Words Like Honey

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;..
the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward… Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:9-11,14

I memorized this familiar passage when I was a child, and have always loved the rhythm and cadence of the phrases describing God’s word, full of power and sweeter than honey. The Hebrews used to put a spot of honey on their children’s tongues as they learned the Torah, teaching them that the holy words were indeed a delight, sweet and to be savored. How fitting that the prayer at the end of this psalm asks for pleasing words from David’s mouth.

When we take delight in the word of God, we see, by understanding and application, that it revives, makes wise, rejoices our hearts, enlightens our eyes, and in its unshakeable truth and beauty and bounty is to be greatly desired. Could not my words, issuing from a heart soaked in His, minister the same to others? If God’s word is more valuable than gold and sweeter than honey, how do my words measure against them? Am I taking care to choose my words thoughtfully, to weigh them against truth, to filter them through sensitivity and grace, to pray for a guard over my lips and for meaningful responses? (Psalm 1:1-2; 39:1; 141:3)

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What will it take to make my words sweet to the soul and healing to the body? When someone pours out their heart, have I steeped myself in God’s word enough to be able to discern with wisdom, and offer an appropriate reply, palpable comfort, hopeful promise, true truths that will make a difference? When I walk into a nest of buzzing gossip, or a mud-pit of coarse talk or profanity, do my words season with salt, preserving what is holy and retarding corruption? When murmuring, complaining, and catty criticism diminish others, what am I doing to reverse the destruction by building up? Am I quick to squelch meaningless or ungodly babbling by elevating the conversation? How well do I steer conversations away from superficial topics to significance? How rich is my storehouse of words, and what am I doing to fill it? (Proverbs 4:22; 16:24; Colossians 4:6; 2 Timothy 2:16)

Holy Father, Living Word, make my words gracious like Yours in the lives of others. Keep me soaking in Your word daily so when I open my mouth, You come out.

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