While on the way back from West Palm Beach earlier today, I had the opportunity to listen to an excellent sermon about “Finishing the Race.” In that particular sermon, the speaker went to one of my favorite Psalms (though, truth be told, a lot of them are favorites of mine), Psalm 141. The speaker did not quote the whole psalm, but quoted a very valuable portion of it. In light of my comments yesterday about blogging , I would submit that this particular psalm deals with many of the concerns that derail bloggers, given its focus on traps, rebuking, and having godly words. This blog offers the sort of prayer that a Christian (or Jewish) blogger could (and should) offer on a regular basis.
Set A Guard, O Lord, Over My Mouth: An Examination of Psalm 141
Let us now turn to Psalm 141 and examine how Psalm 141 offers itself as a blogger’s prayer. Let us divide the hymn into three sections based on their concerns. The first section deals with the request of the believer (David, and those who share his concerns) that God protect and hear his mouth (or keyboard). The second passage deals with the response of the godly believer (and blogger) to the rebuke of the righteous. The third passage deals with the hostility of the believer (and blogger) to the deeds of the wicked. Together, these three concerns make for a proper and properly balanced viewpoint on behalf of someone engaged in public communications, giving it a wide applicability.
The first section of Psalm 141 reads as follows: “Lord, I cry out to you; Make haste to me! Give year unto my voice when I cry out to you. Let my prayer be set before You as incense, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice. 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 wicked works with men who work iniquity; and do not let me eat of their delicacies.” This verse offers some very specific and relevant requests. For one, David wished his communications to be pleasing and worthwhile to God, as offerings (as anyone who is engaged in public communications ought to wish), and he also wanted God to guard his lips from saying anything rash or foolish (a very excellent request for bloggers) as well as to keep him from practicing evil with evildoers, so that he would not run with the wrong crowd and be led into evil. We could all stand to make that prayer.
The second, and shortest, section of Psalm 141 is a pointed one: “Let the righteous strike me; it shall be a kindness. And let him rebuke me; it shall be as excellent oil; let my head not refuse it.” This section is short, but gets to the point–the rebuke of the righteous is a good thing. When someone cares about us enough to point the right way, they are taking the chance that we will show them hatred or hostility. But for the righteous, being pointed in the right direction is (literally) a Godsend. Instead of showing anger towards rebuke, David (and the godly blogger) consider it as heavenly oil, like the oil priests were anointed with (Psalm 133:2). Likewise, the rebuke of the godly on a blog is a good thing, as it means someone cares enough about you to warn you rather than hate you in their hearts and yet say nothing (Leviticus 19:17).
The third section of Psalm 141 is a very long condemnation of the wicked: “For still my prayer is against the deeds of the wicked. Their judges are overthrown by the sides of the cliff, and they hear my words, for they are sweet. Our bones are scattered at the mouth of the grave, as when one plows and breaks up the earth. But my eyes are upon You, O God the Lord; in You I take refuge; do not leave my soul destitute. Keep me from the snares they have laid for me, and from the traps of the workers of iniquity. Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I escape safely.” This particular section reminds us (if reminder was necessary) that God delivers us from evil, and is our comfort and refuge in wearisome flame wars with the wicked. Likewise, we all ought to pray for God to deliver us from the traps set out for us by evildoers with their smooth words and devious plans. We cannot rely on our own wisdom alone.
In Brief: Some Quick Lessons For Bloggers From Psalm 141
Having looked at Psalm 141, let us now distill some very brief lessons from this psalm for the believing blogger:
- Remember that your ultimate audience is not men, but God.
- Our words (and blogs) are to be a sacrifice to Him, and not merely for our own benefit.
- We need God to watch our lips and prevent us from speaking amiss.
- We need to avoid running with an evil and corrupt crowd of people whose conduct would corrupt our character.
- The rebuke of the righteous is a holy blessing, rather than something to be upset about.
- We ought to continue to pray and speak against the deeds and plots of the wicked.
- The wicked will eventually receive their proper and just condemnation.
- God is our refuge in internet flame wars with evildoers, and our encouragement in times of frustration and worry.
- We ought to pray for God to deliver us from the traps and plots of the evildoers we face in the public arena.
These are all worthwhile things for a believing blogger to pray about, lest we fall into condemnation because of trusting on our own cleverness or wit rather than on God, whose strength and wisdom far exceeds our own. Likewise, we ought to be aware that even a modest blog is itself a front in a spiritual battle against the forces of darkness, whose agents use keyboards just as do the children of light. A blog is merely another arena for the permanent warfare between good and evil. We need to remember what side we are on, and pray accordingly.
 “It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron, running down on the edge of his garments.”