Thursday, March 31, 2011

On Guard

"Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth;
         Keep watch over the door of my lips.
 4 Do not incline my heart to any evil thing,
         To practice wicked works
         With men who work iniquity;
         And do not let me eat of their delicacies." Psalm 141:3-4

Think first, then speak.  Wise, wise advice given many times over.  I've heard that in so many variations, to think before speaking, and yet, sometimes, there are times where we just open up our mouth and blurt something that perhaps we shouldn't.  Maybe we tell a lie, or we call someone a name, or in the case of a parent, maybe we scold a child just a little more than we should have. 

This Psalm of David is a most excellent one to memorize and to recite over and over.  By making it a part of ourselves, it can serve as a reminder that our words should be words of love, of encouragement, and of understanding. A simple word can deflate someone entirely, or build them up and give them just the encouragement they need to do the next big thing.   My son is an excellent example of that with his reading skills.  He's a very good reader, and I've long been encouraging him to try reading some more difficult books, but he always refused, saying he wasn't a good enough reader to be able to do so.  Well, I told him over and over, many times, that he is a most excellent reader, and apparently, I got to the point where I told him that enough.  He agreed.  He picked up the more difficult book and surprised even himself with the ease in which he read that book.  My job there was to encourage him, to tell him that he could do it- if I had even voiced doubt for a moment about him not being able to do it, he'd still be sitting here with a picture book.  But instead, I chose to reinforce over and over for him what I already knew- my words gave him encouragement.

Guard our words, Dear Lord, but then also look at the next verse. Do not incline my heart toward an evil thing.  As I read that second verse there, I am reminded of social situations where we may be tempted to do something we wouldn't normally.  I mean, really, how many of us are all by our selves when we are most tempted- not often.  Oh, it happens sometimes, but most of the times, temptation will come from those we are with at the time.  Even as I get older in life, social situations still always manage to present themselves.  "Do not let me eat of their delicacies" basically says to me, don't let me get caught up with them even once.  Because after the first time, it's easier the second time.  Think of a delicacy.  Think of the most delicious bite of food you've had in a special situation.  Think about how much you might like to have just another bite of that at some time.  You've had it once, and now you want it again.  Temptations can be just like that.  We give in once, and it's easier to give in a second time.

These verses are all about asking to help protect us against the ways of this world.  And what wonderful verses they are!  They are the perfect ones to memorize and then recite to help us guard against falling into sin most unexpectedly. May we all take these verses into our hearts so that they become a part of us- and may the Holy Spirit bring them to mind exactly when we need them.

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