What makes a man of God?
Psalm 141 (NIV)
1 A psalm of David.
O LORD, I call to you; come quickly to me. Hear my voice when I call to you. 2 May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.
3 Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips. 4 Let not my heart be drawn to what is evil, to take part in wicked deeds with men who are evildoers; let me not eat of their delicacies.
5 Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness; let him rebuke me—it is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it. Yet my prayer is ever against the deeds of evildoers; 6 their rulers will be thrown down from the cliffs, and the wicked will learn that my words were well spoken. 7 They will say, “As one ploughs and breaks up the earth, so our bones have been scattered at the mouth of the grave.”
8 But my eyes are fixed on you, O Sovereign LORD; in you I take refuge—do not give me over to death.
9 Keep me from the snares they have laid for me, from the traps set by evildoers. 10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I pass by in safety.
Psalm 141 – What makes a man of God?
(Verses 1-2) David’s prayer is not just ‘LORD, I call to you’, but ‘O LORD, I call to you’. Hundreds of prayers in the Psalms use ‘O’. It reveals the heart of the one praying. We must pray from the heart. David now starts praying urgently about his troubles and ends peacefully. He focuses on God. We must focus on God when we pray. David asks God to ‘come quickly’ to him, and to regard his prayer like the sweet scent of incense used in Old Testament worship, and accept it as He accepts the temple sacrifice, each evening.
(Verses 3-4) Next, we see that David is a real man of God. We know he is a sinner and has fallen badly in the past. But we also know that God heard his prayer of genuine repentance, and forgave, cleansed, restored and revived him spiritually. Read Psalm 51 to see how he prayed. Please do not think that because you are a big sinner, perhaps with very wrong things in your past, that you cannot become a man of God. By God’s grace you can. Every man or woman of God was a lost sinner, saved by God, when he or she repented and asked for God’s forgiveness. That is the very reason why the only Man who never sinned, the Lord Jesus Christ, the ‘God-Man’, died on the cross of Calvary for you and rose again to be your Lord and Saviour. In His death He carried all your sins and paid for them as He hung there, willing to be punished by God the Father in your place for those sins. There is no punishment left for those who turn from settling for sin in their lives, repent and receive the risen, living Lord Jesus in their hearts. They must then stay close to Him. They grow spiritually each day by reading God’s word, the Bible, and by praying personally to Him. They are much helped by meeting up with other ‘born-again’ sinners each week. Each Sunday—the Lord’s day—they meet with other Christians, in a church or fellowship, to worship God and hear His word preached. During the week they gather for Bible study and prayer. That is how a man, or woman, of God grows. David seeks to be a man of God, so he asks God to ‘guard’ his mouth and ‘keep watch’ over his lips. He wants to avoid his heart being ‘drawn to what is evil’ or participate in ‘wicked deeds’. He will avoid and shun joining in the pleasures of ‘evildoers’. Today, we do need to meet with and get to know other sinners to witness to them. But do not get too close to those intent on evil, whose wrong living can lead you astray. We should meet with them, love them for Christ’s sake, show forth Jesus by life and by lip, but not get too close to them in their pastimes, pleasures and ambitions.
(Verses 5-7) There is striking comparison that David now gives between being rebuked by ‘a righteous man’—meaning someone who knows God, having been counted as righteous through repentance and faith in the Lord—and being opposed by evil men. It can be a blessing from the Holy Spirit if a keen brother in Christ rebukes you for something wrong. (It can seem hard at the time!) Such exhortation often helps you to confess your sins and know God’s loving pardon and cleansing in your daily life with Christ. God will deal with and judge those who wickedly oppose you, as He will for any sin they do unless that person repents, turns to Christ, and so is forgiven.
(Verses 8-10) David ends by continuing to look to God. He addresses God as his ‘Sovereign LORD’. ‘Sovereign’ means that God is in full control. The word ‘Lord’ (not in blocks) can mean the same thing, so you understand what ‘Jesus is Lord’ (see 1 Corinthians 12:3) says about our Saviour! The word ‘LORD’, (in blocks) is where God is called Jehovah in our Bibles. Our Three-in-One God is both Lord and LORD! Like David, if you ‘take refuge’ in the Lord, you conquer death, and avoid the enemy’s snares set to trap you. You will pass by them safely by daily keeping close to the Lord.