LORD, I cry out to You; make haste to me! Give ear to my voice when I cry out to You. Let my prayer be set before You as incense, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice. Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips. Do not incline my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with men who work iniquity; and do not let me eat of their delicacies. Let the righteous strike me; it shall be a kindness. And let him rebuke me; it shall be as excellent oil; let my head not refuse it.
David’s known progression through the Psalms saw him go through many different phases of his faith. He had really high highs, and he had really low lows. He went through times of persecution and oppression that took him to the depths, but he also went through similar times during which his spirit was incredibly lifted and positive. He ran the gamut of emotions during his writings, and there are valuable lessons in there for us. One of the overarching themes of these writings is the example of how our faith should inform our reponses to similar life experiences. I think that this later chapter in the book gives us the example of what a well-directed and maintained faith looks like.
David touched on some key points of faith in these verses, which I believe he learned through his journey. As he asked God to help him build his faith, he had a strategy behind his request. He wanted his prayers to be a worthy sacrifice to the Lord. We honor God by agreeing in prayer with his will, which takes discernment and knowledge of that very will, so David was asking to know God’s desires. He also asked for God to control his mouth, which is no different than controlling the tongue. He then asked for God to make the outpouring of his heart pure, and we know that the mouth speaks from the heart. Lastly, David vowed to suffer persecution well, not to evade it but to welcome it because of the blessing it is.
David’s points of focus here are what our points of focus should be in our faith. Regardless of the circumstances thrown at us, we should desire these things at all times. We should be prepared to offer a sacrifice of prayer to God always, having discerned his will. We should want him to help us keep our hearts pure and control the tongues which speak forth from those hearts to bring life and not death. We should want to share in the sufferings of our Savior, and they should bring us joy. We should desire to be well-rounded saints in these ways, to please our Lord and bless him with our lives. Father, guard us and build us as David sought, that our faith would remain constant in all things.