There are many ways to say something and a season to speak and not to speak. Even the prophet Isaiah, who spoke for HaShem, cried out– I have unclean lips! Woe is me! Some of the righteous were stoned and beheaded due to their words, but they spoke them anyway. At the end of this blog, I will highlight Jeremiah and ask you, my readers, to try on his shoes in the face of death.
Have you ever wondered what our words sound like to Our Father in heaven? How did the men who argued and caused Him to change His mind sound? Are there keys to speaking?
When should we speak? How do we speak? To whom and for what reason. Much of this was covered in Part 1 of this series, but I wanted to add more.
When the Father commands us to speak, we must. When He instructs us to go minister to someone, we need to be obedient.
- “Go, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the Israelites go out of his country” (Exodus 6:11).
- After a long time, in the third year of the drought, the word of the LORD came to Elijah: “Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain upon the face of the earth” (I Kings 18:1).
- A vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing and appealing to him, and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us” (Acts 16:9).
- When you stand before Kings. (Acts 24)
- When you are anointed and pressed to speak at a Festival as Peter, who preached about the Messiah who rose from the dead and about 3,000 came back into covenant. “And with many other words, he (Peter) solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!” So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day, there were added about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:39)
- When arrested: “Mark 13:11, ESV: “And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.”
- (He will instruct our mouths): “Exodus 4:12 Now go! I will help you as you speak, and I will teach you what to say.” (Matthew 10:19). “But when they hand you over, do not worry about how to respond or what to say. In that hour you will be given what to say.”
But the LORD said to me,
“Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’
Because everywhere I send you, you shall go,
And all that I command you, you shall speak.
He will put His Words in our mouths: “Do not be afraid of them, For I am with you to deliver you,” declares the LORD. Then the LORD stretched out His hand and touched my mouth, and the LORD said to me, “Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.” (Jeremiah 1:7-9).
Ecclesiastes 3 says, “There is a time to speak and a time to remain silent.” How do we know which season it is?
Proverbs 15:23 says, “A man has joy in an apt answer, And how delightful is a timely word!” Words are spoken in season are delightful. If the season passes, we may have missed it.
Although silence is golden at times, there is also the sin of silence. This sin can be just as damaging as slander.
“Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.” (Matthew 18:15).
If someone has sinned against you, you must bring words and go to them.
Yeshua says if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go to your brother.” (Matthew 5:23-24).
Remaining silent will cause bitterness to grow and a root of anger and unforgiveness to flourish. It must be dealt with swiftly.
“Argue your case with your neighbor, And do not reveal the secret of another” (Proverbs 25:9)
We often do the very opposite first! We tell everyone and leave going to our brother or sister last. I’m not speaking of wise counsel where you go and seek help. Many times that is needed, but that looks different than calling everyone you know and telling them what Old Aunt Betty did to you or Jimmy Bob, who lives across the street.
“Like apples of gold in settings of silver
Is a word spoken in the right circumstances.
“Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold
Is a wise reprover to a listening ear” (Proverbs 25:11-12).
When significant accomplishments occur or a person in your circle receives good news, we should not remain silent. When a baby is born, it is a great celebration. Many people give birth to gifts and dreams the Father has placed in their hearts, and we must share in their joy. We must not allow jealousy or envy to be in our hearts for others.
The next passage is layered and can be challenging to digest.
“Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
Lest you also be like him.
Answer a fool according to his folly,
Lest he be wise in his own eyes.” (Proverbs 26:4-5).
A fool can be interpreted as ewil, kesil, or nabal.
(“Fool” in Prov. 26:4-5) is Kesil in Hebrew–fool, stupid fellow, dullard, simpleton, arrogant one)
Kesil describes a person who is ignorant of the Father’s instructions and isn’t willfully acting like a fool. This type of fool may learn wisdom, so we answer him or her.
Nabal describes a false prophet and someone who has no fear of Adonai. The last one is ewil. This is the one you need to run from. Everything out of their mouth is slander and ridicule, and the person has no desire to learn. For more on a fool, Dr. Skip Moen has an excellent blog HERE.
This may be the most critical question we can ask ourselves. Why are we speaking? Did the Father tell us to? Was it Holy Spirit inspired? Or is it to make a jab at our ex-sister-in-law? Is it to prove to our cousin, whose liberal or conservative, that they are wrong? Is it to place shame on those who hurt us? Is it well thought out with honey and sweet-smelling perfume that makes our readers or listeners hungry for more? Is it for correction? Are we getting caught up in division or tangles we need to separate from because they don’t concern us?
We might be able to relax at the birthday party, wedding, or baby shower—we may speak freely with trusted friends, our spouses, or confidants, but at other times, in multiple situations, may we weigh our words. May we marinate our meat, may we tenderize it and brush it with spices and honey. May our fruit be ripe and good on the inside. May our words be like showers of rain to a parched soul. May our words bring joy to the downhearted. May our words break chains and release prisoners. May our words be as dove soap, cleansing with beauty and freshness. May our words dance when others are celebrated for their kind acts, good deeds, and integrity. May we sound like Ruth’s to the Naomi’s with bitter spirits.
