God has shown us incredible grace and mercy [love, forgiveness, compassion] in sending Jesus to die in our place. How dare we not extend the same kind to those around us, whose sins against us will not likely compare with God’s need to pour His wrath on His very Son.

[To return to the Intro page and be connected to any of the other Psalms i have walked through before now, click here]

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