The Righteous One a Pilgrim and a Stranger

David is under some form of suffering and chastening. Yet in the middle of it he is determined to bridle his tongue, or muzzle it, as in the margin. Indeed, he controlled his anguish and feelings, so that the wicked would not have occasion to level any charges of weakness or unbelief at him. He realises that the stroke which smote him, was of the Lord, and so would not want to dishonour or betray his God. And therefore he remained dumb. It must have been a grievous and physically weakening experience, as he prays to recover strength. Such was the affliction, that he was brought to measure his days.

When we are chastened of the Lord we are to realise that the world is watching, and so we must watch our speech and actions before them, and not make complaint. It also teaches us how frail we are, and the brevity of our existence, and to number the days of usefulness that we have left. May we, with David, resort to prayer at such times.


Psalm 39

  1  I said, I will look to my ways,
        lest with my tongue I sin:
     In sight of wicked men my mouth
         with bridle I'll keep in.

  2  With silence I as dumb became,
        I did myself restrain
     From speaking good; but then the more
        increased was my pain.

  3  My heart within me waxed hot;
        and, while I musing was,
     The fire did burn; and from my tongue
        these words I did let pass:

  4  Mine end, and measure of my days,
        O Lord, unto me show
     What is the same; that I thereby
        my frailty well may know.

  5  Lo, thou my days an handbreadth mad'st;
        mine age is in thine eye
     As nothing: sure each man at best
        is wholly vanity.

  6  Sure each man walks in a vain show;
        they vex themselves in vain:
     He heaps up wealth, and doth not know
        to whom it shall pertain.

  7  And now, O Lord, what wait I for?
        my hope is fix'd on thee.
  8  Free me from all my trespasses,
        the fool's scorn make not me.

  9  Dumb was I, op'ning not my mouth,
       because this work was thine.
 10  Thy stroke take from me; by the blow
        of thine hand I do pine.

 11  When with rebukes thou dost correct
        man for iniquity,
     Thou wastes his beauty like a moth:
        sure each man's vanity.

 12  Attend my cry, Lord, at my tears
        and pray'rs not silent be:
     I sojourn as my fathers all,
        and stranger am with thee.

 13  O spare thou me, that I my strength
        recover may again,
     Before from hence I do depart,
        and here no more remain.


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