The Power of Words
June 19, 2018

The Power of Words

Moses learned a valuable lesson about needing to have what he says under God’s control. As the people were crying out for water, accusing Moses of their demise, Moses took their case before the Lord, and God told him to take the rod and speak to the rock, and through his words, water would come forth and God would be glorified.

But instead of speaking to the rock, Moses spoke harshly to the people saying, “Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?” (Numbers 20:10) Moses then stuck the rock with the rod.

Through his words and actions, Moses made himself the people’s provider. And while water came out of the rock, God didn’t allow him to enter the Promised Land as a result.

Our words have great power, power to bring life or death. The Apostle James says, “No man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:8).

The Apostle James reveals the disproportionate power our words, and how they can determine the course of a person’s life. James doesn’t have much good to say about the tongue, but rather how destructive it is.

First, he likens it to the bit put in a horse’s mouth, and how this tiny bit of metal can control such a large animal. Next, he likens it to a ship’s rudder, and how this small piece of wood can control such a massive vessel.

He then says it commits spiritual arson. How the spark of an ill-spoken word can produce a firestorm because it is set on fire by hell itself. The word James uses is “Gehenna,” the valley outside Jerusalem that served as a garbage dump and where fires constantly burned.

What James says is that an uncontrolled tongue is a fire from hell and contains nothing but rotting garbage.

To emphasize James says the tongue is a restless evil full of deadly poison, or “verbal venom.”

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