Scripture reading – Psalm 141


The title of Psalm 141 states, “A Psalm of David.” Knowing the author but not the time or place the song was composed, we are left to our own opinion regarding the circumstances that inspired the psalm. It was undoubtedly a reflection on a time of peril, most likely composed when David fled from Saul into the wilderness (1 Samuel 20-22). I invite you to consider Psalm 141 in four parts.


David’s Cry for the LORD’s Favor (141:1-2)


David prayed the LORD would “make haste unto [him]; give ear unto [his] voice” (Psalm 141:1). Like a frightened child who screams, and the mother hastens to bring comfort, David trusted the LORD would hear and heed his cry for help. He sought the LORD’s attention and asked that his prayer be as sweet in God’s sight “as incense [and] …the evening sacrifice” (Psalm 141:2).


David’s Petition for the LORD’s Help (Psalm 141:3-4)


David desired not only to be the object of the LORD’s favor but that he would be kept from sinning with his mouth (Psalm 141:3-4). He prayed, “Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; Keep the door of my lips” (Psalm 141:3).


Indeed, that should be a prayer all believers would pray! James warned centuries later, “The tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity…it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:5-6). David not only prayed for the LORD to bridle his tongue but that he would be kept from following the wicked ways of men (Psalm 141:4).

David’s Prayer for Humility and Vindication (Psalm 141:5-6)


David prayed the LORD would find in him the humility to heed wise counsel and the meekness to accept rebuke as “an excellent oil” (Psalm 141:5). He had been the object of lies and slander, but he prayed for vindication. He looked forward to the day his judges, that is, his persecutors, would “hear [his] words” (Psalm 141:6).


David’s Faith in God’s Grace and Deliverance (Psalm 141:7-10)


Like bones scattered with no grave, David found himself in a desperate, hopeless place (Psalm 141:7). Yet, he was committed to keeping his eyes on God (Psalm 141:8) and trusting the LORD would not abandon and leave him alone (Psalm 141:8). Praying for protection, and vindication, David commended himself to the LORD. He prayed that his enemies would fall into the snares they had laid for his demise (Psalm 141:9-10).

Closing thoughts:


Of the four parts we observed in David’s prayer, perhaps the matter of one’s mouth would resonate with us all. Although he was on the run and unjustly pursued by an enemy, he was nonetheless sensitive that he would not become like his enemy. Therefore, David prayed: “Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; Keep the door of my lips” (Psalm 141:3).


David prayed that the LORD would guard his mouth against saying anything foolish and be the doorkeeper of his lips. Should we not pray and desire the same?


1 Peter 3:10 – “For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile.”


Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

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