Psalm 39 1-3
I said, “I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth while in the presence of the wicked.” : But my anguish increased; my heart grew hot within me. While I meditated, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue.
David is in the middle of prayers of anguish. God is rebuking him for his transgressions. Psalm 38 speaks of silence before the enemy, Psalm 39 speaks to silence before God. Both acknowledge sin, and both express a deep trust in God.
I read this message to me today as a guide for my life for the times when I get angry. How often have I felt “burning fire” within me when I am angry? Sometimes I feel like a heat is welling up inside me. First, I must vow ahead of time to “watch my ways and to keep my tongue from sin.” If I steel myself ahead of time not to let the fires of anger consume me, I will be better able to control anger when it kindles. Second, David imagines a muzzle or bridle for his tongue. When I get angry I try very hard not to say things that I will regret. If I think of a muzzle for my tongue, it will be easier to not sin in anger with my tongue. Finally, I must remember that when I get angry and speak out, it reflects badly on my faith in God. Jesus rarely got angry, but when he did, it was righteous anger. Examples of righteous anger are anger at money changers in the temple or anger at child abuse. Often my anger is not righteous but selfish. Selfish anger is prideful anger. I want to try harder to be angry only at things that Jesus would be angry at. Even righteous anger must be controlled so as to bring glory to God.
Father, Help me to only be angry with things that you want me to be angry with. I must think, “is my anger righteous or selfish?” I vow ahead of time to watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin. Remind me to suppress my tongue when the fire burns hot. Help me to always be a shining light, illuminating your glory.
– Don J