February 15, 2023


Ps. 141, 3 A Psalm of David

Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.


Dear Reader,


today's stamp shows two colorful soldiers. “Fusiliers” like these were part of the Royal Welsh Regiment of the British Army in earlier times. Fusiliers were lightly armed soldiers. 


Which guards did King David have in mind when he wrote his request to God? Was he thinking of armed soldiers? He is asking God to guard his mouth:  May God watch over what he says. May God place guards at the gate of his lips. Let them prevent him from saying things he will later regret.


I know such conflicts within myself. Should I say this or that to someone else? Or would it be better to keep quiet for now? Does what I say help the other person? Will it build our relationship, or will it perhaps hurt? Will it possibly destroy it? Is it good, what I want to say?


Jesus Christ warned against being careless with words. He says that one day everyone will have to take on responsibility to answer for what they have said. In the Gospel of Matthew chapter 12, verses 36 + 37, he warns us:


“But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words, you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”


This word of Jesus rather frightens me. I am shocked at how often words are used irresponsibly. I am shocked by the careless use of what people say. I am shocked when people call for hatred and destruction. I am shocked when people call for anti-Semitism and the glorification of violence. That is deeply frightening.


I can understand David's please. This please to God in order to protect him from harming other people with words. Lightly armed fusiliers are not suitable for this guardianship. They are easy to overpower. God would have to erect a real bulwark at the gate of some lips to protect others from ugly words. From words that humiliate. From words that are just empty chatter.


I want to take my guideline from our LORD Jesus Christ. His great speech to the people, the so-called Sermon on the Mount, begins like this (Gospel of Matthew 5:2):


And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, “Blessed are….”


When Jesus Christ opens his mouth, man hears words of life. From his mouth we hear words from God´s eternity. From his mouth we hear words of love and mercy. From the mouth of our Lord Jesus, we hear words of comfort and exhortation. 


I want to learn every day to take responsibility in using my words. Unfortunately, I don't always succeed. Where I have not succeeded, I want to ask God for forgiveness. I want to make David's prayer my own request: Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips!


Thank you very much for listening to me. May your words be a blessing for others. I cordially invite you to the next devotion with stamps on March 1. Until then, I wish you God's blessing and protection in spirit, soul, and body through our Lord Jesus Christ.

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© 2023 Hans-Peter Nann