As Psalm 140 was a prayer similar to our Lord’s in asking for deliverance from evil, Psalm 141 continues that theme and adds the other part of that verse in the Lord’s prayer.
Lead us not into temptation. (Matthew 6:13)
Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.
Let not my heart be drawn to what is evil, to take part in wicked deeds with men who are evildoers; let me not eat of their delicacies. (3-4)
It strikes me here that he focuses on two things: the words of his mouth, and the meditations of his heart.
He prays, “Lord, don’t let anything evil come out of my mouth.”
So often, Christians struggle with just that. Whether it’s grumbling or complaining, gossip, slander, hurtful words, or whatever it may be. Just a couple of days ago, I caught some sarcastic complaints coming out of my mouth. And God rebuked me for it.
David also worried about his thought life, and he said, “Don’t let my heart be drawn to what is evil. Don’t let my heart see the evil people around me, and be attracted to it. To envy who they are and what they have.”
For when we allow our hearts to meditate on evil, it’s only a short step to acting on it.
Jesus also pointed out the importance of our thought lives in other areas. He said that if we harbor anger in our hearts toward our brother, we have murdered him in our heart (Matthew 5:21-22).
He also said that if we lust after a woman, we’ve committed adultery with them in our hearts. (Matthew 5:27-28)
God is not only concerned about our deeds, but our thought life as well. David knew this, and so he prayed that God would guard his heart as well as his lips.
He also determined to keep a humble, teachable heart that was willing to accept rebuke. He told God,
Let a righteous man strike me–it is a kindness; let him rebuke me –it is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it. (5)
So many of us take rebuke as burning coals. But David took it as soothing oil. This is not to say that the words were soothing at the time. When Nathan confronted David for his sin with Bathsheba, and his murder of her husband, it must have felt like heaps of burning coals on his head.
Yet he repented, and God forgave and restored him.
That’s one of the keys to fighting temptation. A humble heart that will accept correction. A heart that doesn’t harden itself to God’s rebuke.
David then closes by again asking for deliverance from evil, from the people that would destroy him.
Every day, may we pray the same.
And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. (Matthew 6:13 — NASB).