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God’s Word Undiluted Ministries
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Straight to the point. A ministry of God’s Word Undiluted Ministries

How to respond to Discipline or Criticism

Psalm 141:5a (ESV): Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness; let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it. .....

In our previous message, we went through Psalm 141:1-4, and learned that: David was in a very serious and urgent situation, David needed God’s help urgently, David pleaded with God to accept his prayer, and David acknowledged his own sin and asked God to keep him from sinning

In verse 5, David, having asked God to keep him from sinning, he now also asks God to use the community of the righteous to keep him from sinning.
In the beginning of verse 5, David says “Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness”. The word kindness also means mercy, goodness, faithfulness, love, acts of kindness. The word strike here means to be physically hit or beaten. David says that being disciplined is an act of kindness. An act of mercy. David is looking to the righteous community to show him kindness and mercy by disciplining him, even if it means being physically punished by them, to keep him from sinning.
David also says that “let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head”. David says that the righteous community must also rebuke him, that is, they must criticize him or judge him, as this is oil for his head. Just like oil that was used as medicine and was helpful and refreshing, being criticized or judged for sinning, was also a cure that he needed. David is therefore looking to the righteous community to keep him from sinning by criticizing or judging him when he sins.
Lastly, David also asked God to make him accept the discipline and criticism and not refuse it.
What we learn from this text is that:
David is praying to God and asking Him not only to keep him from sinning but, to also use the righteous community, to keep him from sinning. David says that the righteous community’s discipline and criticism, would be an act of kindness and the cure he needs, to prevent him from sinning. This shows how much David hated sinning against God.

David’s attitude towards discipline or being criticized or judged, is completely opposite to how you and I view discipline and being judged today. You and I hate discipline and we hate being judged. You hear people all the time warning others not to judge them. Governments throughout the world have banned corporal punishment in schools and in homes.

David on the other hand, sees discipline and being judged as an act of kindness and helpful. A number of verses in the Bible also support David’s attitude. Proverbs 9:8 says that a wise man loves the one who reprimands him, 10:17, says that one who accepts instruction is on the path of life, but one who rejects criticism or discipline, leads others astray, 12:1, says one who loves discipline, loves knowledge, and one who hates criticism or discipline, is stupid, 29:1, says that the consequence of resisting criticism or discipline, is that you will suddenly be broken beyond healing.

Therefore, the Bible is very clear that David’s attitude towards discipline and being criticized or judged, is the kind of attitude that all,of us must have. We must hate sin so much, that we are willing to accept discipline and being judged by our fellow Christian community, if it will keep us from sinning.

What kind of an attitude do you have towards discipline and being judged? Do you hate sin so much that you are willing to accept discipline and criticism from your fellow Christians? Is your desire to please God more important than your ego?
If you know that your attitude towards discipline and being judged is not the same as that one of David, then the time is now for you to repent. Will you?
If you are an unbeliever right now, I urge you to realize that you are rebelling against God who created you, and you are on your way to the lake of fire, where you will be tormented day and night, forever and ever. The time is now to repent and put your trust in Jesus Christ. Do it now, while you still can.
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*Straight to the point. A ministry of God’s Word Undiluted Ministries *

Psalm 141:1–4 (ESV): O Lord, I call upon you; hasten to me Give ear to my voice when I call to you! 2 Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice! 3 Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips! 4 Do not let my heart incline to any evil, to busy myself with wicked deeds in company with men who work iniquity, and let me not eat of their delicacies!

Verses 1-2, tells us that David is praying to God and, verses 8-10, gives us an indication that David is praying for help against the wicked who are trying to harm him. David is praying for their destruction.

David begins verse 1 by calling upon God, to come to him quickly to receive his prayer. He prays that God must quickly hear and respond to his prayer. This indicates that, the situation that David found himself in, was very urgent. David pleads with God to receive his prayer like incense and an evening sacrifice. In other words, David is asking God to accept his prayer as pleasing and acceptable to him.

