The Words of My Mouth and the Meditation of My Heart
by Liz Griffin
King David starts Psalm 19 with the majestic statement that the heavens proclaim the glory of God and that they speak of His message. Nothing can hide from the warmth of the sun as it shines its light upon the earth and the instructions of the LORD are perfect, reviving his soul, his very life. God’s commands are right and bring joy to his heart. God’s clear commands give David insight for living and the laws of God are true and fair. If he obeys them, they bring great reward.
But, David says, there is something which can prevent him from knowing God’s blessing in this way, and that is the sins of his heart. He knows he has blind spots about them. ‘How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. Keep your servant from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin’ (Psalm 19:12-13). He then prays this beautiful prayer, ‘May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer’ (Psalm 19:14).
This seems to be the first mention in the bible of anyone wanting the words of his mouth and the thoughts of his heart to be pleasing to Father God. But the Book of Proverbs has much more to say about the use of the tongue for good or for evil. And Jesus certainly taught us about the sins of the heart and how the words which spring up from them are like a tree having bad fruit. We are responsible for our heart attitudes and the words we speak.
As a believer and follower of Jesus I need to be open to the Holy Spirit showing me when the words I speak and the thoughts inside me have not been pleasing to Him. It can be so easy to get into habits of speaking critically and negatively to others or about others. Perhaps I am only reflecting the culture around me or the way my family and friends would normally speak. But that won’t be a valid excuse when I stand before the Lord to give an account of every careless word I have spoken (Matthew 12:36).
Fernando Ortega turned this prayer into a song using Psalm 19:14 and Philippians 4:8. ‘Let the words of my mouth be pleasing to You, pleasing to You. The meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, pleasing to You, Oh Lord, my strength and my redeemer. Oh Lord, my strength and my redeemer. Whatever is true, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is worthy, think on these things. Think on these things. Let the words of my mouth be pleasing to You, pleasing to You’ (Album 2006 The Shadow of Your Wings).
Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, thank You for this necessary reminder in the Psalms that I should pay attention to the words that come out of my mouth and the thoughts I have in my heart. Please help me to focus my thoughts on what is true, pure, lovely and worthy instead of getting distracted by all that is wrong in the world. May my words be like the words Jesus would speak to others and about others in my situation.
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