King David. His very name can conjure up a host of different images in your mind. Only a boy. Bear killer. Giant Slayer. Harp Player. Warrrior. Cave Dweller. Hesistant Lover. Fearless fighter. Mighty man with his own band of mighty men. Bathtub woman looker. Repentant sinner. God follower.
One thing I know, David understood the military. He understood what it meant to serve his post and lead others. We “want men like him on the wall” to losely coin a Jack Nicksolson line. He knew what it meant to guard and to be guarded. He knew what it meant to have the right men for the job. He understood well that life and death hung in the balance. So when David writes in Psalm 141, “Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips,” I believe he is talking about the desire for some extreme verbal control here.
You see, where I live, a guard may be an underpaid retiree who checks on the local factory at night. But where David lived, a guard was, well, a guard. He was a Bonnie Tyler, “I Need a Hero,” kind of guard–strong, fast, fresh from the fight; sure, soon and larger than life. A guard who, when put on his post, wouldn’t let anything or anyone get by who doesn’t have the authority to do so, because if they did, someone may lose their life–like him–just for letting someone get passed.
David wanted a guard over his mouth that was going to do his job to help protect both David and those around him no matter what. He wanted a God chosen guard who would keep his “tongue from evil and his lips from speaking lies,” (Psalm 34) make his “prayers like incense” (Psalm 141) to the Lord, keep his “words few” (Ecclesiastes 5) and full of wisdom (Proverbs 10). David must have known what I am forced to re-learn everyday. I can’t do it alone, and I need a God sized guard over my mouth as well.
You may be like me and if so, friends, it’s time for a changing of the guard. Are you like me and, all too often, choose yourself as the guard over your mouth? And like me, are you often a lousy guard? Do you slack, sleep and slough off your real responsibility where tongue control is concerened? When I am on guard, all too often I allow sarcasm, biting words, critical thoughts, or inappropriate remarks to slip through my Burt’s Bee’s balmed lips. Oh, I have good intentions. . .(and we all know what is said about those), but, we need more than good intentions. We need the God ordained guard of the Holy Spirit set over these mouths that are the doorposts to our heart. It’s no wonder that God himself tells us that, “above all else ‘guard your hearts.'” (Proverbs 4)
It’s time to keep praying and to keep saying and to keep committing to allowing God to set His guard over our mouths and over our hearts. And its time to start trusting His ability to protect and stop trying to figure out ways to outwit him, like some spoiled child in a Disney movie.
I’ve had the privilege of witnessing the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. There, of course, it is the changing of one royal guard for another. Never is one chosen for his lackadaisical, apathetic, underachieving spirit. Each man chosen models the character, responsibility, honor, integrity, valor and value of the King or Queen they serve, stand for and represent, allowing the world to catch of glimps of the the spendor of the Kingdom. This is exactly what I am called to do. Represent accuarately the character of the King I serve with honor so that the world can see His true splendor. A King-size task for sure, so today I pray as King David did,
Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips. Let not my heart be drawn to evil, to take part in wicked deeds.”
Amen and Amen