Daily Devotional: Psalms 39:1-6
1 I said, "I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth as long as the wicked are in my presence." 2 But when I was silent and still, not even saying anything good, my anguish increased. 3 My heart grew hot within me, and as I meditated, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue: 4 "Show me, O LORD, my life's end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. 5 You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man's life is but a breath. Selah 6 Man is a mere phantom as he goes to and fro: He bustles about, but only in vain; he heaps up wealth, not knowing who will get it.
26 If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
On one occasion Jesus told his listeners that their righteousness must exceed that of the Pharisees. This was a bold statement at the time. This group of Jews known as Pharisees were the religious pinnacle as far as most people were concerned. It was this group that adhered to the law meticulously. They even gave a tenth of the spices from their gardens. To be sure they did not violate the law, they had a whole set of rules that kept them a step (or two) away from becoming unclean or otherwise displeasing God. They then enforced these rules (traditions) as though they were the very commands of God.
But somehow in all of this they forgot about love. They never learned mercy or compassion. They viewed themselves as more religious than others who did not keep their made up rules. In their self-righteousness, they would take advantage of the poor or foreclose on a debt owed by the widow. They went through all the religious motions but failed to let their hearts be changed by God.
Heavenly Father, fill my heart with your love and help me know compassion for others. Show me how to extend mercy as I learn your mercy and grace shown to me so abundantly. Keep me from ever thinking of myself as better than others as I remember I am only right because you have forgiven me. Use me Lord to share your saving gospel with those who do not know you. Help me show them the joy of serving you. Lord, I know you are in control of all things and I ask your mercy on this nation as we have neglected you and your will. Thank you for the freedoms that are so easily taken for granted. Guide our elections at every level and give us leaders who respect you and your word. I pray in the name of Jesus.