Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Of Few Words

Ecclesiastes 5:2  Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.

How often we forget the power of words.  Words can bless or they can wound.  They can keep us from going forward or they can spur us to action.  They can take us to the pinnacle of thought or the depths of ignorance.  Words can be guides to Heaven’s gate or aim us strait toward the entrance of Hell.  Words express thoughts and emotions, and thoughts describe people, places, and things; make the intangible real.

With that in mind, I was thinking about that verse in Ecclesiastes.  Just about every job I’ve had has hinged on how good I am with words.  And that’s true for a lot of us.  Which makes keeping my words few a little more difficult than it might be for others.  Or does it?  Is it what the verse says or the intent that’s more important?

The beginning is easy to nail down.  Don’t rush to say something before we think out the consequences of what we’re going to say.  Will it hurt someone?  Does what I say condemn someone without giving them the proper opportunity to repent?  Do my words communicate privately or do I seek a public audience?  And which is appropriate?  We have to consider what we say, how we say it, how it will effect someone, and whether an audience will change how someone takes our words.  But there’s more.

The middle part of the verse gives us another angle on words.  It tells us not to be hasty to let our heart utter words before God.  Those words don’t have to be spoken.  I don’t know about you, but there are times when I’ve had a whole conversation with myself without outwardly uttering a word.  My thought train can be pretty complex, sometimes.  And who has total access to that thought process?  God.  I don’t have to speak to bless or disappoint God with my words.  I can’t hide who I am from Him by speaking flowery words I don’t really mean.  So I need to be aware of the words and concepts I think, as well.

That all leads to the last part of the verse: “let thy words be few”.  Limit my words, be careful with my thoughts.  But what’s the alternative?  We read in Hebrews 4:12, “ For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”   If we read and interpret the Word of God from our own viewpoint, it becomes our words and thoughts.  And can be used as a weapon to control, to hurt, to deceive.  If we give people the unadorned Word, it heals and blesses.  When Isaiah 55:11 tells us, “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”, there’s an interesting Truth.  Even if we misuse the Word, it’s still going to do its work.  And, if we give nothing but God’s thoughts, it strongly homes in on our inner core, bringing to light the things that need correction for healing, the things where we’re one with God in our thinking to strengthen those.  The Word is the spiritual mirror of the soul.  It shows us where we come up short and where we have God’s thoughts.  And like a surgeon’s scalpel, it begins cutting out the infection and prepares our being for the healthy parts to come together without anything else between.

How do you draw your thoughts closer to God?

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