PROVERB PRACTICALS THE POWER OF WORDS, proverbs 12:18, audio
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Proverbs 12:18, There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword; but the tongue of the wise is health.
We are given in this proverb the task of focusing our attention upon words that bring wounds and injuries versus words that bring healing and health.
When Evil raises his ugly head good must raise its head higher and come to the aid of Evil’s victims.
And much evil comes from the lips causing great harm as the harm of a sword, but God is good for he brings good words from healing lips which bring health.
Way back in the previous century, in the 1940’s, I remember well, children who were being treated unkindly by their peers or playmates, casting back words at the agitators in this fashion.
Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.
I remember using this medicine in an almost superstitious way as my
defense against harmful words and when I said them any harm that the words brought would disappear and we as children would simply go along our merry way and continue to play with the troublemakers.
Of course in time we would be the troublemakers, taking turns in this important function and therefore we would be the recipient of the sticks and stones elixir.
So for us as children this saying worked, for it had a certain magical character for ridding our minds of hurtful words.
But we grew up and soon found that this simple saying was no longer the balm or salve to soothe wounds brought by words.
So to a child “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me” may sound good and may work to deflect arrows and darts but the saying is far, far from the truth for we soon find out that words have great power for harm and great power for good.
Solomon wrote in Proverbs 18:21, Death and life are in the power of the tongue:
But before Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, our God said: In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was God.
If you want to describe God He can be described in one word, and that word is Word.
Jesus said in Matthew 28:18, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Jesus is described in the first chapter of John as the Word which by extension means that all power is in Word.
The writer of Hebrews 11:3, expressed the power of word but saying this:
Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
So God spoke the worlds into existence.
We are made in God’s image and by this truth we are to know that words have great power, and as God guards his words we who are God’s children, we who are being conformed to God’s Son, must also be very prudent in our use of words for:
There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword; but the tongue of the wise is health.
In this world there seems to be contrast in all things.
Black and white, rich and poor, smart or dumb, heavy or light, bright or dim, up or down, right or left, east or west, good or evil.
Our proverb adds to contrast by speaking of that which comes out of the mouth, and on many occasions the same mouth.
James in his epistle spoke of this contrast by reminding us of the times we bless God, even the father, and with the same tongue curse we men.
Telling us out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing but also asking us: Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?
Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.
And then admonishing: My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
God creates fig trees to bring forth figs and olive trees to bring forth olives and grape vines to bring forth grapes.
He teaches us that in his creation things do what they are created to do and do not pretend or strive to be other than what they were created to be.
They do not speak with forked tongue meaning they do not bring forth fruit of another kind than that which they were created to do.
But coming into this world with the nature of Adam our tongues are forked and bring forth words that sometimes pierce like a sword and sometimes words that bring forth healing.
Someone has said: A sharp tongue leaves a scar, while a helpful word heals the heart.
God desires that the words of His children be words of healing and provides wisdom in order that that takes place.
But our proverb reminds us that what comes from the tongue brings death or life, hatred or love.
Contemptuous words dig deep into the spirit of those to whom they are spoken and as it says in our proverb they are words that pierce like a sword.
The wicked heart lets forth slanders aimed at the destruction of good reputations and the character of those slandered.
Gossip and whisperings, and innuendo, slanted or biased words divide and cut friendships and bring separation of those who prior had been closest to one another, even separating chief friends.
And the world is full of false witnesses, who strive for their own benefit instead of seeking to bring justice, which may send a man to prison or his death.
Also think about the great orators of the centuries, like Adolph Hitler, whose great swelling words moved a nation to do his evil bidding which brought death to millions.
In his book “Mein Kampf” he wrote: “I know that men are won over less by the written than by the spoken word, that every great movement on this earth owes its growth to orators and not to great writers.”
Houston Peterson, compiler of A Treasury of the World’s Great Speeches (1965), believed that “eloquent speech” (oratory) originated deep in the prehistoric past among men “who cast spells over their fellows with the magic of words. At first it was not words so much as the rhythm, the sounds, the incantation that was a part of ritual. Chiefs, priests, medicine men, millenniums before the heroes of Homer, must have risen to power through skill in speech as well as skill in arms.”
It is said that Hitler, spoke with a primitive force and shameless emotion that set him apart from intellectuals who appealed to reason.
He was a believer in the Ciceronian maxim that man is moved more by passion than by reason.
He knew full well the power of words for with them he moved the world.
Peter and Jude spoke of such men as Hitler when in:
2 Peter 2:18, For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.
And in Jude 1:16, These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage.
So we are to be suspicious of great swelling words.
We are to be leery of oratory for oratory is designed to cater to the passions, to cater to the emotions and not to reason.
We know from scripture that a great orator is coming on the scene who opposes all that which is of God.
In Daniel 7:20 we are told that he has "a mouth that spake very great things."
Those oratorical skills will draw millions to his side, millions who operate outside the Word of God, millions who live by emotion.
In this Antichrist, we will find the imitator of Christ who spake as never man spake.
Antichrist will be the Orator of Orators.
He will be Satan’s challenge to God’s Son, whose mouth spoke great things but aimed at a people prepared to receive great things.
Satan’s man will counterfeit Christ and have a mouth with a perfect command and flow of language for a people prepared to receive such words.
His words will bring him worldwide attention and bring worldwide respect.
Revelation 13:2 tells of his mouth as the mouth of a lion which shows us a man who projects majesty with his voice and will instill awe in his listeners.
There is no voice of the jungle higher than that of the lion.
God calls his Son the lion of the tribe of Judah, a lion whose tongue is health.
