Guard your Mouth

Eccl. 5:6-7. “Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands?

 For in the multitude of dreams and many words there are also divers vanities: but fear thou God.”

Image result for Eccl. 5:6-7
Image result for Eccl. 5:6-7

Our mouths can get us into a lot of trouble, can’t they? The words we speak, the expressions we make; the substances we put into our bodies through our mouths; the disrespect and anger that we spew from our mouths; the gossip we repeat, the lies we tell–all reveal an inner spirit of rebellion and pride.

We all need to claim Psalm 19:14: 14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my Strength, and my Redeemer.”

There are so many lies, so much misrepresentation, floating around cyberspace and the political world today that one is often at a loss to know what to believe. I’m just about convinced that no one is telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth. We need wisdom now more than ever, and the way to get it is to quit the incessant chatter and go to God. His Word is the source of wisdom. Our words are not.

In verse six, the angel is correctly interpreted as a teacher, an authority, a human being, and not as a literal angel. It is to this teacher or rabbi that the people would go to make a vow. It is dangerous to then return to that person and say, “Hey, I changed my mind. I don’t want to make that vow after all. ” Too late. You are already committed.

Again, in verse 7, dream are mentioned. The meaning is the same as in yesterday’s passage, in which multitudes of words, most of which should not be spoken, can come back to haunt us. Our sleep is disturbed, and perhaps our dreams will keep us awake.

Multitudes of words: Vanity. Our ultimate job: Fear (reverence) God.

Simple.

A Little Encouragement

Psalm 39:1-3. “I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.”

The bridle in this verse is like a muzzle you would put on a dog to keep it from barking.

If we can muzzle our mouths so that we don’t sin with our words, we will also reduce the likelihood of sinning in other ways.  The tongue is such an unruly member, and has created worlds of hurt.Even when we are speaking truth, we need to be careful not to sin. Truth can be spoken with malice, and with the intent to do harm.

In this awful political season here in America, words have filled the airways, print journalism, and cyberspace. Words have been used to slander, to accuse, to participate in petty name-calling. It’s shameful.  I will be SO glad when it’s over, although no matter which candidate wins, I don’t imagine the carping and complaining will stop.

Christians  need to be careful, even when our hearts burn within us, that when we speak, we speak with both grace and truth.  There is much in this campaign to stir up my own desire to come roaring out of my corner and set everything straight, believe me.

Sometimes, though, it is better to put a muzzle on my mouth so that I avoid sinning.

Proverbs 20:1 says that the heart of the king (ruler, leaders) is in the hand of God, and He can turn that heart wherever He chooses.

Trust that. God is not at the mercy of politicians.

Don’t You Get It?

Matthew 15: 15-20. “Then answered Peter, and said unto Him, Declare unto us this parable. And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding? Do not ye yet understand that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.”

Why do you think Peter asked for further explanation of Jesus’ words concerning eating with unclean hands?  Doesn’t it seem pretty clear?

I think we need to remember that these were men who had been trained from early childhood in both the written and the oral, traditional law.  They were being taught so differently now, by a Man they were beginning to realize was more than just a Man.  However, they still didn’t have the full understanding of Who He was, and He was rocking their world with His words!

Oral tradition was very worried about a person being contaminated by eating with unwashed hands. Remember, a lot of their food was literally eaten with their hands, not in our manner with forks and spoons. Often the food was eaten from a common dish.  It was not ridiculous to expect people to wash before eating.

The point Jesus was making here, though, was so much more important than hand-washing. He was teaching them that to be defiled from within by one’s thoughts, which emanate from the heart, is much more dangerous than to eat with dirty hands.  Evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These things are far more dangerous, far more defiling, far more objectionable to God than unclean hands!

So don’t stop washing your hands before you eat.  Jesus wasn’t teaching poor hygiene. He was pointing out that if we were as concerned with the filth that comes out of our hearts and mouths as we are with what we put into our mouths, we’d be a lot better off.