September 16, Wednesday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

2 Kings 19:1-7

As soon as King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes and covered himself with sackcloth and went into the house of the Lord. 2 And he sent Eliakim, who was over the household, and Shebna the secretary, and the senior priests, covered with sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz. 3 They said to him, “Thus says Hezekiah, This day is a day of distress, of rebuke, and of disgrace; children have come to the point of birth, and there is no strength to bring them forth. 4 It may be that the Lord your God heard all the words of the Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to mock the living God, and will rebuke the words that the Lord your God has heard; therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left.” 5 When the servants of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah, 6 Isaiah said to them, “Say to your master, ‘Thus says the Lord: Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have reviled me. 7 Behold, I will put a spirit in him, so that he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land, and I will make him fall by the sword in his own land.’”

16One of the common phrases that adults tell children to recite is: “Stick and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”  What an incredible lie!  When we think back to the times where we’ve been hurt, it’s not the physical pain we remember; it’s the words that cut deep into our hearts.

That’s what Hezekiah experienced in 2 Kings 19.  Hezekiah tears his clothes and covers himself with sackcloth because of the demeaning and hurtful words of Rabshakeh, threatening the people of Judah of impending doom at the hands of Assyria, as seen in 2 Kings 18.  Rabshakeh proclaims in verses 32-33: “Do not listen to Hezekiah when he misleads you by saying, ‘The Lord will deliver us.’ 33 Has any of the gods of the nations ever delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria?”  It wasn’t even the actual physical attacks of the Assyrians that brought Hezekiah to a place of mourning and sorrow, but it was these threatening words of Rabshakeh.

Words can have incredible power over us.  You could be having the best day of your life, everything going really well, but just a few harsh pointed words from a friend, relative or boss can just ruin everything.   There are many people who were hurt by someone else’s words spoken to them years ago but still carry that pain deep in their hearts.  At the same time, we know that our own words have power over others, and that we just as easily hurt as we can bless.

How can we face the power of hurtful words?  We must remember that God hears every word.  In this passage, Isaiah reassures Hezekiah that God heard every word that the Assyrians said, and that He would be the one to bring justice.  Similarly, when the words of others come against us, we need not respond and get our revenge; but instead, we remember that God heard all of it.  And when we think about our own words, we should also consider that God will hear them as well.  In the end, when it comes to words spoken or words received, we speak and receive with grace.  Others can bring us down, just as we can bring others down with our words.  But either way, as people of God, we should strive to give grace.

Prayer

Lord, today, help me to remember the truth of your Word, and that I am your beloved child.  Enable me this day to receive words with grace and to speak words of grace.  Give me strength to remember Your presence and to be a blessing to others with my speech.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Matthew 26

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Lunch Break Study

James 3:2-12
2 For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. 3 If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. 4 Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.

How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.

Questions to Consider

  1. How does James describe the power of the tongue?
  2. In verse 2, James says that only a perfect man can tame the tongue. Why is it so difficult?  What, then, is our hope?
  3. How can you use your words to bless our Lord and Father, as well as others today?

Notes

  1. James describes the power of the tongue as something very small that has, in contrast, really great power. It’s like how a small rudder can guide a large boat, or like a small fire that can set an entire forest ablaze.
  2. The words that come from our mouths are a reflection of our hearts. Jesus says in Matthew 12:34-35: “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.” It is incredibly difficult to tame the tongue because our words are a reflection of the sin in our hearts.  Therefore, our only hope is the sanctification of our hearts through the blood of Jesus Christ.
  3. Personal application.

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Evening Reflection

The words we hear and the words we speak have incredible power.  Were there any words spoken to you that hurt you?  If so, take some time to forgive that person.  On the flip side, were your words spoken today a blessing to others and to God?  If not, turn to God for forgiveness and ask Him to redeem your words to be a blessing.

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