Holding My Tongue

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In Psalm 39, David addresses an interesting choice he made: to keep quiet, to hold his tongue…to not argue back.

Imagine that…Selah.

We have become a nation of “right fighters” (to use a well-worn Dr. Phil-ism). We argue for argument’s sake. We chose to be right, no matter how ridiculous we sound or how much damage it does to our witness…or our relationships.

David probably felt he had every right to speak. After all, he WAS God’s chosen one. But he opted to put a muzzle on himself.

The problem was, it didn’t solve the problem. What he wanted to say just built up inside until he was ready to burst. He saw issues, problems and he became frustrated by not addressing them.

But when he was at his bursting point, instead of exploding on the person creating the issue, having the problem, making the mistake, or whatever…he didn’t vent or rant all over them. He didn’t go to social media and spill his guts. He didn’t dump on a friend.

No. He turned to God. “I felt a fire burning inside, and the more I thought, the more it burned, until at last I said, “Please, LORD, show me my future (vs. 4-5a).”

He took his anger directly to the place where it could do the most good and then rather than focusing on someone else, someone who he couldn’t change—no matter how much he argued—he pleaded with God to better understand himself.

Imagine that…Selah.

As a pastor, I have talked and counseled with many people who are angry…typically with the behavior or choices of someone else…sometimes with God. And they stew and stew until they finally blow. Usually the eruption ends up falling upon someone totally innocent and unworthy of the volcanic spewing.

When I query as to whether they consider taking the matter to God, they are shocked and appalled. In their minds they have “protected” God from their anger…as if that’s possible and as if God couldn’t handle it—he’s just so fragile, you know?

God’s not fragile. He’s also not afraid of our anger. Paul clearly instructs the Ephesians to “be angry, but sin not.” Remember, Jesus got angry on the more than one occasion—just ask the money changers in the temple, or the Pharisees.

Hold your tongue when you can. Nothing is gained by arguing for argument’s sake. And before you dump your anger on someone else, try taking it to God. He can handle it.

Nehemiah Devotions Chapter 3, Day 5

Friday Rebuild (all materials present in the rubble for the task)

Text: The Fish Gate was built by the sons of Hassenaah. (Nehemiah 3:1, NLT)

According to Warren Wiersbe’s study on Nehemiah, “Be Determined,” the word built is used six times in Nehemiah 3 and it means rebuilt. For this rebuilding no new material was needed. Instead the workers found the material in the rubble around them (Be Determined, p. 39).

How often do we put off doing the work while we wait for what we think we need: supplies, programs, people, funds?

Perhaps we could begin to see progress if we would use what is at our hand.

WP Neh 3-5 what's in your hand

When God wanted to use Moses, the reluctant servant came up with all kinds of excuses. God asked him what was in his hand. It was his staff, until he threw it on the ground, and then it became a serpent.

David defeated Goliath with the smooth stones he had in his pocket.

Jesus fed the multitude with the lunch of a child, five small rolls and two sardines.

What has he given you to use? What’s in your hand?

WP Neh 3-5 use what God has given