Christian, Psalms

Oh, Lord, Guard My Tongue!

Psalm 39

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.

In this Psalm David addresses a problem that I think all of us fall into once in awhile – our words. David realized then that we could sin with this little thing that wags in our mouths. And actually it is probably the thing which we sin the most with

James in the New Testament does a really good job talking about problems with the tongue in chapter 3. If you have some time you should look that up and study on it, especially if you have had problems holding your tongue.  Real briefly I can go over a few of his finer points here. He tells us that if we offend not with our words we should be able to tame our whole body. In verse 6 he says that the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity, and that it defiles the whole body. We bless God with it and then we curse man with it. He says these things ought not to be so

Coming back to the Psalm, David asks God to keep his mouth with a bridle.  I’m sure all of you know that a bridle is used to keep a horse’s mouth under control. It is one of the most difficult things to do to keep our mouths under control, especially when people are speaking evil against us or are doing things that we don’t appreciate. In verse 2 He was dumb with silence and held his peace even though sorrow was in his bones. Sometimes we just have to hold our tongue so that we will not offend.

This is extremely important brothers and sisters. We only have to look at the recent election that was recently held in our country to see how great a fire a tongue can kindle. It will be hard to put out that fire for a little while. So I urge you to watch your tongue in the coming days if you live in the United States. The tongue should be used to pray people and to edify people

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 shew: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them.

Finally David gets so worked up that he says he while he was musing,  the fire burned, and he finally spoke. But he spoke to the Lord and not to those people who are driving him crazy. He asked the Lord how long his days were going to be because these people were out to kill him, and he thought maybe his end was near, so he wanted to know if he was going to live for a little while longer. He realized that the power of his life was in the Lord’s hands. let us never forget that!

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.

10 Remove thy stroke away from me: I am consumed by the blow of thine hand.

Finally David gets up the boldness to say Lord what am I waiting for?  My hope is in you! He says he be worried about talking about the enemy.  Imagine that!  He was son concerned about offend with his tongue, he wouldn’t even speak against his enemy! He asks the Lord to deliver HIM from all HIS transgressions. He didn’t want to be a reproach. Then he says he didn’t open his mouth because he realized that it was a Lord who is in control of the circumstances. And he asks God to remove it heavy hand against him.

What a revelation this is on David’s part, and one that we can definitely learn from. If you have people coming against you all the time, maybe God is trying to teach you something! You can pray all you want that God will remove the enemies but it might be wiser to ask God to change you.

I remember decades ago a sermon that I heard when I was still a young Christian. There was a gentleman in our church that always seemed to be in a bad mood. He didn’t like the pastor and after the song service he up and left and did not stay for the sermon. I held this against him and often wanted to say something mean. Then an evangelist came in and preached a message call “Lord, change me”. It was like he was speaking right to my heart. I learned that day that if circumstances around me are difficult there’s a lesson for me to learn in that. I can pray the circumstances away or I can pray that person away that’s giving me fits. But if I successfully do that God will just bring somebody else around to teach me that lesson. I’m better off to ask God the show me what it is that needs to change in me. If you can learn this lesson and practice it on a regular basis you will know a peace and joy if you haven’t experienced yet.

11 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.

12 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.

13 O spare me, that I may recover strength, before I go hence, and be no more.

David finishes up the psalm by stating that we should not rebuke somebody because it could really cause them problems. He asks God to hear his prayer and keep his mouth at peace so that he will not offend his fellow man. You know that God can help him with this, and he will help us as well.


2 thoughts on “Oh, Lord, Guard My Tongue!”

  1. Pete,
    I read through your commentary on Psalm 39.
    I pray Lord change me. Please help me to hold my tongue with others and use it to pray for them and edifying.
    Thank you for your work in the word …. I am looking forward to reading more.


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