I think I’ve written about this before, but I love it when God kinda preps me for teaching that is coming my way. A few weeks ago, I read through James and was really… not so much convicted, but reminded… of the power of our tongue. Then Pastor Scott preached on it about a week later and has continued down the road of how our words impact our lives way more than we give them credit for.
James 3:6 says, among other things, that “the tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature…” The phrase “course of nature” really jumped out to me, so I read up on it a bit. It could also be translated: “wheel of life”… or “the whole course of life.” Basically, our tongues have the ability to ruin (set on fire) our whole lives.
But our tongues also have the ability to bless our whole lives, when harnessed by the Holy Spirit. James says in verse 8 that no man can tame the tongue. But we know that God can do anything, so He can surely tame it for us. And He’s actually already gone a long way toward doing so by giving us His word. One simple way to start taming our tongues is to speak the words of God found in scripture.
So anyway, this whole power of words thing has been going through my mind for a few weeks now. Just now, as I was doing some lunchtime reading in Numbers, I was given another case study.
I’ve really been enjoying the Old Testament reading I’ve been doing. I’m going through a 61-day Bible survey right now that takes me through the key chapters of each book. I’m then going to do a similar chronological survey before launching into a full out, one year Bible read-through starting in January.
Numbers has proven to be a pretty interesting book. I was supposed to move on from it a couple days ago, but I’ve kinda gotten engrossed in the story, so I’ve been reading additional chapters. Moses’ heart for the people is simply amazing. And this thought just came to me: I wonder if that’s the main reason God chose him. I’ve often been curious why God chose Moses. And now I wonder if it was mostly because God knew His people would rebel time and time again and would need a leader to interceed and repent for them time and time again, lest He smite them. I can’t even recall how many times it says things along the lines “And the LORD’s wrath was stirred…” and Moses pleads with the Lord to not consume them all with His fire, or at least gets Him to lessen the punishment.
And now this brings to mind another revelation. Jesus takes that same role to the next level. He’s super-sized Moses. God knew His people (us) would continue to rebel and complain and that we’d need a leader who was willing to interceed and repent on our behalf, lest God smite us. I had never connected the ideas. For some reason, having read about all that Moses went through for the Israelites to stave off God’s wrath gives me more respect for Jesus. He’s essentially still going through it with us each time we sin.
Sorry for the tangent…
Regarding spoken words: In chapter 20, the people were again complaining about their circumstances. This time, they had no water. So, God told Moses to speak to a rock ( v. 8 ) and water would come forth. But what does Moses do? He smacks the rock with his staff. Twice. Water comes forth, out of God’s mercy, but Moses had made a major boo-boo. After all he’d been through and all he’d done to get the people into the Promised Land, he himself wouldn’t enter because of his disobedience. Aaron too.
God wanted Moses to speak to the situation. He didn’t want him to wave his magic wand at it or tap it with his stick. He wanted him to call the water forth from the rock with his words. Both methods seem equally supernatural from my perspective, probably yours too. Either way it was a miracle, so what’s the big deal? Besides the obvious Because God told Moses to do it that way, what else is there?
Drawing from a point Pastor Scott made a couple weeks ago, I think God is in the business of training us to be like Him. Scott suggested that when God sat Adam down in the Garden and had him name the animals, it wasn’t just a “quality time” experience for them. He was teaching Adam how to rule and have dominion through his spoken words. When you name something, you own it. God spoke the universe into existance. He called (named) the light “day” and the dark “night.” He owns the universe. And we are to be like him. So, it’s quite possible God was doing this with Moses as well. He wanted Moses to speak to the situation, own it, having dominion over it and see it change. Order out of chaos, just like creation.
So, assert your God-given authority. Speak to your situations. Own them. See them change.
PS: I promise more Tozer is coming soon.