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  • Writer's picturePastor Mike

March 12 2023

Today, Sunday March 12

“While I Was Musing, the Fire Burned”

Psalm 39:1-3 To the Chief Musician. To Jeduthun. A Psalm of David “I said, "I will guard my ways, Lest I sin with my tongue; I will restrain my mouth with a muzzle, While the wicked are before me." I was mute with silence, I held my peace even from good; And my sorrow was stirred up. My heart was hot within me; While I was musing, the fire burned. Then I spoke with my tongue:”

Did you ever fail, make a mess of things, and suffer the consequences of your sin or sins in a way that everyone is able to notice? You were hoping that your family and friends would be praying for you and helping you get back up spiritually, but you begin to hear that instead they are talking behind your back. They are gossiping and slandering you. Especially those who never liked or cared for you in the first place, are doing their best to bring you down. This hurts worse than if someone stabbed you with a knife.

When you read Psalm 39, you get the idea that this is what is happening to David. In Psalm 38, David was confessing his sins and describing the painful suffering he experienced because of them. But now in this Psalm, David has people around him that are attempting to destroy him, and he can either react the wrong way in anger, or he can respond the right way and get grace from the LORD to deal with it.

First, as we begin our study and meditation on Psalm 39, the title lets us know that David is the writer of this Psalm. There is a dirge-like quality to the Psalm, and we marvel that David gave the hymn to the chief musician to use in public worship. Jeduthun was one of three musicians David put in charge of the worship at the sanctuary; the others were Heman and Asaph (see 1 Chron. 16:37-43; 2 Chron. 5:12; 35:15). Jeduthun is also mentioned in the titles to Psalms 62 and 77.

In both Psalm 38 and 39 David is attempting to remain silent in a time of trial, lest he say something that would offend believers or give ammunition to unbelievers (38:13-14; 39:1-3, 9; see 73:15). (For other parallels, see 38:15-16; 39:7-8; 38:1-3, 11; 39:10-11.) In this psalm, David doesn't seem to be gravely ill, but he has been visited by some "stroke" from the Lord because of his sins (vv. 9-11). Also, the old problem of the prosperity of the wicked is in the picture (v. 1). It appears that the wicked ("the foolish" v. 8) were blaspheming God and maligning David in his affliction, and the king was greatly concerned lest he bring reproach on the name of the Lord.

Seeing the prosperity of the wicked and hearing their blasphemous words so angered David that he wanted to retaliate and say something to defend God, but he deemed it best to keep quiet. But this restraint only made his heart burn with intense pain (see Psalm 32:3 and Jer. 20:9) until finally he had to speak out. The two Emmaus disciples had "burning hearts" because of the way the Lord had expounded the Word to them, and Ezekiel had anguish in his spirit because of the difficult calling God had given him. David didn't even say good things; he just kept quiet as long as he could.

There is "a time to keep silence, and a time to speak" (Eccl. 3:7), and wise is the person who knows the difference. David didn't argue with God (v. 9) or with those who reproached him, but he did pray to the Lord. We can learn a great lesson from this passage. If we continue to “muse” on those who are slandering and gossiping about us, our hearts will burn with anger, fear and anxiety. To “muse” means to meditate on, to think about, to take it to heart.

Or we can be like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, we can “muse” on the Words of Jesus and our hearts will burn with hope and delight and be filled with joy and peace. For sure we sometimes can’t help but hear about those who are kicking us while we are down, and it hurts, but like David we can response by keeping our mouth shut and holding our tongue.

May the LORD use this Psalm to guide and help us to turn to Him in our time of grief over those who maligned us.

God bless!

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