But Satan brings to the world another lion, and this lion will speak like the piercing of a sword.
God speaks to us through His written word, written to excite the mind but only a remnant will follow.
Satan will speak through oratory, spoken to excite the emotion and the world will follow.
Satan’s words will pretend to heal but will result in death.
God’s words bring healing for they are health to the bone.
And God has created us in Christ Jesus so that our words will conform to words described in:
Proverbs 16:24, Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.
Sometimes the tongue of the wise is health in closing up the wounds caused by another, wounds brought by words that pierced the soul, backbiting words that left their mark.
The tongue of the wise can restore peace in time of war, nationally or personally.
The right words can bring about settlement and reconciliation between parties which piercing words have separated.
God gives wisdom to bring solutions and healing to the hurting and suffering brought about by evil speaking.
The wise man is equipped to give a true testimony to bring about the overturning of words designed to deceive and in so doing will clear and defend the reputation and character of those who have been wrongfully accused.
The wise man will speak words of refreshment and cheer to bring healing, remembering the message of:
Proverbs 17:22 which says, A merry heart doeth good like a medicine:
And what better words of healing are there than the words proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ which directs men and women, boys and girls to Christ for healing, peace, pardon, righteousness and eternal life.
So God knows the evils of the tongue but God in his sovereignty uses that same tongue to bring healing, for its healing power is no less than its wounding power.
Think back on the healing power of the words of Jonathan, Saul’s son.
Jonathan entreated his father not to kill his friend David by using words of healing and refraining from words that pierced.
Reading in I Samuel 19:1-7, And Saul spake to Jonathan his son, and to all his servants, that they should kill David. 2 But Jonathan Saul's son delighted much in David: and Jonathan told David, saying, Saul my father seeketh to kill thee: now therefore, I pray thee, take heed to thyself until the morning, and abide in a secret place, and hide thyself: 3 And I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where thou art, and I will commune with my father of thee; and what I see, that I will tell thee. 4 And Jonathan spake good of David unto Saul his father, and said unto him, Let not the king sin against his servant, against David; because he hath not sinned against thee, and because his works have been to thee-ward very good: 5 For he did put his life in his hand, and slew the Philistine, and the Lord wrought a great salvation for all Israel: thou sawest it, and didst rejoice: wherefore then wilt thou sin against innocent blood, to slay David without a cause? 6 And Saul hearkened unto the voice of Jonathan: and Saul sware, As the Lord liveth, he shall not be slain. 7 And Jonathan called David, and Jonathan shewed him all those things. And Jonathan brought David to Saul, and he was in his presence, as in times past.
Also remember the intercession of Abigail, married to the churlish and evil sheep herder, Nabal, of the house of Caleb.
Abigail, we are told, was a woman of good understanding.
I think from this description we can conclude she knew the Lord and was filled with the wisdom of healing words.
David was on the run from Saul and help was sought from Nabal, but Nabal being the man he was, churlish which means a rude man, a crass man, an ill bred and impolite man, used words which suited his character.
I Samuel 25:10,11, And Nabal answered David's servants, and said, Who is David? and who is the son of Jesse? there be many servants now a days that break away every man from his master. Shall I then take my bread, and my water, and my flesh that I have killed for my shearers, and give it unto men, whom I know not whence they be?
So David’s men were met with piercing words, words which looked like a sword prepared to do battle.
And David’s reaction was: Gird ye on every man his sword. And they girded on every man his sword; and David also girded on his sword: and there went up after David about four hundred men; and two hundred abode by the stuff.
So words both from Nabal and David set the scene for death, for each man raised his sword which when properly used was designed to bring death.
But God had a servant named Abigail who was appointed to use words of healing, words of defense against piercing words which would being harm.
Taking a goodly amount of loaves, wine, sheep, corn, raisins and figs she made haste to intervene
I Samuel 25:23-33, And when Abigail saw David, she hasted, and lighted off the ass, and fell before David on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, 24 And fell at his feet, and said, Upon me, my lord, upon me let this iniquity be: and let thine handmaid, I pray thee, speak in thine audience, and hear the words of thine handmaid. 25 Let not my lord, I pray thee, regard this man of Belial, even Nabal: for as his name is, so is he; Nabal is his name, and folly is with him: but I thine handmaid saw not the young men of my lord, whom thou didst send. 26 Now therefore, my lord, as the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, seeing the Lord hath withholden thee from coming to shed blood, and from avenging thyself with thine own hand, now let thine enemies, and they that seek evil to my lord, be as Nabal. 27 And now this blessing which thine handmaid hath brought unto my lord, let it even be given unto the young men that follow my lord. 28 I pray thee, forgive the trespass of thine handmaid: for the Lord will certainly make my lord a sure house; because my lord fighteth the battles of the Lord, and evil hath not been found in thee all thy days. 29 Yet a man is risen to pursue thee, and to seek thy soul: but the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with the Lord thy God; and the souls of thine enemies, them shall he sling out, as out of the middle of a sling. 30 And it shall come to pass, when the Lord shall have done to my lord according to all the good that he hath spoken concerning thee, and shall have appointed thee ruler over Israel; 31 That this shall be no grief unto thee, nor offence of heart unto my lord, either that thou hast shed blood causeless, or that my lord hath avenged himself: but when the Lord shall have dealt well with my lord, then remember thine handmaid. 32 And David said to Abigail, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet me: 33 And blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with mine own hand.
Abigail is indeed a hero of faith for she saw in David God’s anointed one and could not abide David avenging himself and what that act would bring to his future kingdom.
Words that pierce or words that bring health. Every day we choose.