Today, I had one of those rare moments where I opened up to a random portion of scripture and it just so happened to say exactly what I needed to hear. For me, this passage was Psalm 141. Here, I found David’s cry to God followed by a plea for righteous living. As I read the chapter over and over, I realized how prevalent this passage is to my life today; I also realized how extremely counter-cultural it is.
I encourage you–right now– to reach for a Bible or pull up Bible Gateway to get a look at Psalm 141. The first two verses of this chapter are David crying to God. It seems like David has had a rough day, and he asks the Lord to “come quickly” and hear him (verse 1). This pleading with God, however, only takes up two verses of this 10 verse chapter.
In verse 3 and 4, David asks God to keep him from saying things he will regret. As I read this passage, I imagine David in a situation where he has been hurt. He asks God to come quickly and hear him out, and follows that up by asking that he doesn’t fall into the trap of using evil and wicked words. David is asking God to keep him above reproach. At the end of verse 4, David says, “Let me not eat of their [the wicked's] delicacies”. David knows that there is serious satisfaction in yelling, and being angry, and giving people a piece of your mind, but he know’s it’s not godly.
In verse 5, David leaves the door wide open for God to send someone to set David straight. He says, (and I paraphrase) “If I’m wrong, send someone to hit me over the head with a good dose of righteousness so I can do right”. That right there takes a serious amount of courage! David is asking God for constructive criticism (which I can say is one of my least favorite things).
Near the end of the chapter, David asks that his words will have impact; that God will use him to set the evil-doers straight, to foil their plans, and give them a glimpse of Jesus. And finally, David asks for protection. I feel like David is still a little scared. He knows that God will protect him, but I think he also knows that he is about to get a lot of grief for what he is about to do.
I hope I can have a heart like David– a heart like God’s. I don’t want to do the most satisfying thing if it’s not the right thing, and I don’t want to do the safe thing if it’s the wrong thing. Psalm 141 is David’s prayer– so that’s where I encourage you to start when you face these tough times. Get down on your face, and pray.