Psalm 36:1-2 "An oracle is within my heart concerning the sinfulness of the wicked: There is no fear of God before his eyes. For in his own eyes he flatters himself too much to detect or hate his sin."
These verses nearly make me shiver with the danger they portend.
Arrogance is a fire that we too often play with, but it won't just burn our fingers. It will consume our souls. Do we even realize the danger we put ourselves in? Arrogance gradually pushes God out of the way, saying that I know more than the Creator of the Universe. Which is ridiculous, but that's exactly what arrogance says. After all, wasn't that Lucifer's sin, thinking he should be higher than God?
Arrogance blinds us to our desperate need for a Savior. It tricks us into thinking we aren't sinners. And, if I'm just as good as God, what's so special about Him? It's a dangerous slope that leads to ruin.
God wants humility in His people. Humility begins with a healthy fear of the Lord. When we recognize that we are so low in comparison to God Almighty, we realize that we have nothing to be arrogant about. God loves me beyond my comprehension, and the only right response is humble gratitude.
Psalm 37:1 "Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away."
Sometimes it can feel like we're getting the raw end of the deal when we see people doing wrong, enjoying themselves, and seemingly going unpunished. I wonder how often we want to see them get what's coming just to validate our choices, because sometimes they seem to be having a lot more fun than we are.
The truth is, though, that sin's consequences always come. Sin is fun; do you really think we would choose it if it was all misery? But it doesn't last. Eventually everything comes crashing down. For the Christian, though (the repentant sinner), our joy is anchored in Something that lasts forever. Sin's pleasures last only for a moment before burning away and leaving people empty and broken. I would much rather find my joy in Christ, Who lasts forever.
Psalm 39:2 "But when I was silent and still, not even saying anything good, my anguish increased."
David, recognizing the danger of the tongue, tries to be silent. He doesn't want to get himself in trouble with it, especially in the presence of the wicked. Yet, though he's silent, he's not at peace.
Our mouths (or whatever our primary mode of communication is) are probably the most dangerous parts of our bodies. Too often, I open my mouth without really thinking about it, and out spews something I'll regret. Out of our mouths so easily come our jealousies, our petty little disagreements, our desire for revenge. We so often speak without considering the effect our words will have on other people, the picture they paint of us, or the purpose of speaking them. Something pops into our heads, so we say it. Our mouths are dangerous.
But, if God hadn't wanted us to use our mouths, then He wouldn't have given them to us. We are created for communication and relationship. The question then is what we're supposed to be communicating. You remember the old adage: "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." Well, the opposite is also implied: If you do have something nice to say, perhaps it's time to open your mouth. That's why David felt so anguished. Our mouths (and our hands, for those who use sign language) are meant to praise God joyfully, to pray without ceasing, to speak Truth into people's lives, to encourage others.
It's true that our mouths can be dangerous. But they are powerful when used for good. I want to use my words deliberately, carefully, and as God directs.
How do these verses strike you? What has God been showing you lately through Scripture? Let me know in the comments!