“Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me…Your testimonies are my heritage forever, for they are the joy of my heart.” (Psalms 119:98, 111)
If Adam and Eve had fully embraced this truth they would have treasured God’s words and considered them the greatest joy! God’s commands have positive eternality—the power to guide, protect, help, and save us from all the fleeting dangers on this earth, in our sin-ridden bodies and infected minds.
Yesterday I asked if your remembered kind words that were spoken to you in a loving way or hurtful words from your past that have remained with you. I imagine that Adam and Eve remembered God’s words in the garden for the rest of their lives. Today my question is this: “Are we willing to consider that the words we speak today may end up in one of those two categories a year or decade from now?” Would you like your words to be remembered? Of course, if our language is good for building others up, the answer will be yes, in accord with Ephesians 4:29: “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.”
If we, in frustration, hurt, or anger speak unkindly and inconsiderately we would like our words to vanish from existence as soon as possible. A friend of mine shared a timely illustration today. Our words are like unneeded toothpaste squeezed out onto a table and left to sit there, without any way to put the toothpaste back in the tube. It’s messy to clean up off the table and is wasted. This illustration made me think of another picture: my recent, unfortunate spilling of a large travel mug of hot coffee on me and my furniture during my morning quiet time. Not only could I not replace the coffee, but I had to spend valuable time cleaning up everything, washing my clothes, and making another cup of coffee. Words that hurt others cause problems for us because we are (hopefully) convicted of their injury to those who need our love, not our criticism or attacks. They create the most significant problems for those who may not ever be able to forget them and the hurt they caused. And mean words may also affect others within hearing distance. There are a lot of messes to clean up, and some permanent stains. Coffee usually washes out, but other stains don’t, and some things are ruined forever by our carelessness.
God’s words will remain with us to be our wisdom and joy forever if we treasure them. The way to remember and embrace God’s words is to feed on them, digest them, and allow them to inhabit our entire being. “Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart.” (Jeremiah 15:16) If Jeremiah, the suffering, weeping prophet to idolatrous Israel can say this, can we not also take joy in God’s words? God used Jeremiah’s words to warn Israel and to teach us.
Will you be prayerful and intentional about your use of sound words today, to build up and remain with others? Don’t we want others to profit by and remember our wise words?