In reading Psalm 39 with the family I was reminded of how diverse the world’s counsel is and how divergent it is from biblical truth.
David begins this Psalm by connecting his actions with his speech. He resolves to guard his ways SO THAT he will not sin with his tongue. That’s how important our words are. He goes on to say that by keeping his mouth shut around his detractors was exhausting and even appeared useless.
Then, when he did open his mouth it was to pray (vv.3-4). When he prays he asks God to remind him of his mortality so that he would have perspective of his current circumstances and hope in God appropriately. In his waiting (while praying) David realizes that more tragic than anything an enemy could do would be for God to remove His favor. In fact, it’s as if David has an “aha” moment and realizes that he is being disciplined by the Lord for his own sinfulness, even attaching the very circumstances that he is enduring as an act of God to reprove him and lead him to hope only in God.
That’s not what the world does. The world is so riddled with victimization ideals that speech is disconnected from action, which disconnects a person from responsibility. Christ said that our speech pours out the motivations of our heart. The world speaks as if words mean nothing. Are we any different?
Unlike David, the world speaks as if it will go on forever. People need serious doses of mortality because it produces wisdom. However, even in the face of death and tragedy the world will often play it off as anything but governed by God. I do not mean that in a harsh way, simply that in David’s case, his difficult circumstances ended up being the discipline of the Lord for sin.
We would do well to hold our tongues and NOT vent. There is nothing biblical or godly (as if they’re separate) about venting and just regurgitating our emotional responses all over those who would listen to us.
May we hold our tongues, endure our circumstances and when we do open our mouths to pray first. In such praying we will get God’s perspective of the circumstances and find our resolute hope in God!