“But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more. My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge. With the mighty deeds of the Lord God I will come; I will remind them of your righteousness, yours alone.” Psalm 71:14-16
The power of fire is amazing. This truth has been on full display recently as the 2022 forest fire season in the Western States has gotten off to a blazing start. Often times big forest fires are started by big events like a bolt of lightning or power lines. Oftentimes, however, we see forest fires starting from the tiniest spark from a campfire, a cigarette butt, or a spark from a vehicle. A tiny spark can quickly grow into thousands of acres of flames and charred forest.
Scripture teaches this same truth about the tongue. James reminds us that though the tongue is small in size, it yields great power. Just as a large ship can navigate even through the wind with the captain’s maneuvering of a comparably small rudder. (James 3:4-5) The obvious lesson James would have us take away is that we should take care of how we use our tongue.
The writing of James was influenced by his Lord Jesus who also had a lot to say about the responsible use of the things God has given us. One of the clearest teachings of Jesus on this matter is found in Matthew 25 where He tells the parable of the talents. (verses 14-30) The jest of that teaching is that God expects us to use the things He has given us for the advancement of the Kingdom. What has God given us? The better question is, ‘What has He not given us?’ Everything we have is from God – our life, our hands, our finances, our family, our speech.
Our Psalm today gives us a perfect example of what it looks like to be good stewards of our tongue – “My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day…” (Psalm 71:15) This is the correct and responsible use of such a powerful thing that has been entrusted to us. Returning to James’ thoughts on the tongue, after describing what the tongue is capable of, he gives us an example of what could go wrong. About the tongue, he says it can be “…a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it, we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing.” (James 3:8-10)
Think about your speech this past week. Has it glorified God or has it been used for another purpose? Are you using the gift God has given you for His glory, or are you squandering the talent God has granted you to tell of His great deeds?
Prayer for Today:
God, thank you for the many gifts you have entrusted to me. Grant me the discipline to tame my speech and use it for your glory. Amen.