2 Kings 4:18‐5:27; Acts 15:1‐35; Psalm 141:1‐10; Proverb 17:23
The Temptation Trap
When you are surrounded by corrupt people on every side and when your environment is one which is hostile to the Christian life, it can be very easy to lose conviction and be drawn into sin. This is the situation out of which the psalmist struggles in Psalm 141. He has an urgent need for the sustaining power of God to keep him from falling into the sin of those around him: “O Lord, I call to you; come quickly to me” (v. 1).
The one praying asks God to sustain him in righteousness. “Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord … Let not my heart be drawn to what is evil, to take part in wicked deeds with men who are evildoers” (v .3-4). The danger of being in the midst of corruption is that we can be corrupted in thought, word and deed. The speaker of this psalm knows that his only hope to keep him from falling into sin is the sustaining power of God. We need to be constantly asking God to sustain us from sin.
The psalmist specifically asks God for a righteous person to be brought into his life and hold him accountable. “Let a righteous man strike me – it is a kindness; let him rebuke me – it is oil on my head…” (v. 5). The firm word of accountability is a blessing from God. This man knows that he needs someone in his life who will hold him to his vow to keep God’s standards. Pray that God will send someone into your life to hold you accountable to God’s standards.
The speaker also avoids falling into temptation by maintaining a focus on the Lord. “But my eyes are fixed on you” (v.8). Only by keeping our thoughts and meditations on the Lord and His Word can corruption be avoided. The times when we lose that focus are the times when we will drift into sin.
Prayer: God, you alone can sustain me from sin and corruption. I am weak. Put someone in my life to hold me accountable. Be a powerful presence in my life so that I can stay focused on you.
The Rev. Charlie Holt
The Church of St. John the Divine