REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on February 20, 2014.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“What We Say Matters”
Malachi 2:17 (ESV)
“You have wearied the Lord with your words. But you say, ‘How have we wearied him?’ By saying, ‘Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delights in them.’ Or by asking, ‘Where is the God of justice?’”
Malachi 3:13-5 (ESV)
“Your words have been hard against me, says the Lord. But you say, ‘How have we spoken against you?’ 14 You have said, ‘It is vain to serve God. What is the profit of our keeping his charge or of walking as in mourning before the Lord of hosts? 15 And now we call the arrogant blessed. Evildoers not only prosper but they put God to the test and they escape.’”
A young pastor, having grown impatient with the travel agent who again put him on hold, murmured in frustration, “What a dork!” He thought that the agent was away from the phone. She wasn’t. Oops. Who, among us, hasn’t done the same?
The words that wearied God in Malachi’s time are awful but none worse than these: “Now you have rejected us. . . . All this happened to us, though we have not . . . been false to your covenant. . . . Awake, O Lord! Why do you sleep?” A psalmist said that (Ps. 9a, 17b, 23a). “Know that God has wronged me. . . . Though I cry, ‘I’ve been wronged!’ I get no response; though I call for help, there is no justice.’” Job said that (19:6a, 7). But they pale in comparison to what the frustrated the prophet Jeremiah said (20:7a), “O Lord, you deceived me, and I was deceived.”
These are biting words aimed at God’s very character and “men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken” (Matt. 12:36). Even so, God, in His mercy, gives us opportunities to amend our errors before that day. After all, the One who knows “all men” and “what [i]s in a man” (Jn. 2:24, 5) understands that we are weak, and that when pushed and shoved, our words turn careless and thoughtless. But He also knows that if we keep on saying them, before long, we may actually believe what we say, which is not good.
So the Lord will gently remind us through the words of Scripture or caring brothers, or the conviction of the Holy Spirit, that He isn’t like that. Thus, God, to help Job realize his error, begins the dialogue by saying (38:2), “Who is this that darkens my counsel with words of without knowledge?” By the end, the penitent Job says (42:3), “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to speak.”
Today, be mindful of using your tongue to bear witness of God’s wonderful character to unbelieving friends or coworkers like, “God is good,” “God loves and cares for you,” “God is in control,” etc.
Prayer: My Father, the one area where I have erred the most is what I often say with my mouth. Instead of praising and thanking you, I complain, criticize and even gossip. What can I say, Lord? Forgiven me. Make me aware of the great importance of using my words to honor you whether I am at work, church or home. So I say now, “Thank you, my glorious and wonderful God; my soul exalts you.” Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Joshua 5
Lunch Break Study
Read James 3:2, 6, 9-10 (ESV): “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. . . . Cross references:
- James 3:2 : 1 Kgs. 8:46; Prov. 20:9; Eccles. 7:20; 1 John 1:8
- James 3:2 : [Matt. 12:37]
- James 3:2 : See ch. 1:26
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. 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.”
James 1:9 (ESV): “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.”
Eph. 4:25, 9: “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. . . . 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
Questions to Consider
- Describe the situation with our mouth: what is so ironic about how we use it?
- What are some practical ways to limit our careless and thoughtless words from hurting others and ultimately ourselves?
- How should we use our words instead? How have you been doing with your spoken words?
- With our mouth, we praise our God as well as speak badly of others (even God sometimes). Those who think they don’t commit many sins must have laryngitis because sooner or later, we say things that hurt others as well as dishonor God. It’s like the law through which we become conscious of sin (Rom. 3:20); our words make us conscious of sin. So cry out, “Lord, forgive me, for I’m a sinner!”
- Listen well; speak slowly, meaning think before you talk; limit your words. Don’t talk nonstop because sooner or later you will end up saying what you will regret.
- We should edify others with words of encouragement as well as through constructive criticism: truthful words, not empty flattery; fair evaluation, not personal attack.
How did you use your tongue today? Was God honored and others uplifted, or was it the other way around. Lift up a prayer to the Lord.