Psalm 141

Psalm 141
by Pastor Lawrence

This psalm doesn’t fit neatly into any of the major types normally used to categorize the psalms. It is very unique in it approach as David at first lifts up his cry to God for help which is typical of a lament, then transitions into what might seem like a wisdom psalm before ending on an imprecatory note. This psalm was likely composed by David when he was being pursued by King Saul sometime in the evening hours for in v.2 he offers his prayer unto God as both incense and an even sacrifice unto God.

David begins the prayer calling upon the name of the Lord and begging God to give ear to his voice. Not only is there a great faith and expectation that God will hear his prayer, but also a sense of urgency in his cry for deliverance from his enemies. Likely there were some speaking evil about him and he senses his own temptation to speak evil of then in return, so he asks the Lord to keep a watch over his lips that he might not speak hastily as he would normally in his flesh. But not only does he pray for God to watch over him, he specifically prays that God would not let his heart incline to any evil, especially some aspect of revenge. What a great prayer request this is, that God would not allow our hearts to incline to any kind of evil. We are naturally so inclined, but the Lord is gracious and can incline our hearts toward what is good. Likewise, David prays that he would not busy himself with evil deeds along with the wicked, nor to eat from their delicacies subjecting his heart to their evil ways. He wants to choose the path of wisdom, even if that means he must eat meager fare and be on the run from his enemies.

On the other hand, the psalmist is happy to pledge hands with those who do love the Lord, even if they are at times harsh and critical. He explicitly states his desire to be stricken and judged by the hand of a righteous man, for he considers such a rebuke to be a great kindness. He would rather have the hand of a righteous person to strike him than to eat the delicacies of the wicked. But still at this moment he is surrounded by wicked men and calls upon the name of the Lord to save him. In this time, he continually looks to the Lord for refuge and strength knowing that the Lord will answer his humble request. And he pleads with God to keep him from the trap of evil doers and to turn the tables on them causing them to fall into their own nets instead.

Blessed are those persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Because David is pursuing God’s righteous path, he comes under the wrath of unrighteous men. And even as he is about to unleash his own anger upon his enemies, the Lord gives him more light and understanding, softening his heart and helping him to identify himself by faith in the Lord. And as he draws near to God in great confidence, the Lord hears his prayer and grants him a peace that passes understanding even in the presence of his enemies.