By Dirk Coetzee
It is good for us to see what other people have asked from God, and how and for what purpose they asked it. David, the writer of Psalm 141, opens his life to Divine correction, Divine direction and Divine protection. This prayer we are about to read is a prayer for HELP. Help to live a life that is honouring to God. That he might be safe-guarded against speaking wrong or evil words, that he might be safe-guarded when facing temptation and that he might be open and accepting of honest criticism.
In (vv1-2) we see the depth of honesty in his request…this deep desire to live a life that is pleasing to God. Hence his request, ‘come quickly to me…hear my voice…accept my prayer as incense before you and the lifting of my hands as an evening sacrifice’ that which pleases you.
Notice his request is not for self- gain but for the glory of God…
Firstly he requested Divine correction:-
“Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.” (vs3)
James wrote that, “the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts.” (Jas.3:5) Boasting, gossip, critical speech, fault finding, words that lack compassion, cursing, unkind words, judgmental words, words that are dishonoring to God somehow flow from our lips with great ease.
“Let not my heart be drawn to what is evil.” (vs4)
Guard my mouth, guard the doors of my lips guard my heart. Evil acts and evil words begin with evil desires in the heart. Lord protect me from being drawn into anything that is wicked… may I not hold the hands of evildoers and follow in their ways.
Secondly he requested Divine direction – ‘God make me accepting of honest criticism and rebuke’.
“Let a righteous man strike me – it is a kindness; let him rebuke me – it is oil on my head.” (vs7)
Who of you likes to be criticised or rebuked? It’s a humbling painful experience. How many of you would ever request it? Yet David does! He is so keen to do what is right to live to the glory of God that he is willing to accept correction and rebuke and instruction from other godly men.
Folk, honest criticism is beneficial, don’t refuse it but consider it a kindness. Don’t resist it or fight against it.
But it is to God that he gives the key of all his belief, his behavior, his being. He rounds off his prayer by:
Thirdly requesting Divine protection – ‘But my eyes are fixed on you. O Sovereign Lord; in you I take refuge…’ (vs9)
His eyes are fixed on God, and in Him is all his trust that he may be kept from the snares of wickedness. There is no escape from temptation and trouble in this life, but the grace of God will help us to win the victory over them.
How desirous are you to live a life that is absolutely pleasing and honoring to God? Such desire will gladly request the guarding of one’s mouth, lips and heart.
Grahamstown Baptist Church