Lock the Mouth, Fear the Lord

“Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil.  Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. For a dream comes with much business, and a fool’s voice with many words.

“When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. Let not your mouth lead you into sin, and do not say before the messenger that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry at your voice and destroy the work of your hands?  For when dreams increase and words grow many, there is vanity; but God is the one you must fear.” Ecclesiastes 5:1-7

It’s a sad thing that when we open our mouths we open ourselves to all kinds of detriment. The mouth is prominent and made for much good, the enjoyment of tasteful sustenance and the expression of truth and praise, music and love. But how often it is exercised without self-control and gets in the way of reverence, benevolence, and wisdom. It can be a spigot of impulsive thought, empty chatter, and words we wish we could retrieve, but if held closed would result in rest and sound understanding. How easy it is to eagerly approach God with our agenda and cursory sacrifice, even with earnest intent, when He demands that we simply know and revel in who He is. (Isaiah 40:25-31; Matthew 17:1-8)

Guarding our driven steps, hushing the mouth, and tuning the ears to listen all help to keep us measured and prevent foolishness. As we submit to the Lord, His Spirit helps us develop a mindset that whether approaching His house, or any other place or situation, He is Lord and we are not. He is holy, He knows our needs, He is worthy of our trust, and He is honored by our humble allegiance. Taking a still moment to focus on who He is adjusts our view of self and importance, and trains us in reverent self-control. When we come to the Lord in bowed silence, He will fill our open mouths and hearts with His bounty. (Psalm 81:10; Proverbs 15:2; 17:28; Matthew 6:7-8)

What is my attitude toward God? Do my decisions and actions show that I revere His greatness, wisdom, and authority? Do I think I am here to do God a favor, or enlist my rights, or do I have a sense of grateful stewardship? In what ways can I adjust my approach of God with more praise, and what need I set aside to behave with more surrender? How do I exemplify Him in gracious blessing of others as He fills me?

Lord, may I carefully guard my mouth, using it carefully for the building up of others and blessing of Your name, fear, and glory.

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