I already knew words were important…I mean, in the book of James, it talks about how powerful the tongue is:
5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 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,[a] and set on fire by hell.[b] 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 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,[c] these things ought not to be so.James 3:5-10 (ESV)
And I was reading in Psalm 50 on Monday morning, and how the psalmist Asaph talks about the animal sacrifices given to God, which, seem like a big deal in the Old Testament (let’s be real, I feel like the subtitle for “Leviticus” should have been “The Do’s and Don’ts of Animal Sacrifices”). But Asaph writes in God’s voice about the animal sacrifices, and how (in my interpretation of the Scripture) they don’t seem as important as the sacrifice of our WORDS…
8 Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you;Psalm 50:8-15 (ESV)
your burnt offerings are continually before me.
9 I will not accept a bull from your house
or goats from your folds.
10 For every beast of the forest is mine,
the cattle on a thousand hills.
11 I know all the birds of the hills,
and all that moves in the field is mine.
12 “If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
for the world and its fullness are mine.
13 Do I eat the flesh of bulls
or drink the blood of goats?
14 Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,[b]
and perform your vows to the Most High,
15 and call upon me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”
It’s not that God didn’t receive the animal sacrifices (He was the One who put them in place, after all), but He desired to be verbally praised all the more; to be THANKED and CALLED UPON, so that He could work, and be glorified for it!
After reading this, I was automatically moved by the Spirit to right out my thanksgivings. We always post on social media about how we thank God for things, or how we have so many blessings, but do we actually sit there and give thanks? Not just for the major things that went our way, but for the day-to-day blessings that we sometimes take for granted? Do we thank Him for the ability to simply BREATHE on our own, because He wills it to be so?
What I gathered from the psalmist was this: while our “animal sacrifices” of today (like our outward expressions of praise. Example: going to church) are definitely part of praising God, what truly matters comes from our hearts, our minds. Our words are expressions of our true inner thoughts and feelings. Because we can fake while making an animal sacrifice; we can pretend like our hearts are in the right place, and our thoughts are God’s thoughts, but whatever comes out of our mouths in lowly times is truly what we believe. And yeah, we can lie and try to hide things, but I don’t know about anyone else…lying back-to-back makes me feel some type of way. It makes me forget how I actually feel, and I start to believe the lie is the truth instead of a lie. Does that make sense?
Anyways, I just thought it was interesting!
And even on Tuesday morning, as I read Psalm 51 written by David as he confesses his sin with Bathseba to God, he declares also how an animal sacrifice isn’t sufficient for his feelings:
15 O Lord, open my lips,Psalm 51:15-17 (ESV)
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
The sacrifices God longs to see are “a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart.SINCERITY is what I read here. REPENTANT HEART as well! We can try to change everything about us on the outside to make it seem like we’re “all good” with God, but it means nothing unless we truly surrender in our hearts and sincerely cry out to Him.
I haven’t written in a while about the Word, and honestly, it’s because I’m just getting back into studying it without some type of expectations. Sometimes I feel like we read the Bible, or listen to a message expecting to be extremely transformed in thinking, or for a message to hit us exactly where we are, and we get disappointed when (excuse my phrasing) it doesn’t hit like that. But I’m learning to just meditate on it, to really try to understand what the writers are saying, along with the context of the time it was written. These are just some of the thoughts I had this week! Thank you for reading!
How can you make the words you speak and think worshipful? Do your actions and words match in regards to the Word? Do you find it harder to be in the Word when it isn’t relating to your situation? If so, how can you change that?