"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.'"
David has come to the conclusion of his race. He has just a brief time left. I take it that David is probably somewhere around 68 or 69 years of age when he writes this Psalm. It is late in the game. He dies at 70.
1 Chronicles 29:15:
"We are here for only a moment, visitors and strangers in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a shadow, gone so soon without a grace"
Lawrence Durrell has said: "I am trying to die correctly but it's very difficult, you know."
C. S. Lewis said: "It's hard to have patience with people who say, 'There is no death,' or 'Death doesn't matter.' There is death and whatever is matters...You might as well say that birth doesn't matter."
Alice Thomas Ellis said: "Death is the last enemy. Once we've got past that, I think everything will be all right."
David writes in Psalm 102:15, 16:
"As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more"
David opens the Psalm by making a 3-fold commitment: (1) "I said, 'I will watch my ways'; (2) "and keep my tongue from sin"; and (3) "I will put a muzzle on my mouth as long as the wicked are in my presence."
David is making a resolution to keep silent in a painful situation.
David refers to his conduct - "I will watch my ways" - and his conversation - "and keep my tongue from sin."
Job 1:22: "In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing" (NIV).
"For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect [or mature] man, able to bridle the whole body as well"
"This you know, my beloved brethren. But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger"
David does not want to hurt the Lord's work here on earth by anything that he does or says.
He doesn't want anything he does or says to provide fuel for the wicked to gloat over his lack of faith or his lack of restraint.
I find myself praying often: "Lord, help me to get out of here without any further embarrassment to Your cause."
Isaiah 53:7: "
He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth"
"But when I was silent and still, not even saying anything good, my anguish increased."
The word "But" tells us David confesses he has a tough time putting his money where his mouth is.
There were some painful consequences to the commitment he had made.
"But when I was" 2 things: (1) "silent" and (2) "still." He then confesses he went overboard: "not even saying anything good." He learned it is possible to overact in situations. He also learned a great principle: "No praise can put you in the pit fast."
David should have learned a little bit about silence when he went through the experience of the sin with Bathsheba. Psalm 32: 3, 4:
"When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. for day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Selah
David, like Jesus, wants to finish strong.
"We must work the works of Him who sent Me, as long as it is day; night is coming, when no man can work"
David is trying to get a handle on his legacy. I came up with this definition for legacy: Legacy is what you planned to have happen after your departure. This helps us understand what David is going through in this Psalm.