All of creation came into being at the express commands of God, the supernatural light of His glory filled the earth and with that only it could be made habitable. Whatever Lord Jesus as man commanded, it happened immediately – the storm ceased, the fig tree died and all demonic forces fled from His presence and at His command. Lord Jesus has been referred to as the Living Word for He is everlasting God from eternity past to eternity future and His authority over everything is complete. Man was created in the image and likeness of God and was given dominion over everything, which authority we exercise in Lord Jesus’ name. Does our word also carry the same weight and is it able to produce the desired result.
Understanding the power of spoken word – Hebrew word for speech is ‘davar or dabar’ which also means action or actual thing. Thus spoken word relates to creating reality. On the other hand offering prayers is called ‘daven’ which means to move the lips and one goes to the Synagogue for ‘davening’ or offering prayers. Another word related to prayer is ‘tefilah’ which means to judge or self evaluation, introspection or focus on self whereas it also means attachment. Thus davening or prayer creates tefilah or a bond between ourselves and the Creator. These two words should actually become one where prayer through the spoken word and tefilah becomes the process of looking to self and then proceed to focus on God and move closer to Him while raising ourselves to that higher plane.
While fleeing from his brother Esau, Jacob fell asleep and in a dream saw a ladder reaching into heavens with angels going up and down with God standing above it (Genesis 28:12). Our spoken words of prayer become the ladder to rise and elevate ourselves to that highest level reaching God.
Forces of evil surround us all around while keeping watch over us and listening to our conversations with others including our prayers. God discards our evil words spoken in anger or despair but the devil will put them into action for we invite him into our lives. Secondly, he executes what we say and we suffer the consequences of the committed sin. God weighs our requests and gives what is good for us whereas evil happens quickly for we asked for it.
Lord Jesus encouraged the believers to have faith in God and that “If anyone says to this mountain, ‘go throw yourself into the sea’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them” (Mark 11:22-23). After healing the demon afflicted boy, Lord Jesus explained the reason of the disciples’ failure to force the demon out of the boy. The reason given was that “because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’, and it will move” (Matthew 17:20-21). It is interpreted that it is our faith that moves the mountains of our lives, greater the faith and faster will be the resultant action. But our Lord’s command is “say to the mountain” and it is our command or the spoken words that move the mountain and faith is another ingredient of that action.
Scientists say that spoken words release energy to initiate any action and energy cannot be destroyed but changes shape. Our released energy in faith either merges with God’s power as answered prayer or is taken over by evil power to cause evil things to happen.
Why not offer silent prayers? – Is it possible that since only God can read our minds and whatever we think is only revealed to Him, our prayers offered in silence and through the thought process will not be known to Satan and we can avoid any misuse of our spoken words? God commanded Adam to have dominion over everything and this task involved four actions (Genesis 1:28). First, be fruitful and multiply; second, fill the earth; third, subdue it and four, rule over everything. Each task involves the use of speech while the first may be possible otherwise. God first revealed the light of His glory on the earth and then separated this darkness from the light. But is darkness only absence of light? If that be so, then why separate the two? After his rebellion the devil, Lucifer, was expelled from heaven on to the earth and his presence in the Garden of Eden is confirmed by Scripture. He was the covering cherub, always in the presence of God and 9 precious stones adorned him (Ezekiel 28:13-14). The darkness was the presence of Satan and God caused a separation between him and the glory revealed through His Son.
Our task is to overcome all temptations and trials brought about by the devil and this we achieve in the power and authority of Lord Jesus. In the letters to the Seven Churches, Lord Jesus emphasized the special reward waiting for those who will ‘overcome’ (Revelation 2 & 3).
God is with us – ‘Joseph’s master, Potiphar, saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand’ (Genesis 39:3). Hebrew words ‘ki YHWH ito’ are translated as ‘YHWH was with him’ but Talmud, the Jewish notes of Rabbis on Jewish Law and theology, teaches that it should mean ‘the LORD was continually on his lips’. It means that everything Joseph did, he did unto God. Apostle Paul has cautioned all believers to “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). Again he emphasized the same point, “Rejoice in the LORD always. I say again rejoice… do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:4-7). Joseph prayed without ceasing while always keeping his soul focused on God, with no personal agenda but to praise and please God. And God was with him in every situation making him successful.
Heart and mouth connection – Lord Jesus preached to the disciples about ‘moving the mountain’ with no doubt in success of the effort (Mark 11:23). The Greek word ‘diakrino’ is translated as doubt and in it the first part ‘dia’ means back and forth or all around and ‘krino’ means to analyze, thus implying doubt is analyzing the same thing again and again. Thus when we command the ‘mountain’ of our problem to move, the mouth speaks whereas the heart is trying to assess whether it will happen or not. Since both the tongue and the heart differ, the energy and power that moves the mountain when both are in agreement, is missing. Lord Jesus preached that the mouth speaks what the heart is full of (Matthew 12:34) and if the lies flashed by the devil are stored up in the heart, false analysis will result in lies being spoken. Satan’s oft repeated claim that though you are the child of God in faith, God would not listen for your sins are far too many, leads us astray.
