Daily D – Psalm 52:4
You love to destroy others with your words, you liar! PSALM 52:4 (NLT)
You love all words that devour, O deceitful tongue. (ESV)
You love every harmful word, you deceitful tongue. (NIV)
You love any words that destroy, you treacherous tongue! (CSB)
Words are powerful. In Gen. 1, we see that words create worlds. In the Gospels, we see that words save, deliver, and heal.
In 1974, Annie Dillard won the Pulitzer Prize for Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. Why? Because she has the capacity to place words together in combinations that fire imagination and stir feelings down to their deepest depths. Words are pockets of power with amazing abilities to destroy or to edify.
One of the most painful insults of my life came when I was a boy. I can still hear those echoes today. I still feel the shame, the humiliation accompanying them. Thankfully, on the other hand, there have been many more words of affirmation and encouragement. I remember those as well and revisit them as often as necessary. Those stones of beautiful reality plot a path toward the me I want to be.
Some people seem to breathe life in all they say. Wouldn’t it be a delight to live like that? In a world of constant criticism (network and cable news, newspapers, magazines, Twitter, Facebook, etc.), how refreshing to speak words of truth and life, hope and possibility, deep joy and settled satisfaction.
Reading today’s text reminds us of Wormtongue in The Lord of the Rings. We know his kin. It is the person who always has the inside story, the untold story, the part of the story to use later as a hammer or a wedge. It is the person who questions every good thing as if it were something manipulative. It is the person who criticizes everyone and everything, whose soul is so bitter not even steak and cheesecake would bring a smile to their faces.
There are so many experts in mean speech today, why not cede that ground? Much less occupied is the turf where wise men and women say things like, “I see in you . . . ,” “What I like about you . . . ,” “You are becoming everything I ever hoped and dreamed you would be.”
Building a better world, building better humans, requires seeing possibilities and speaking words of life that form foundations upon which to stand. Who will you edify today? Who will remember the permission you gave for them to become all that God ever dreamed possible? Who will credit you for empowering them to live a life of maximum expression of honoring God and serving others?
I will speak words of truth and life.
Our Father, when we align ourselves with you, we align ourselves with truth and life. Empower us to breathe life in what we say and how we say it. Give us words that encourage, comfort, strengthen, and positively challenge those on their way toward becoming all you dreamed they would be. Rid our thoughts and our mouths of all bitterness. Empower us to speak the truth in love at all times. Amen.
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6 Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm:
7 “Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.
8 “Would you discredit my justice?
Would you condemn me to justify yourself?
9 Do you have an arm like God’s,
and can your voice thunder like his?
10 Then adorn yourself with glory and splendor,
and clothe yourself in honor and majesty.
11 Unleash the fury of your wrath,
look at all who are proud and bring them low,
12 look at all who are proud and humble them,
crush the wicked where they stand.
13 Bury them all in the dust together;
shroud their faces in the grave.
14 Then I myself will admit to you
that your own right hand can save you
The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Job 40:6–14.
Job 29:21-25 21 “People listened to me expectantly,
waiting in silence for my counsel.
22 After I had spoken, they spoke no more;
my words fell gently on their ears.
23 They waited for me as for showers
and drank in my words as the spring rain.
24 When I smiled at them, they scarcely believed it;
the light of my face was precious to them.
25 I chose the way for them and sat as their chief;
I dwelt as a king among his troops;
I was like one who comforts mourners.