The Word Made Fresh
(A psalm of David)
1I call upon you, LORD. Hurry to my side.
Hear me when I call.
2Let my prayer rise as incense before you.
I lift my hands to you as an evening sacrifice.
3Set a guard over my mouth, LORD.
Keep watch at the door of my lips.
4Don’t allow my heart to turn toward any evil.
Don’t let me be involved in wicked things.
or keep company with those who are immoral.
Don’t allow me to feast on their desserts.
5Let those who are righteous slap me.
Let those who are faithful correct me.
Never let me be anointed with the oil of evildoers.
My prayers are always against them.
6When they are turned over to the judges
they will learn that these words of mine are well spoken.
7Like a rock that one breaks apart and tosses out on the ground,
let their bones be scattered in their graves.
8But I look to you, Lord my God.
I seek safety in you and beg you to defend me.
9Rescue me from the snares the wicked lay out for me.
Keep me out of their traps.
10Let the wicked fall into their own snares
while I alone pass safely.
Superscription: David’s 68th.
1-4: As the last psalm concerned imagined enemies, this is a prayer of protection against the author himself becoming like them! He is asking God to keep him from engaging in the same kinds of iniquity with which he feels threatened from others. I remember a quote from the old comic strip Pogo: “We have met the enemy and he is us.” This is what the psalmist is asking to be protected from.
5-7: The author recognizes that he sometimes needs to be corrected, and realizes that if he allows himself to use the same tactics as his enemies, he will never overcome them, nor deserve to do so.
8-10: His prayer is that he will remain focused on God – that is, he will endeavor to live according to God’s laws – and that God will protect him from his enemies.
David (or whoever penned this psalm) was beset by people who wanted to turn him away from the right path and engage in behavior that he knew would not have God’s approval; probably for their own selfish gain. His prayer, and ours, is that we will not be lured into behavior that is not in keeping with faith in God.