How to avoid doubts? – Doubts arise for want of truth and Word of God is truth and this we receive through daily reading of and meditating on the Scripture. We must keep at it till we can counter the devil’s lies fully and our mind gets renewed to God’s way of thinking like King David who is known as a ‘man of God’s heart’. As a young shepherd, he used his harp to sing praises to God while tending to the sheep in the wilderness, seeking Him always and then letting His word completely overwhelm him. Prayers offered in that state are accepted by God as ‘sweet incense’ offered in golden censors by the ‘living creatures’ and twenty four elders who bow down before “the Lamb” and worship Him after He receives the scroll of judgement (Revelation 5:6-9). Our prayers reach God’s ears as well as the devil’s and my prayers that are aligned with God’s Word and are continuous will make Satan flee without a fight. Joseph did that and was successful in everything he did, ‘for God was with him’.
Are we responsible for our evil words spoken against others? – Cursing someone or spreading rumors is probably worse than physically killing that person for ruining someone’s reputation is akin to death. Aaron and Miriam, Moses’ siblings, spoke evil against Moses for having married a non-Jewish Ethiopian woman. God’s anger was kindled against them for this sin of ‘lahshon hara’ and Miriam became ‘tsara rat’ or leprous (Numbers 12:1-10). Her leprosy lasted for only a week after Moses interceded on her behalf with God for forgiveness. Our accountability for what we think, speak or do is total for we sin against God through all these acts.
What is the specific evil inherent in ‘lahshon hara? – When one commits murder there is always a motive, which could be jealousy over money, power or passion for their work. Also in the act of murder there is an expected tangible benefit or revenge for a past injustice because the murderer desires to occupy that space which is vacated by the victim. A murderer, except a psychopath, does not enjoy murdering someone and there is every possibility of remorse after the act and may even repent. In gossiping neither is there any reason or motive, nor the likelihood of any tangible benefit and the worst part is the negativity of enjoyment by both the speaker and the listener. There is an evil sense of cruelness and a sense of power achieved through the rapt attention of the listeners who get dragged down into the sinful activity. Gossiping becomes a part of life for both the speaker and the listener, enjoyed repeatedly through developing a hunger for the same, thus damaging their soul.
Changed meaning of spoken word – Tongue has the power of life and death (Proverbs 18:21) but the prince of the power of the air, the devil, has changed the narrative of evil words through the modern communication modes of whatsapp, instagram, twitter and facebook etc. Through the use of these, while remaining hidden behind the veil of secrecy, gossiping has attained a new dimension where reputations are ruined in no time leading to suicides and permanently damaged lives.
Moses warned the next generation to remember what had happened to Miriam and to control their tongue (Deuteronomy 24:9). Standing before God in the fire of the burning bush, Moses had committed the same sin against his fellow Israelites that they will not believe him. God gave him three signs, of staff turning into snake and vice versa; authority to turn water turning into blood and his hand turning leprous (Exodus 4:1-7). While the first two signs were for confirming his having received his instructions from God, the third was a warning for his false statement. Joseph brought a bad report to his father about his brothers (Genesis 37:2) and ten of the twelve spies brought an evil report about the Promised Land and its inhabitants (Numbers 13:32). In both instances the Hebrew word ‘dibah’ is used which is connected to ‘davar’ and as a result of this a whole generation that believed this, died and the Israelites remained in the desert wilderness for forty years.
Why is speaking wrong words such a serious sin? – God created man from the dust of the earth and breathed into his nostrils to make him into a living being (Genesis 2:7). Jewish theologians render this differently that man became a speaking being and this relates to being in God’s image and the creation process being through God’s spoken word. Since word is life, man became a life giver. Jewish prayers start with a request, “LORD, open my lips that I may with my mouth declare Your praise” and end with “My God, guard my tongue from evil and my lips from deceitful speech. To those who curse me let my soul be silent and may my soul be to all like the dust” not reacting in any evil manner.
There is a Greek story about the Gyges Ring and its wearer would become invisible thus being able to get away with anything. Those involved in gossip think that are wearing the Gyges Ring and can get away with their evil words against others. This world is like a mirror and our Savior Lord’s second commandment about loving your neighbor reflects this. Thus as we behave with others, same would be our lot from God for we cannot expect anything else.
As speaking beings whatever we speak we open a door to invite and give authority to the spiritual powers to act. Our evil speech invites the devil while through our prayers we beseech God to intervene in our life situations to bless us. Spoken words are like an arrow shot from the bow and cannot be retracted. We have the power to receive blessings or invite evil results through our speech and we decide the way we want to live!