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January 19, 2020

Please read today’s Scriptures and use the comment section on this page to share your insights from today’s reading. You can also just mention a verse that impacted you or post a question!

Read (and Hear) the Bible in One Year
New American Standard Bible for 2020

Text: Exodus 4-6
Audio: Exodus 4-6

Psalm 39 (ESV)

To the choirmaster: to Jeduthun. A Psalm of David.

I said, “I will guard my ways,
    that I may not sin with my tongue;
I will guard my mouth with a muzzle,
    so long as the wicked are in my presence.”
I was mute and silent;
    I held my peace to no avail,
and my distress grew worse.
    My heart became hot within me.
As I mused, the fire burned;
    then I spoke with my tongue:

“O Lord, make me know my end
    and what is the measure of my days;
    let me know how fleeting I am!
Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths,
    and my lifetime is as nothing before you.
Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah
    Surely a man goes about as a shadow!
Surely for nothing they are in turmoil;
    man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather!

“And now, O Lord, for what do I wait?
    My hope is in you.
Deliver me from all my transgressions.
    Do not make me the scorn of the fool!
I am mute; I do not open my mouth,
    for it is you who have done it.
10 Remove your stroke from me;
    I am spent by the hostility of your hand.
11 When you discipline a man
    with rebukes for sin,
you consume like a moth what is dear to him;
    surely all mankind is a mere breath! Selah

12 “Hear my prayer, O Lord,
    and give ear to my cry;
    hold not your peace at my tears!
For I am a sojourner with you,
    a guest, like all my fathers.
13 Look away from me, that I may smile again,
    before I depart and am no more!”


English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

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Next: Psalm 40

Back: Psalm 38

This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. Time Is Short

    Today's psalm centers around David's lament at the brevity of life. For us, there is much value from this psalm as it helps us reflect on just how short life really is (and the importance of making the best use of the time we have). 

    For some, making the best use of their time is to spend it on themselves – doing what makes them happy and fulfilled. David's mindset in the opening verse was to guard his ways and his mouth (Psalm 39:1).

    In his commentary on the Psalms, James Montgomery Boice writes, "Jesus had a short life of only thirty-three years. Yet his was the most significant ever lived. If we live for him, our lives will be significant too, however short or long they may be.

    1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body."

    James 4:14 says, "You do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes."

    Let's make the most of the time we have and bring glory to our Lord in all we do.


    ~ Puritan Prayer ~

    "Seeking Jesus for Yet More Grace" by Robert Hawker

    "Jesus, Master, have mercy upon me! I wake this morning poor, wretched, empty, and needy—as though I never before had heard of your dear name, or had never been living upon your fullness.

    But you know I cannot live upon the alms of yesterday, no more than my body can stay healthy from the food I ate many days in the past. Without a new supply, Lord, I know that I am yours, and that you are mine.

    So I come to you for a new supply, and surely you will not send me away empty.

    Lord, I rejoice even that I feel my poverty—that way, as an empty vessel, I am better suited to receive your fullness.

    Give in, blessed Jesus, to my poor hungry soul. Then I will find a reason to rejoice that my emptiness and begging pushed me to seek you, and that my need gave you an opportunity to display your grace.

    A beggar still I wish to be, and to lay at your gate, if only to glimpse your face, and to receive one token from your fair hand. Then am I most full, when most empty, to be filled with Jesus. Amen."

    (Excerpt taken from Piercing Heaven: Prayers of the Puritans)

  2. David begins his psalm writing about how he watched his words and put a rein on his tongue when he was around the wicked:

    "I said, 'I will guard my ways,
        that I may not sin with my tongue;
    I will guard my mouth with a muzzle,
        so long as the wicked are in my presence.'"

    Long before the apostle James wrote about worthless faith (James 1:26) and before Paul exhorted Christians to speak only words that build up (Ephesians 4:29), David was already mindful of his responsibility to mind his words and speech as an ambassador for His sovereign Lord. I love when the Old Testament shows the Holy Spirit already at work.  

    But David's flesh was burning within him and tempting him, too! As he guarded his lips and tongue, his heart "became hot" within him. Whatever he was thinking and feeling was just driving him crazy, and the longer he held it in, the worse that burning became, until…. 

    "I was mute and silent;
        I held my peace to no avail,
    and my distress grew worse.
    My heart became hot within me.
    As I mused, the fire burned;
        then I spoke with my tongue…"

    I was on the edge of my seat when I read those words, having been there so many times.

    But wow…instead of doing what the flesh would want (which I have done and regretted so many times!), David cried out to God.

    What a perfect psalm for me this morning before I head into the office for the day!

    I want to follow the example I've read here this morning, knowing and remembering I am being sent out among the wicked as an ambassador for Christ, carrying the message of reconciliation. I want my tongue to be controlled by the Holy Spirit, whose fruit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control (Galatians 5:22-23).

    And that begins in my heart.

    "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
    be acceptable in your sight,
    O LORD, my rock and my redeemer." Psalm 19:14

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