Keep watch over the door of my lips. Do not incline my heart to any evil thing
Psalm 141 from the daily reading in the One year Bible
An Evening Prayer for Sanctification and Protection.
O Lord, I call upon You; hasten to me!
Give ear to my voice when I call to You!
2 May my prayer be counted as incense before You;
The lifting up of my hands as the evening offering.
3 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 deeds of wickedness
With men who do iniquity;
And do not let me eat of their delicacies.
5 Let the righteous smite me in kindness and reprove me;
It is oil upon the head;
Do not let my head refuse it, For still my prayer is against their wicked deeds.
6 Their judges are thrown down by the sides of the rock,
And they hear my words, for they are pleasant.
7 As when one plows and breaks open the earth,
Our bones have been scattered at the mouth of Sheol.
8 For my eyes are toward You, O God, the Lord;
In You I take refuge; do not leave me defenseless.
9 Keep me from the jaws of the trap which they have set for me,
And from the snares of those who do iniquity.
10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets,
While I pass by safely.
The psalmist acknowledges that not only does his protection and provision come from God, but also it is only through God that he can be and do good. He says: Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips. Do not incline my heart to any evil thing, To practice deeds of wickedness With men who do iniquity. Without God the psalmist and we ourselves are left to follow our own hearts and our own desires. The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9) James 3:6-8 says: The tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. Without God’s help and without His intervention we are left to the evil and deceitfulness of our hearts and we bear the consequences of the words we speak and the actions we take. Proverbs 18:21 says: The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences. James 3:10 says: from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. Jesus says: “Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” (Luke 6:28) In Matthew 7:1-2 Jesus says: “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” This too may be the result, if we curse others, we ourselves may bear the same judgment and curse.
The psalmist recognizes and so should we, that it is only through the Lord that we can curb our unrighteousness. It is only through our obedience and submission to Him that we are freed from our own lusts and desires. 2 Corinthians 5:17-19 says: If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. Through Christ and the cross we are reconciled to God. We are made new, no longer subject to our own desires. Jesus says: “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:29-30) To walk in this world free from sin and the consequences of sin, we must walk yoked to Christ, following Him, submitted to Him in all that we say and do.
In Matthew 10:18-20, Jesus is speaking of the difficult times we may face as His followers. He says: “You will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say. For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.” To be yoked to Christ is to be led by and submitted to the Holy Spirit, to allow the Spirit to lead and to speak God’s words into every situation. In John 18:7-14 Jesus says: “I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you… But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me.”
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit my prayer today is the prayer of the psalmist: Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips. Do not incline my heart to any evil thing, To practice deeds of wickedness With men who do iniquity. I am thankful that through the power of the cross I have been made new. I am no longer bound by the deceitfulness of my own heart or the desires of my flesh. Rather yoked to You, Lord Jesus, through submission to the Holy Spirit, I can walk and work in the world, doing the work and the will of the Father, speaking and bringing blessing and not curses for myself and others. Amen