Well, speaking of words, I have had to eat mine back since posting yesterday.
I caught myself in the act of speaking death too many times to recount.
So maybe I am just preaching to myself, but if so…time well spent.
Because being refined and transformed is all part of the Journey.
Working through more of my notes from the sermon (“New Year – Talk to Me, Chris Otts at Antioch ATX January 4, 2021 here —> https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/new-year-talk-to-me/id1257271009?i=1000504316920), I found this thought from Chris:
When things keep piling up, when you are not sure how they are going to go, that’s where words matter.paraphrase from Chris Ott sermon, Antioch ATX “New Year – Talk to Me” January 4, 2021
As I read that thought again I was reminded, as I always am when there are a lot of things coming against me, of 2 Chronicles 20.
This passage finds King Jehoshaphat of Judah in a pickle of large magnitude.
He has Moab, Ammon and others with vast armies marching dangerously towards his kingdom.
The threat is real and the odds against Judah are huge. They are greatly outnumbered and under resourced.
Why, we could probably say….the times were unprecedented for this King.
So with the reality of it all sinking in and in complete helplessness, Jehoshaphat doesn’t start running his mouth to his advisors, strategists and people.
Instead he responds with:
- healthy fear of an overwhelming set of circumstances
- setting himself to seek the LORD
- calling his people to a place of humility by proclaiming a nationwide fast
The only “talking” we see is in verses 6-12 which is one of the most beautiful prayers of the Bible to me.
Grab your Bible and look it up. I’ll wait.
In verses 6-9, Jehoshaphat declares all he knows to be true about God, God’s promises to Abraham and the nation of Israel and recalls the prayer of Solomon over the Temple dedication. We can not appropriate these promises for our nation as if we were Israel. But we CAN model the essence of the prayer, which is based on KNOWING who God is and KNOWING what has been promised for BELIEVERS in the Old and New Testaments.
In verses 10 and 11, Jehoshaphat outlines the problem they are facing and how this situation is an affront to God’s people. AGAIN – this kind of prayer involved truly understanding and knowing exactly what God’s plan for Israel had been. Not name it and claim it. But reading Scripture and understanding exactly what God’s parameters were for His people.
Finally in verse 12, Jehoshaphat brings before God all that he has to offer to bring about a solution to this crisis.
He has absolutely nothing to bring except himself, the men, women and children of the kingdom and to helplessly spread out his hands and ask God to lead them because they had no plan or idea on their own.
What a great example of how to use words for life instead of death when everything is piling up and we don’t know how it is going to go.
I will wrap up our visit today with a sweet reminder about words from David Jeremiah in reference to our Proverbs 18:21 passage:
These statements together (Proverbs 18:21) illustrate the power of words. What a person says will often return to him or her in some way, either adding to his or her life or subtracting from it. Our speech has consequences.David Jeremiah, NKJV Study Bible, 2013, David Jeremiah, Inc. pg. 828 (scripture entry added for clarity)
Again it would seem when we don’t know what to say, outward silence is recommended and inward chatter should be formed into prayers of acknowledging our condition, God’s character, His promises and seeking His face even more than seeking His hand.