Monday, July 4, 2005

His Words, Your Mouth

You have tested my heart;
You have visited me in the night;
You have tried me and have found nothing;
I have purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.
Concerning the works of men,
By the word of Your lips,
I have kept away from the paths of the destroyer.
(Psalm 17:3-4)
There are a few dynamics going on in this passage. First, there is the heart/mouth connection. “You have tested my heart ... I have purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.” The heart is the place of purposing, the mouth is the place of speaking what the heart has purposed. Out of the abundance, or overflow, of the heart, the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34).

Then there is the matter of purpose, or intent regarding the words of our mouths. Most people don’t purpose anything at all about what their mouths will or will not say. Very often, they speak foolish, negative and hurtful things. At best, these are idle words, and we will have to give account to God for every one of them (Matthew 12:36).

In purposing that his mouth will refrain from transgressing, David, the psalm writer, means more than, “I will not use profanity,” or “I will not plot murder or violence,” or things like that. Rather, he is determining that he will not let anything come out of his mouth that would not come out of God’s. That is why he declares, “By the word of Your lips, I have kept away from the paths of the destroyer.” This is the third dynamic.

There are plenty of people — good Christian people — who fill their mouths with things that would never come from God. They speak negative, fear-filled, evil things — evil in the sense that they lack the good.
  • “Well, you know me, I’m always messing up somewhere.”
  • “Every winter, I can count on having one or two really bad colds.”
  • “Why does everything I do always have to go wrong?”
  • “My daughter Susie is the pretty one and Mary is the smart one.”
  • “The price of gas just keeps going up, and I don’t know what I’m going to do.”
  • “Granddaddy had cancer. So did Poppa. I guess I’ll probably get it, too.”
People repeat these kinds of things all the time. They say them over and over, until they finally believe them. But the problem is that such words leave no room for the promises of God. They have a lot of fear in them, but nothing of faith — at least not the Biblical kind of faith.

How much better it is to put the word of God on our lips, to let His promises fill our mouths:
  • “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13)
  • “My God shall supply all my needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
  • “By His stripes I have been healed” (Isaiah 53:5).
  • “I walk in the favor and blessing of the Lord” (Psalm 5:12).
  • “The joy of the Lord is my strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).
Let these kinds of things be in your heart and on your lips. The Hebrew word for “meditate” literally means “to murmur.” In the Old Testament, to meditate on the word of God meant to put it on the lips and talk about it to yourself. You could tell when someone was meditating because you would see their lips moving. Then you could tell what they were meditating on by listening to the words the that came out of their mouths, particularly in pressure situations.

No matter what your circumstance, God always has a promise for you. Start searching it out in His Word. You might even use one of the many little booklets available at your local Christian bookstore which list out the many promises of God and even categorizes them for your convenience. Start meditating on the Scriptures and let them fill your heart in abundance. Then when you address a negative circumstance, let it be the Word of the Lord that fills your mouth. It is okay to identify the problems, but then purpose in your heart and begin putting the promises of God in your mouth.

(See also, God's Word in Your Mouth)