Text: “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.”
Good morning, God-heeding Christian! By God’s free and Sovereign grace, you and I have not only heard God’s Word with our hearts, and been saved - but, by the vital help of the Holy Spirit, began to take serious heed to His Word, and sought to apply the lessons of Scripture revealed so graciously to us by Him. This is practical Christianity.
“But be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” (James 1:22)
How often do we learn of professing Christian friends, acquaintances, who only reach for a Bible when going out to church on Sundays? For the rest of the week that same Bible is stashed away in its own particular nook or cranny of the person’s home, never seeing the light of day; its pages never opened and read? What a sorry state.
However, how much more is the fact that, many of us who are continually reading Holy Scripture from our Bibles, preaching it, and teaching it - seem not to be practicing the same diligence in applying what we read in God’s Word to our constant, daily, lives? Be honest now, Christian friend! ‘Honesty IS the best policy!’
Knowing what is good and right, and just and chaste, and Holy and wholesome – does not guarantee one actually does what is good and right, and just and chaste, and Holy and wholesome! The ‘walk’ must be commensurate to the ‘talk’, my friend, and we ALL fail too often to practice what we preach. Fact. ‘Forgive us, Lord God.’
“…Knowledge puffeth up, but charity (love) edifieth. And if any man/woman think that he/she knoweth (knows, and continues to know) anything, he/she knoweth nothing yet as he/she ought to know. But if any man love God, the same is known unto him.” (1 Corinthians 8:1-3)
Charles Haddon Spurgeon, in his introduction to the Psalm 39 has this to say:
“The Psalmist, bowed down with sickness and sorrow, is burdened with unbelieving thoughts he resolves to stifle, lest any evil should come from their expression (verses 1-2). But silence creates an insupportable grief, which at last demands utterance and obtains it in the prayer of verses 3-6, which is almost a complaint and a sigh for death, or at best a very desponding picture of human life. In verses 7-17 the tone is more submissive, and the recognition of the Divine hand more distinct; the cloud has evidently passed, and the mourner’s heart is relieved.” (Treasury of David, page 187)
Henrich Ewald (1853), speaking of Psalm 39, calls it “The most beautiful of all the elegies in the Psalter.” (Elegy: noun, a song of mourning; a funeral song; a song of serious, pensive, or reflective mood. The Chambers Dictionary, page 521)
Verse 1. “I said. I steadily resolved and registered a determination. In his great perplexity his greatest fear was lest he should sin; and, therefore, he cast about for the most likely method for avoiding it, and he determined to be silent. It is right excellent when a man can strengthen himself in a good course by the remembrance of a well and wisely-formed resolve.” (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 187)
Verse 1. “I will take heed that I sin not with my tongue. Tongue sins are great sins; like sparks of fire, ill-words spread and do great damage. If believers utter hard words of God in times of depression, the ungodly will take them up and use them as a justification for their sinful courses. If a man’s own children rail at him, no wonder his enemies’ mouths are full of abuse.” (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 187)
“And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of Hell…But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” (James 3:6;8)
“Man’s mouth, though it be a little hole, will hold a world full of sin. For there is not any sin forbidden in the law or Gospel which is not spoken by the tongue as well as thought in the heart or done in the life. Is it not then almost as difficult to rule the tongue as to rule the world?” (Edward Reyner 1600-1670)
How often, in a spate of ill-temper or utter frustration have we spit out harsh, cruel, or ill-advised words – often to those who love us, and whom we love very dearly? All hell can break loose once our tongue is left unbridled for just a moment. Then Satan laughs at us, and attempts to laugh at the Lord God because of our puny errors. However, the Lord, because of what Christ Jesus has done for us at Calvary, always has the last and Divine laugh. Praise and all glory to His Holy and precious Name!
“He who sitteth in the Heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.” (Psalm 2:4)
Christ Jesus, the Son of the Living Lord God, cries out in total Victory on behalf of ‘His people’ – “It is finished!” “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.” (Romans 8:33) Hallelujah! What a Saviour we have!
Thought: With these basic facts in mind, therefore, let us seek to control our tongues; let us ask the Spirit of God afresh to ‘bridle our tongues’ to speak only what He inspires and directs us to speak. May the Lord God help each of us to speak accordingly. Amen.