Psalm 139: 1-4
“O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me...Thou knowest my down sitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off...Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways...For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.”
Have you ever been a party to some juicy piece of gossip? You get a telephone call first thing in the morning, from a friend. She says, “Have you heard the latest?” Right away your ears perk up. You haven’t heard anything exciting lately, so you are all ears to share in the gossip your friend has to tell you. You sit down, the phone in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. You don’t stop to consider that what you are hearing may not be the truth. You listen eagerly.
Now, a few days later you get another telephone call, from another friend. This time she is a true friend. She is sharing what she has heard from someone, about you. She wants you to know, because she knows it is not true. She wants to give you the opportunity to verify the falsity of the rumor. You tell her she is right. It is not true. But you are hurt. Then you remember the other friend, and her tale. You remember that although you did not repeat the story she had told you, you listened and did not do anything about stopping the rumor.
The 139th psalm is a passage of Scripture I like to read every once in awhile. It reminds me that no matter what I do, no matter where I go, no matter what I think, God knows all about it. Sometimes this is a comfort, but sometimes it is quite disconcerting. God knows whenever I sit down, whenever I rise up, whether my thoughts are good or evil. He knows whether the words that come out of my mouth are meant for blessing or cursing. This makes me stop and think. So many times things come out of my mouth, which I mean one way, but they come out all tangled up to someone else’s ear. And that can cause a lot of trouble.
James 3 talks about the tongue, and all the good it can do—or all the evil it can spread. He likens it to fire. Even a spark can cause a fire. James says that the tongue is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
It is very difficult to monitor every single thing that I say, fearing that I may offend someone, or cause a misunderstanding, or that a message may be misconstrued by having it fall on the ears of the wrong person. This can so easily happen. Sometimes if I am in a group I may say something in a low tone so that others are not able to hear. But God knows what I say, even if I whisper. In fact, He even knows what I am thinking. Psalm 139 reminds me that there is not a word in my tongue but that He knows it before I speak it.
This fact both scares me and comforts me. The reason? Because verse 17 tells me that His thoughts are precious towards me. “How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them. If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand.”
My prayer today is: Psalm 139:23 & 24…”Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” I commit my thoughts and tongue to You, Oh God. May I not offend You in any way.
And may I stop gossip in its track. May I not only stop it, but may I correct its damage, if it is at all within my power to do so. Amen.
© Helen Dowd
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