The content of David’s prayer is that, rather than going directly to pray for God to take action against his enemy, he looks first at himself and his own sin. He prays that God keep him from speaking evil, keep him from doing evil and keep him from fellowshipping with those who sin against God, and keep him from being attracted to what they offer.

What do we learn from this text
1. David is in a very serious and urgent situation
2. David needs God’s help urgently
3. David pleads with God to accept his prayer
4. David acknowledges his own sin and asks God to keep him from sinning

Life is full of trials, suffering, and troubles, and like David, you might find yourself currently in a very difficult, and a very serious situation, and needing help urgently. When David was in a similar situation like yours, he tells us in verse 8 that he focused on God who, he considered his refuge, that is his place of safety. David did not consider sangomas, witchcraft, ancestors or any other thing. When he found himself in a difficult and urgent situation, he placed all his focus on God.

Who do you focus on? Who do you find as you refuge, your place of safety? Is it God like David or other people of things? How is that working out for you? Is it not time that you refocus on God like David? If you find safety in anything or anyone else other than God, you need to repent because, whatever that thing or that person is, they are your idol. You trust them more than God.

David needed God’s help urgently and yet, still acknowledged that, God doesn’t have to accept or even listen to his prayer, that is why he pleaded for God to listen and to respond quickly.
Are you aware that God does what pleases Him in heaven and on earth? God doesn’t have to listen to your prayer? He doesn’t have to help you? He owes you nothing? He doesn’t even need you? You need to humble yourself before God and completely rely on His mercy and grace when praying.

Instead of focusing first on those who wanted to harm him, David looked first to his own sin and, asked God to keep him from sinning. How quickly and how easy it is for you and I to blame others for our troubles and difficult situations. How it is always someone else’s fault and not us. David teaches us to first look in the mirror and look into our own hearts, and acknowledge our sinfulness and, pray that God protect us and keep us from sinning.
Simply because we find ourselves in very serious and difficult situations, doesn’t mean we are innocent victims of our circumstances. Yes, our troubles might indeed be from external factors that we have no control over, but our first action when we face troubles, is to first look at our own sinfulness and deal with that first, before we go outside of ourselves. Is this your attitude? Do you look to yourself first or, do you look to others to blame for your troubles?

Let us learn from David, will you?
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2 weeks ago

God's Word Undiluted Ministries

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*Straight to the point. A ministry of God’s Word Undiluted Ministries *

Psalm 143:1–3 (ESV): Hear my prayer, O Lord; give ear to my pleas for mercy! In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness! 2 Enter not into judgment with your servant, for no one living is righteous before you. 3 For the enemy has pursued my soul; he has crushed my life to the ground; he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead.

David came before God and asked God to hear his prayer. He was praying for God’s mercy. Verse 3 gives us a clue why David was praying for mercy. His enemy had pursued him, crushed him and made him sit in darkness. David was suffering. While praying for mercy and for God to hear his prayer, David did not come before God, believing that he had done nothing wrong, and did not deserve the suffering that he was facing. Instead, David pleaded with God not to put him on trial, because he knew he was guilty. Even more, David knew that no human being alive is innocent before God. Therefore, David came before God in prayer for mercy and asking him to hear his prayer, being aware that the suffering that he was going through, was because of his own sin, and God would be justified in punishing him for it. He nevertheless relied on God’s faithfulness and righteousness for his prayer request and asked God not to punish him for his sins,

Is this the same attitude that you have, when praying to God for mercy during your own suffering? Do you come before God believing that you deserve your suffering, because of your own sin? Do you come to God knowing that you will not survive, if God we’re to put you on trial for your sins?

Or do you come before God believing that you don’t deserve your suffering, and even if God could put you in trial, God will see that you are innocent? If this is your attitude, then I would plead with you to take note of what David is saying. David says that no one is innocent before God, no one! It is complete pride and not humility to think that your suffering has nothing to do with you, and you are innocent in that regard.

So, next time you go through suffering or if you are going through suffering now, go to God in prayer and ask God for mercy. But have an attitude that you are not innocent and your suffering might be related to your sin. Ask God not to punish you, but to rather to pour His grace upon you. Repent and put your trust in Jesus alone for your salvation
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