Psalms – Prayers of Honesty
When we try to do all the right things, determined to watch our steps and our tongues carefully so we won’t cause trouble for anyone it might be more of a chore than we thought. When we see evil get the upper hand in people who put down others by making fun of them, how long can we hold our thoughts back? When evil tears down the good being accomplished, how long can we say nothing and do nothing? It’s hard. WHAT do we do in the meantime?
Psalm 39, The Message
A David Psalm
1-3 I’m determined to watch steps and tongue
so they won’t land me in trouble.
I decided to hold my tongue
as long as Wicked is in the room.
“Mum’s the word,” I said, and kept quiet.
But the longer I kept silence
The worse it got—
my insides got hotter and hotter.
My thoughts boiled over;
I spilled my guts.
4-6 “Tell me, what’s going on, God?
How long do I have to live?
Give me the bad news!
You’ve kept me on pretty short rations;
my life is string too short to be saved.
Oh! we’re all puffs of air.
Oh! we’re all shadows in a campfire.
Oh! we’re just spit in the wind.
We make our pile, and then we leave it.
7-11 “What am I doing in the meantime, Lord?
Hoping, that’s what I’m doing—hoping
You’ll save me from a rebel life,
save me from the contempt of dunces.
I’ll say no more, I’ll shut my mouth,
since you, Lord, are behind all this.
But I can’t take it much longer.
When you put us through the fire
to purge us from our sin,
our dearest idols go up in smoke.
Are we also nothing but smoke?
12-13 “Ah, God, listen to my prayer, my
cry—open your ears.
Don’t be callous;
just look at these tears of mine.
I’m a stranger here. I don’t know my way—
a migrant like my whole family.
Give me a break, cut me some slack
before it’s too late and I’m out of here.”
SOMETHING TO CHEW…
Both 38 and 39 record David attempting to remain silent in a time of trial, for fear he would say something that would offend believers or give ammunition to unbelievers. It appears that the wicked (“the dunces,” v. 8) were blaspheming God and maligning David in his affliction, and he was greatly concerned. He did not want the name of the Lord to be offended and brought down with him.
David wanted to retaliate and say something to defend God, but he deemed it best to keep quiet. But this restraint only made his heart burn with intense pain until finally he had to speak out. There is “a time to keep silence, and a time to speak” (Eccl. 3:7), and wise is the person who knows the difference. David didn’t argue with God (v. 9) or with those who reproached him, but he did pray to the Lord.
We can learn from David. First be silent, pray to God, listen for His words in difficult, painful situations. Be wise, follow God’s lead. Say nothing until God says to speak at the right time, in the right Spirit, with His words.
Hurt people hurt people. When we see others put down and maligned, what do we do first? If it is prayer to God, what do we pray? What do we ask God?
AND what do we do in the meantime while we wait on God’s wisdom?
“Hoping, that’s what I’m doing…” We hope in the wisdom of the Lord. He will save us. He will resolve and restore life issues. Our hope in the Lord will strengthen us in the trial and the wait. Our hope will see the reason that the Lord is putting us through fires to knock off all the rough edges of our being so that we will be all He intended for us to be. Trials of fire purifies our dull hearts and souls and helps us to shine more brightly…until God sees His own glory as a reflection of His love and care in us. Tough, yes, but necessary.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for listening to the cries of my own heart this morning. Continue to do what you must in me, but be gentle. Help me to love more, extend more grace, have mercy, walk justly with You guiding my every thought, word and action.
In Jesus Name, Amen. My hope is in You, Lord.