my housemate Monkman [aka Aaron Condon] and i are trying to set aside a meal to fast and pray together every week and this week on Thursday we sat on the floor in the office and read through psalm 17 which was the next one i was going to look at. and when we finished we read through psalm 18. and then 19. and it was so refreshing just reading a bunch of psalms together – we didn’t really discuss in depth or anything but just soaked in God’s word… try it.

so psalm 17…

very big one in verse 4: ‘I have resolved that my mouth will not sin.’ – between gossip, and speaking things that break down and don’t build up, as well as below-the-belt across-the-line kind of talk, this one is something that has been in huge focus in my life and community this week. and i think it is so important to note how easily we can justify any of these when we do it [“it’s not gossip, it’s sharing/caring/concern”; “it was just a joke, i didn’t really mean that”; “oh, i’m not as bad as…”] but be able to distinguish how bad it is in others [“he is such a gossip”, “that girl is so negative all the time”, “wo, i can’t believe you went there”]

but the Bible has a lot to say about the tongue and how we can use it for evil as well as for good… ‘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.’ [James 3.9-10]

proverbs 15 has some more key things to say about the tongue:

‘A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.’

‘The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.’

‘The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.’

‘The lips of the wise spread knowledge, but the hearts of fools are not upright.’

‘The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly.’

[vs 1, 2, 4, 7, 14]

the psalmist says, ‘I have resolved that my mouth will not sin.’  If we could all live with that same kind of conviction, i believe we would transform the world. Speaking the truth in love, building up, holding people accountable, encouraging people in their gifting, warning those we love when they step close to the edge, speaking the name of Jesus more as an accompaniment to our actions…

psalm 17 has a lot more to offer, for sure, but i think that is enough for now.