No matter how careful we are with our words, we will always offend someone who is wounded, afraid, or they will misunderstand us.
Picture scales of justice. When we only hear one side of a story or judge a person or situation on one witness, we lack the testimony of two or three. Our words carry weight and vibration and life or death.
When we bring words to the Creator of all, do we weigh them? Prayer often begins with silence. Picture Esther going before the King and waiting for his scepter to fall and welcome her in the throne room. Picture Isaiah when he saw the Lord Adonai high and lifted up and was quick to speak what angels sang,
“Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts,
The whole earth is full of His glory.”
And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke.
Then I said,
“Woe is me, for I am ruined!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I live among a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” Isaiah 6:3-5.
Isaiah’s first response is that he has unclean lips and that the people around him have unclean lips. Meditate on that. Burning fiery coals from the altar was needed. This should remind you of Acts 2 when on the day of Pentecost/ Shavuot, fire lit on their tongues.
“Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. 7He touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.”
This man was a prophet; he spoke for Adonai. He was a Seer. And he still needed his mouth cleansed. We often place these men of old on a pedestal, that they were without sin. If their mouth spoke for Adonai, their mouth must have had a good Listerine dose, but even Isaiah knew he needed his mouth cleansed.
There are men in scripture who stood before the King of the universe and argued with Him, pleaded with Him, and challenged Him as Abraham did and Moses, as well as others.
Yeshua teaches us how to pray. Some learned to prayer saying “Dear Lord Jesus,” but Yeshua, when asked how to pray, said, “‘Our Father who is in the heavens, let Your Name be set-apart. . .” (Matthew 6:9, ISR).
Yeshua did not tell us to pray to him but to pray through the authority given to us through Him.
Sometimes when we pray or speak what we know the Father is telling us, we are hated unto death. I am closing Part #2 of this with Jeremiah, but also consider John the Baptist and Stephen. In Jeremiah 26, the people are ready to kill Jeremiah, the prophet. Some cannot see the beauty in the prophets words because they are focused only on light, positivity, and blessings– they do not realize that prophets words bring repentance and redemption. The Father commands Jeremiah to speak year after year and Jeremiah was obedient. He wasn’t BLESSED with a wife or children. The Father told him not to marry. He was despised for his words. He was mocked. They wrote songs and sang them and laughed at his warnings. He cried out for death and depression overtook him. He was thrown in a cistern in muck, sinking— Abba’s holy mouth piece. Think and ponder this. Study the prophets, both male and female and taste their words.
“Thus says the LORD, ‘Stand in the court of the LORD’S house, and speak to all the cities of Judah who have come to worship in the LORD’S house all the words that I have commanded you to speak to them. Do not omit a word! ‘Perhaps they will listen and everyone will turn from his evil way, that I may repent of the calamity which I am planning to do to them because of the evil of their deeds” (Jer. 26:2-3).
He then warms again. Picture Jeremiah standing before the leaders in his day, the scribes, the priest, etc., and speaking for Adonia.
“And you will say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD, “If you will not listen to Me, to walk in My law which I have set before you, to listen to the words of My servants the prophets, whom I have been sending to you again and again, but you have not listened; then I will make this house like Shiloh, and this city I will make a curse to all the nations of the earth.”
The priests and the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the LORD. When Jeremiah finished speaking all that the LORD had commanded him to speak to all the people, the priests and the prophets and all the people seized him, saying, “You must die!”
(YOU MUST DIE!)(26:4-7).
What is Jeremiah doing now? Is he shaking? Pleading for his life? Doubtful. Was he fearful of men or fearful and completely sold out to say whatever the Father told him?
“Then the priests and the prophets spoke to the officials and to all the people, saying, “A death sentence for this man!”
(Can you see the rage that comes when men and women speak the truth and expose corruption?)
For he has prophesied against this city as you have heard in your hearing.”
Then Jeremiah spoke to all the officials and to all the people, saying, “The LORD sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city all the words that you have heard. “Now, therefore, amend your ways and your deeds and obey the voice of the LORD your God, and the LORD will change His mind about the misfortune which He has pronounced against you. “But as for me, behold, I am in your hands; do with me as is good and right in your sight. “Only know for certain that if you put me to death, you will bring innocent blood on yourselves, and on this city and on its inhabitants; for truly the LORD has sent me to you to speak all these words in your hearing.” (26:11-15).
Jeremiah is spared, and the people are given the medicine and instructions needed to stop the calamity. Many people find the prophet’s words harsh, but the prophet Jeremiah knew that he had to speak even if it cost him his life. May we all weigh our words on just scales and be brave to say what we need to and wise to know when to keep silent.
Part One HERE
Photos: Unsplash– Kyle Glen–library books, Annie Spratt, Everything has beauty.