Guard My Tongue

Psalm 39:1-3
“I said, ‘I will guard my ways, Lest I sin with my tongue; I will restrain my mouth with a muzzle, While the wicked are before me. I was mute with silence, I held my peace even from good; And my sorrow was stirred up. My heart was hot within me; While I was musing, the fire burned. Then I spoke with my tongue:'”

There are times in life when words seem like a raging fire building within us and we are almost forced to speak. This can be positive, like when Jeremiah wrote of being so discouraged he no longer wanted to share the words of God with anyone, until those words became like a fire within him and he could no longer  contain them. Or this can be negative, like when gossip burns within us, pleading to be passed on to others; or when in the midst of an argument, we lash out with hurtful words that shatter someone we love.

Perhaps we can learn something from the pen of David. He wrote,  at those times he restrained himself by putting a muzzle on his tongue. I doubt David is speaking literally of a mechanism that restrained his mouth from moving. I think, instead, he set guidelines for his life that restricted him from saying foolish or hurtful things. We can do the same. The bible gives us some valuable guidelines which will help us control what comes out of our mouths. We can use the following verses like a muzzle, to keep us from sinning with our mouths.

Ephesians 4:29 “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

1 Peter 3:9 “. . . not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.”

Proverbs 11:13  “A talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter.”

Proverbs 15:1  “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

Pastor Jim



Psalms 4:4 
“Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still.”

As A child, I spent a lot of time on the ocean. My dad loved sailing and we would spend time every summer living on the boat. I can remember times when the seas were so rough that we had to put anything breakable on the floor of the cabin, so it would not be knocked down and broken. In seas like that, it became very difficult to walk. I can remember grabbing hold of anything solid to keep me from falling overboard. When we reached the shore, even the solid ground seemed to move under my feet. Emotions are like that. They often seem like a turbulent sea; when we let them control us, we find that life is a pretty unstable place.

In this Psalm, David is facing things that would certainly impact his emotions. While he does not divulge a lot of detail, we know that his life was constantly being threatened. There were people who wanted to kill him, keep him from the throne, or take the throne from him. In the midst of that kind of conflict, David takes a moment to exhort us regarding emotions.

“Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still.”

David states we can be angry and not sin. That means at least two things. One, there is an anger that is righteous. There are certain things that, if we are a child of God, must anger us. If we look at the rise of ungodliness around us, and are not effected emotionally, we need to check our spiritual pulse and be sure we truly are born again. But there is a second, more practical truth here. Anger is not sin; anger is an emotion. Like all emotions, when they rise up within us, we have a choice to make. Do we allow our emotions, or a force greater than our emotions, to control us?

In Galatians 5, Paul contrasts living in the Spirit with living after the flesh.

“Walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh.”

Walking in the Spirit means we are allowing ourselves to be influenced by the Word of God, rather than by our emotions. The Holy Spirit wields the Word of God like a sword, revealing how God would have us react. At that moment, we are left with a choice, will we give in to our emotions and react in a sinful manner, or will we succumb to the work of the Spirit, and react in a godly way? David goes on to give us his secret on how not to give in to the flesh, he says, “Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still.” In other words, when our emotions begin to rage, whether anger, fear, jealousy, anxiety or any other wave of emotion, we must place our attention upon the Lord. We must seek Him for the strength to behave in a way that is pleasing to Him, and ultimately beneficial to the circumstances. Don’t live after the flesh. Don’t let your emotions be the driving force in your life. Allow the Spirit of God to use the Word of God to direct you, even when your emotions are like a turbulent sea.

Pastor Jim

Psalm 4

  1. What does David declare that the sons of man are in love with?
  2. Anger can be a terrible thing. Because of it we often find ourselves doing or saying things we wish we hadn’t and even hurting the people that we love the most. What does David tell us to do when we are angry?
  3. This psalm is a song, it was written not just to be read but sung at the top of our lungs as an expression of praise. According to verse 7 what is the mood of this song?
  4. The Lord alone can turn troubled times and an angry person into a celebrating saint. Take your trials to Him today