Psalm 141


In this psalm, David cries out to God to help him live his life right for God, this is seen, in that he doesn’t want to say or do anything evil or be associated with anyone who doesn’t want to live righteously.


‘A psalm of David.’

Although the headings aren’t inspired by God, they are important because they give us some understanding of the Psalm and they help us to see why it was written. The headings usually tell us four things.

1. Who wrote them, probably wrote them or possibly wrote them.

2. Information about the historical background to the Psalm. Why it was written.

3. They tell us of the tune the Psalm was written to.

4. How it was used.

The heading tells us this psalm of David. Psalms 138-145 are all accredited to David.

‘I call to you, LORD, come quickly to me; hear me when I call to you. May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice. Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips. Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil so that I take part in wicked deeds along with those who are evildoers; do not let me eat their delicacies. Let a righteous man strike me—that is a kindness; let him rebuke me—that is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it, for my prayer will still be against the deeds of evildoers. Their rulers will be thrown down from the cliffs, and the wicked will learn that my words were well spoken. They will say, “As one ploughs and breaks up the earth, so our bones have been scattered at the mouth of the grave.” But my eyes are fixed on you, Sovereign LORD; in you I take refuge—do not give me over to death. Keep me safe from the traps set by evildoers, from the snares they have laid for me. Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I pass by in safety.’ Psalm 141:1-10

David begins by calling out to the LORD, in desperation, he wants God to come quickly and hear his prayer, Psalm 22:19. He asks that his prayer be set before the LORD like incense, that is, as incense is pleasing to the senses, so David asked that his prayers be accepted by God as pleasing incense, Luke 1:9-10 / Revelation 5:8.

The lifting up of hands was the posture by which David prayed, Psalm 28:1 / Psalm 63:4 / 1 Timothy 2:8, and he prayed that his prayers would be like the evening sacrifice. The priests offered incense to the LORD every morning and evening, Exodus 29:39 / Exodus 30:7-8 / Leviticus 2:2 / Numbers 28:4.

Because David asked that his prayers be accepted by God as pleasing incense, he didn’t want to be a hypocrite. In other words, he asks God to guard his mouth and keep watch over his lips, in order that he didn’t speak of anything evil.

David is aware that all his evil thoughts come from the heart, hence, why he asks God that he doesn’t get drawn into any evil, Matthew 6:13. He knows that if he allows his heart to be ruled by evil, he will get involved with those people who are wicked.

The best way to avoid the wicked is to separate ourselves from them, here, David didn’t want anything to do with the wicked, hence, why he asks God not to let him eat their delicacies, that is, he didn’t even want to eat with them, just in case he was influenced by their wickedness, 1 Corinthians 10:13.

Although David didn’t want to be associated with the wicked, he was happy to be rebuked by those who were righteous. He knew that being lovingly rebuked by the righteous was a sign of true fellowship and love.

Being rebuked by the righteous was also like oil being poured on his head, that is, it would bring healing, Mark 6:13 / Luke 4:18-19.

Despite accepting the rebuke of the righteous, he will continue to pray against those who practice wickedness. He says that the rulers of the wicked will be thrown down from the cliffs, which is a judgement against them, 2 Chronicles 25:12 / Luke 4:29.

These rulers maintained their position with the people through their lofty words, but David knew that eventually, the people would discover the well-spoken words of truth that came from him, 1 Samuel 24:1-7.

The wicked say, ‘as one ploughs and breaks up the earth, so our bones have been scattered at the mouth of the grave’, which probably implies the way David and the righteous felt because of their enemies.

However, despite feeling this way, David was determined to fix his eyes on the LORD, Hebrews 12:2. He would fix his eyes on the Sovereign LORD, his refuge because God would protect him from death at the hands of his enemies.

He asks that the wicked fall into their own nets, that is, that they fall into the very nets they set as traps for him and the righteous. He prays that they will reap what they sow, Galatians 6:7-8, while he passed by them safely, Job 5:13.


David was determined to live right for God and deliberately chose not to associate with the wicked. He also asked God to guard his mouth against speaking evil, which he knew would begin in his heart.

In the sermon on the mount, Jesus taught the disciples how to pray, He says, ‘lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.’ Matthew 6:13, or ‘keep us from evil’, Luke 22:31-32.

Prayers for forgiveness are heard regularly, but not for the prevention of sin. Faithful disciples of Christ should pray to be delivered from the evil one, they should pray to be able to escape the severe temptations that the devil may present to them.

May we endeavour to develop hearts that are pure, Matthew 5:8. May we meditate upon those things that are noble, pure, and virtuous, Philippians 4:8. May we be distinct from the world and not possess ‘eyes full of adultery’, 2 Peter 2:14.

May we, like Job, make a covenant with our eyes and decide not to look intently upon others lustfully, Job 31:1. If we can keep adulterous thoughts out of our hearts, physical infidelity will never be a problem.

We should make sure our words are always carefully chosen from a heart filled with love that seeks the best interests of others, Philippians 2:3-4. If words flow from your mouth that are abusive and injurious, beware, for the fire of hell approaches, James 3:5-6.

Go To Psalm 142


"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."