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8.4 Deceitfulness of the Wicked Way

Read Psalm 141. What does the psalmist pray for?

Psalm 141 is a heartfelt prayer for protection against internal and external temptations. The psalmist finds himself not only exposed to the schemes of the wicked (Psalm 141:9–10), but also feeling the temptation to behave like them. The first point of attack is control over one’s own speech, and the psalmist implores that the Lord may guard the door of his lips (Verse 3, ESV). This imagery refers to the guarding of city gates, which protected the city from intruders in biblical times.
The temptation also lies in whether the child of God follows the counsel of the righteous or is swept away by the allurements of the wicked (Verses 4–5). The psalmist describes his heart as the main battleground, for it is there that the actual struggle takes place. Only through persistent prayer, characterized by complete trust and devotion to God, can the child of God be preserved from temptation (Verses 1–2).
Psalm 141 reminds us that believers are engaged in a continual spiritual battle, both inwardly and outwardly. It underscores the importance of seeking God’s protection and guidance in the face of temptation, as well as the necessity of maintaining self-control and vigilance in our words and actions. Ultimately, it is through trust in God and persistent prayer that we can resist the allurements of sin and remain steadfast in our faith.

Read Psalm 1:1 and 141:4. How is the progressive and deceitful nature of temptation depicted here?

Psalm 141:4 and Psalm 1:1 offer insight into the progressive and deceitful nature of temptation. In Psalm 141:4, the progressive character of temptation is highlighted. First, the heart inclines toward evil, then it commits evil deeds, and finally it indulges in the allurements of the wicked by viewing their evil deeds as desirable. The language in Hebrew emphasizes the repetitive nature of this action, illustrating how temptation gradually gains strength and seduces the human heart.
Similarly, Psalm 1:1 depicts the progressive nature of temptation. It begins with someone associating with the wicked, then walking in the path of sinners, and finally sitting in the company of scoffers. The gradual progression from associating with the wicked to actively participating in their deeds illustrates how temptation is subtle and seductive, leading us to turn away from God’s path.
These Psalms emphasize the importance of being aware of the progressive nature of temptation and being careful not to fall into its trap. They remind us that only through complete dependence on God and the wisdom He provides can we resist the influence of temptation. Furthermore, they highlight the significance of the words we speak in the midst of temptation and the voices to which we listen.
It is important to recognize that the ultimate justification of the children of God is yet to come, as hinted at in both Psalms. Therefore, believers are called to patiently trust in God and wait for His wisdom as they resist the allurements of temptation.


The texts from Psalm 141 and Psalm 1 offer us a profound insight into the ongoing and cunning nature of temptation, which also manifests in our daily lives of faith.
  1. Awareness of Temptations: The Psalms remind us that we are engaged in a constant spiritual battle, affecting us both internally and externally. It is important that we are aware of this fact and remain vigilant to resist the temptations that could lead us away from God’s path.
  2. Self-Control and Vigilance: Our words, thoughts, and actions are constantly under the influence of temptation. Therefore, it is crucial that we exercise self-control and vigilance to resist the allurements of sin. By relying on God and surrendering to His guidance, we can combat temptation and remain steadfast in our faith.
  3. Community and Support: We need the support and encouragement of our faith community to stand against temptations. Through collective prayer, reading the Bible, and mutual encouragement, we can be strengthened to resist the temptations of the evil path and stay on the path of righteousness.
  4. Trust in God: Ultimately, we must trust in God and patiently wait for His wisdom as we confront temptations. God is our refuge and strong support in the midst of temptation, and through our dependence on Him, we can withstand the cunning attacks of the enemy.
Overall, these Psalms show us that the ongoing and cunning nature of temptation is also present in our daily lives of faith. However, through self-control, vigilance, community, and above all, our trust in God, we can resist temptations and remain steadfast in our faith.
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