Verses 1 - 3 I said, "I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth as long as the wicked are in my presence." But when I was silent and still, not even saying anything good, my anguish increased. My heart grew hot within me, and as I meditated, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue
This is a psalm about the discipline of the Lord. Hebrews 12 says God will discipline us. The word ‘discipline’ is defined as training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior, especially training that produces moral or mental improvement. According to Hebrews we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! (Heb. 12:9) It is not a matter of punishment but a matter of training.
It is also not an issue of being under the law but of grace, which is defined by Strong as being the divine influence upon the heart and its outward working. When we receive Christ into our lives things start to change. Some things immediately, some things relatively quickly and some over a period of time but things will change, this we can be assured of. Romans 12 tells us that we will be transformed by the renewing of our mind. This is the work of the Holy Spirit breathing on scriptures as we relate to Him. The word comes alive and persuades us to change, to lay down our former way of life and to take up the new way of life as exemplified by Christ. (What would Jesus do?)
The first 3 verses of the psalm say he tried to not talk thereby holding his tongue from sin. Why? Because our words reveal the condition of our heart! Some times it’s not only our words but it’s the tone with which we say them. When the Holy Spirit is convicting us in an area of our life, we may think as the psalmist did - if I could only keep my mouth shut everything will be ok. I have tried this method and it doesn’t work. Silence is usually understood as agreement and if you don’t agree you have problems.
The psalmist describes the whole process of the Lord’s training as a scourge. In verse 10 he says, ‘I am overcome by the blow of your hand’. Hebrews 12 states in verse 11 that no discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. As children of God we can resist correction, as would one of our own children. We think the way I am is good and we want what we want when we want it. It’s only after we have released it to the Lord that we realize the true effect it was having on our life.
This psalm quite vividly describes the feelings and emotions we encounter in our walk with the Lord. But as a good father cares for his children’s welfare how much more does our Heavenly Father care for us. He loves us too much to leave us as He found us. This psalm is written to remind us we aren’t the only ones to feel this way. The process we are encountering and the way we are reacting are normal to all of us. Selah!
Prayer: “Lord, help me to recognize what is happening to me in the transformation of my mind. Give me the grace to yield willingly to you and to know that my discipline will end in righteousness and peace. Amen.”