Intro: In our world today, sometimes it seems like evil goes unpunished. Even though that may be something we observe and or may even be temporarily true, because of Scripture, we know it is not the eternal truth or the final outcome. The nature of the God of the bible reveals divine retribution—supernatural punishment—based on evil in the heart.
The Apostle Paul reassures us, “Do not be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit” (Gal 6:7-8). So, our revelation about the nature of God shows although he operates in righteousness, justice, and mercy, he does not and never will ignore evil actions. Sometimes, God allows the natural consequences of personal sin to prevail as retribution. The natural world has an order and disaster is inescapable when humanity violates that order; every human action produces a reaction from God whether experienced now or later.
In our passage today, David is dealing with unjust criticism, hatred, and persecution from wicked people. He doesn’t mind taking criticism from righteous and loving people; in fact, he welcomes it. However, the struggle David faces dealing with the perceived victory of wickedness is real. Yet, David knows evil acts begin in the heart. Therefore, David asks God to help him guard his heart against the wrong desires—to fight the temptation of taking matters into his own hands. David is praying and asking God to protect him from himself. This seems like a very wise prayer to me.
Psalm 141 A psalm of David.
O Lord, I am calling to you. Please hurry! Listen when I cry to you for help!
Accept my prayer as incense offered to you, and my upraised hands as an evening offering.
Take control of what I say, O Lord, and guard my lips.
Don’t let me drift toward evil or take part in acts of wickedness. Don’t let me share in the delicacies of those who do wrong.
Let the godly strike me! It will be a kindness! If they correct me, it is soothing medicine. Don’t let me refuse it.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for the privilege of praying and asking for you to protect and guard my heart against every form of wickedness. Help me to accept righteous criticism and trust you to handle the judgment of evil. May the attitude of my heart be acceptable to you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.