“Do not be rash with your mouth, And let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; Therefore let your words be few.”
The average person speaks at least 7,000 words a day, or about 50,000 words a week — the length of a short book. We are in authors, all of us, publishing 52 books a year from this printing press called the mouth; which you would think should make us pause occasionally to consider what kind of words we’re sending out into the world.
At days end, can we say that our homes, our neighborhoods, our workplaces a better place because of our words, or worse?
Are we wounding others, or healing them? (Proverbs 12:18)
Do are words commend the fear of the Lord, or are they pouring folly? (Proverbs 15:2)
Are we refreshing others’ spirits, or breaking them down?
As little as we often think of our words, they sure hold the power of life and death.
There is an old adage that says, “actions speak louder than words.”
There is another adage that says, “words are cheap”, and when it comes to our faith, if our words and actions are saying different things we need to look at our actions for the truth; so if we really want to know what we really believe, we need to take a closer look at what our actions are. If you were the other person listening to yourself, what would you be hearing?
What would your actions be saying about yourself?
What do you do when you are alone,
when your plans are interrupted, or you are disappointed, or your weakness is exposed, or you’re tempted to fear, or someone else prospers or excels you, or you’re called on to help meet someone else’s financial need? Words inside your heart can be so powerful. Influencing what comes out of our mouths via words……in fact, the Apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians:
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
Words are powerful. As the Scriptures reveal, our words can create and destroy, build and burn down, save and condemn, in the big picture, words carry immeasurable significance.
In the, Bible we know that the Universe was created with a single Word.
We know that Jesus healed and cast out demons with a Word.
We know that Rulers have risen and fallen by their words.
We know we can worship God with the words written in the Psalms.
We know that we have access to infinite wisdom in the words in Proverbs.
What would our world around us be like if we were to garner, meditate, memorize Scripture and incorporate it into our own Words?
I was recently shopping at one of our favorite grocery stores, and due to the Corona virus i was asked to wait in a line because they were allowing only a few inside the store.
While I was waiting, I decided to call a friend, (with my earpiece on) and chat. Well, the conversation led to this and that, and evidently I was weaving several scriptures into the talk and suddenly, the woman in front of me, (social distanced away) turned around and was saying something to me. I couldn’t make it out, so I removed my earpiece and asked her to please repeat, as I couldn’t hear her. She replied, ” I just wished you didn’t have to be speaking scriptures around me.” She didn’t like the words I was speaking on the phone.
It got me to thinking how if God could speak into darkness and command light, how much more here. Fortunately Gods Word “Does not return void bit to accomplish every good purpose.’
Our God is a speaking God, that He holds it together by the Word of His power (Hebrews 1:3).
In other words, everything we see is a word of God, and many things we don’t see, every star and planet in existence. One could rightly say God speaks a lot.
With that in mind, have you ever noticed how small the Bible is? And yet, how mind blowing it is that the inspired, authoritative, infallible, written record of the specific words God wanted us to read and remember over the course of 3,500–4,000 years is tiny. Its sixty-six “books” are brief, some only a few pages long. At a little over 750,000 words, most English versions of the Bible have less than two thousand pages.
The question….Why Didn’t He Say More?
To help put that number in perspective, here are rough estimates i looked up for several popular books or authors:
William Shakespeare: 960,000 words
Harry Potter: 1,084,170 words
The Bible: Only 750,000
Numbers like these simply make us pause and wonder over God’s written word economy. That wonder increases when i think that during the most important moment in human history, when the Word Himself became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14), we only have a relative handful of recorded words that Jesus, Himself actually spoke.
Unlike me……,Jesus seems to have been a man of few, potent human words, which got me to thinking….
Why did He choose the words He did? Why didn’t Jesus say more?
The scripture, (of course) came with my answer in John 8:28:
“I do nothing on My own but speak just what the Father has taught Me”
In other words, Jesus limited Himself to speaking only…. what the Father gave Him to speak.
Oh, there was more He could have said, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.”
Jesus guarded His mouth, speaking carefully and prayerfully only what gave grace to His hearers.
“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” (NKJ) ‘Let there be no more foul language, but good words instead—words suitable for the occasion, which God can use to help other people.’ (J.B. Philips)
And therein is the secret, grace. Are the words I speak full of grace?, No greater calling than to be a cup holder for the Lord serving out His abundantly never ceasing unconditional grace….
At a time where the undetermined will of words is saturating our communities, what an opportunity to exercise our spiritual silence in fewer words that we can hear the reassuring words of the God gave us words.
“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” (Isaiah 40:12)
During this season of the Corona virus we have seen many, many words being spoken, and for some of us all these words seem like an avalanche or a hurricane, just too much information and no relief,
But remember that in the many waters of words in this world:
“And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.” (1 Kings 19:12)
The few, powerful, nourishing words of God are still waters and green pastures of refreshment; they are Gibraltar-like rocks of refuge from the whirling wicked words careening across the world in which we live.
The few words of the Word have eternal life in them (John 6:68), in a world overwhelmed with tongues of death (Proverbs 18:21).
And for us: Let our words be few, speak less and when we do speak to God, maybe we need to take more seriously these few words of counsel:
“Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. (Ecclesiastes 5:2)
And when we speak with each other, maybe we need to consider the words in James 1:19, to be “slow to speak” and to “let no corrupting talk come out of [MY)] mouth, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear”
Our God is a speaking God. He is not silent. The question isn’t that He isn’t speaking to us, maybe it’s that our spiritual phone line is too busy talking, many words, some we wish we had never spoken. Oh how we need to measure our two parts grace and one part what we, thought we,meant to say…. this is why God the Father says to us of His Son, “listen to Him” (Matthew 17:5).
We would do well to listen more and speak less — and when we do speak, to only speak what he gives us to say.
‘You are God in heaven, and here am I on earth
So I’ll let my words be few, Jesus, I am so in love with You
And I’ll stand in awe of You, Jesus, Yes, I’ll stand in awe of You
And I’ll let my words be few, Jesus, I am so in love with You
The simplest of all love songs, I want to bring to You
So I’ll let my words be few, Jesus, I am so in love with You.’
(Lyrics by Matt Redman)