The Songs of Jesus (New York City: Viking, 2015)

Finding a good devotional is never easy. For me, the most consistent I have been with a devotional is Keller’s The Songs of Jesus. I find it insightful and personally challenging most days. The quick insights into the psalms and the personal prayers from Dr. Keller are both inspiring and convicting. His devotion from May 5th was helpful particularly since we are in the midst of another election cycle.

Psalm 59:1-7

59 Deliver me from my enemies, O my God;
    protect me from those who rise up against me;
deliver me from those who work evil,
    and save me from bloodthirsty men.

For behold, they lie in wait for my life;
    fierce men stir up strife against me.
For no transgression or sin of mine, O Lord,
    for no fault of mine, they run and make ready.
Awake, come to meet me, and see!
    You, Lord God of hosts, are God of Israel.
Rouse yourself to punish all the nations;
    spare none of those who treacherously plot evil. Selah

Each evening they come back,
    howling like dogs
    and prowling about the city.
There they are, bellowing with their mouths
    with swords in their lips—
    for “Who,” they think,“will hear us?”

SPEWING

Today’s media make it easier than ever to “spew…words…sharp as swords” (verse 7). Unlike in writing letters, we dash emails and text messages off without weighing them. Unlike in face-to-face confrontation, we blurt things out without fear of seeing the hurt or anger in the other person’s face. Because of anonymity, we think no one can identify us. Words are thus more weaponized now than in David’s day. But every word – even an offhanded careless one (Matthew 12:36) – is an indicator of what is in the heart (Matthew 12:34) and will be judged by God. More often than ever we are saying, “I didn’t really mean what I said.” But you did. Watch and control words to know and shape your heart (James 3:1-12).

PRAYER

Lord, save me from the sins of my tongue and the flaw of character that fuel them. Make my words honest (by taking away my fear), few (by taking away my self-importance), wise (by taking away my thoughtlessness), and kind (by taking away my indifference and irritability). Amen.

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