‘The word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even the divisions of soul and spirt, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).’
Words can be very powerful. There is the saying, ‘The word is more powerful than the sword.’ Both Hitler and Churchill were able, by the use of their oratory, motivate millions of people into working together for achieving their respective goals: world domination by the former, and freedom for the countries of the world by the latter. They both knew the power of words, and that they could be used as weapons of offence or defence. Misinformation, propaganda and fear framed by words were all part of the game, except World War Two wasn’t a game, it was a bloody slaughter and a dreadful evil.
Words are loaded with meaning. Words such as grace, love and peace are sweet to the palate; whereas words such as war, hatred and harm are bitter to the taste. They can be used to destroy or they can be used to build up.
James wrote, ‘Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of of iniquity. The tongue is set so among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature, and it is set on fire by hell. ……. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison (James 3:5, 6, 8).’
He went on to say that words from the tongue reveal the nature of a person. Sadly, they often indicate their flawed natures, e.g., there are those who may bless God with their tongue and with the same tongue curse men who are made in the image of God. James explained that this ought not to be (Vs 9, 10). He wanted his hearers to act with the wisdom that comes from above, i.e., God’s wisdom, so that they might cultivate the fruit of righteousness which is sown in peace (Vs 13-18).
The Psalmist wrote, ‘Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer (Psalm 19:14).’ The writer wanted to please God with his words. No doubt he was trying to be faithful to Him by ensuring his own words were in line with His Book of the Law. Joshua referred to the Book when he was preparing the Israelites for their invasion of Canaan. He gave the command: ’This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success (Joshua 1:8).’
The words of the Book of the Law were to be their weapons of warfare, and if they obeyed them they would succeed in conquering Canaan. God would be with them, and He would enable them to overcome the rebellious and evil inhabitants of the land they were about to enter over the Jordan (V 2).
Jeremiah had the same message of obedience for Israel, but this time the LORD would put the law ‘in their minds’ and ‘on their hearts’. They would be ‘His people (Jeremiah 31:33, 34).’ With the word of the law in their minds and in their hearts they were to live holy lives in obedience to Him. Their lives would be an expression of His word.
The same goes for the people of the church of Jesus Christ, because He puts His law (Galatians 6:2) into their hearts and minds, and they endeavour to please Him by living holy lives. They do not obtain their salvation from obedience to the Law, but from redemption through Jesus, by His sacrifice on the cross and by their God-given faith (Ephesians 2:8, 9). When they speak, they do so as His ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20). They speak the words He gives them – the words He puts into their minds and hearts. The Word of God is in their mouth (Cf Romans 10:5-10), but their righteousness comes through believing with the heart (Romans 10:10).