A Bar of Soap
My brother was a handful. He was 8 years old when I was born, but his antics were legend at the dinner table. His most famous escapade, leading his friends in an all-out tomato war. Stripping luscious vines bare. Smashing ripe red fruit as weapons of make-believe warfare. Destroying our entire neighborhood’s summertime harvest. Story goes he didn’t sit down for a week.
Using bad words also got him in trouble. Mom washed his mouth out with soap on many occasions. She was a stickler about words. The punishments must have taken effect because he ended up a missionary and pastor for many years. A man of prayer and conviction, my brother was trained up in the way he should go. Every time I see Ralphie in Christmas Story enduring his mom’s rigorous mouth washing, I think of my brother. He even had a BB gun.
Mom was a stickler for discipline. She didn’t let us get away with ugly attitudes or bad words. She recognized that out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. I’m thankful our Mom taught us to be careful about both.
Israel’s words accused God of not caring for them. Kadesh was their testing ground and they failed. Their hearts filled with fear while their mouths spoke unbelief. Their actions proved their lack of faith. Their grumbling got them in trouble with God as the overflow of their hearts determined their final destiny. They spoke their punishment before it even happened.
Numbers 14:2 and 26-29
All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt. Or in this desert! Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?”
The Lord said, I have heard the complaints of these grumbling Israelites. So tell them, As surely as I live I will do to you the very things I heard you say: In this desert your bodies will fall…not one of you will enter the land.”
The words you say now reflect your fate then; either you will be justified by them or you will be condemned.
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
2 Corinthians 4:13
We too believe, and therefore we speak.
1 Corinthians 10:11
These things were written as examples and were written down as warnings for us…
Questions to consider:
1. How did God respond to Israel’s negative words of complaint?
2. Describe the effectiveness of words.
3. What is contained in the tongue?
4. Have your words ever gotten you in trouble?
5. What kind of words should we speak?
God hears our complaints, just like He did Israel’s. Shouldn’t that put the fear of God in us? Let’s pay attention to what comes out of our mouths. Do our words reflect a pure heart? When we fill our hearts with truth of scripture, we’ll notice the difference. Let’s proclaim God’s Word instead of our fears. I’ve heard that we agree with the enemy when we complain. Let’s agree with God! What if we spoke God’s Word over a problem instead of voicing fear? It’s just might change our destiny.