Read: Proverbs 16:24; Proverbs 25:11-12; Ephesians 4:29
Many years ago, I was given a sweet and tasty gift from a friend. It was a dessert made just for my husband and me, and these hand-made creations were delivered to our door fresh each month for a year. Each one was beautifully presented, and each one was a surprise. It was fun to receive them; however, the joy of the gift didn't end with merely appreciating the confections and placing them on the table. No! The best part of the gift was getting out forks and digging right in. Enjoying the sweet treats to the fullest.
There is another sweet treat that we can both receive as well as give to others, and it is available not merely once a month. It is words, and God wants us to receive His truths and give them out too. Let’s take a glimpse into some of what the Bible declares concerning the sweet gift of words. In Proverbs 16:24, words are compared with honey. We have some on the counter right now, and we love its soothing sweetness. God dispenses this soothing balm into our lives when we read about His love for us. Sometimes, the world tears away at us like the hail that beats upon our plants in the garden; however, we can be assured by God through His Word that He loves us with an unchanging love. The truth that we can never be snatched out of His hand regardless of how broken we might feel, is a healing balm for us, John 10:27-30; Romans 8:38-39.
But wait. Just because the words are there on our Bibles' pages, are we automatically soothed? The answer hearkens back to the desserts we received. What if we admired them and put them on the shelf and left them there. What if we lined them up each month by placing them prominently in the room so they could be seen but never tasted them. We could speak about how nice the gift was, but would it have ever really been something we could have truly told others about? No, if we never tasted the treats for ourselves, our telling others about them would lack credibility. No wonder the Bible says that we should "taste and see that the Lord is good, Psalm 34:8."
For example, God says that we should not worry about tomorrow. Why? Because today has enough things to deal with of its own, and we have a God Who knows what we need, Matthew 6:34; Matthew 6:8. Such sweet truth. It is so nourishing that it requires that we get out the forks and spoons and really take it in. When the thoughts assault and press in, telling us that there is no way through the next month, we have to dip into the sweetness of God's truths concerning today and His care for us, Matthew 6:25-34.
It is in these verses that we are reminded of God's attention to detail. The birds in the sky and the flowers are His reminder of this; however, the truth doesn't stop there. Jesus took it to the next level when He said that we are more valuable than birds or flowers. This truth can be grasped by a child, and these are beautiful words to admire on a plaque, but they are sweeter when we allow ourselves to be nourished by them as a part of our thinking each day. Think of it. We are valuable in the eyes of the One Who created all that we see around us, Genesis 1:1.
In the book of Proverbs, we are reminded that words have great power, Proverbs 18:21. I love the description of timely words in Proverbs 25:11. They are like apples of gold in settings of silver; however, the sweetness of these words doesn't stop there. Verse 12 reminds us that wise words are beautiful like gold jewelry when they are taken in by a listening ear. I was reminded of the importance of a listening ear about a month ago. The head cold I had came with ears that struggled to hear. I had to work to know what was being said and even some of the bird sounds were very faint. I found myself expending quite a bit of energy so that I could hear.
How good it would be for me to listen with that much attentiveness to the truths of God's Word and as James says to not be a forgetful hearer. Again, the truth is clear for us. We are not to simply treat God's Word in a haphazard way. Instead, the Lord wants us to bend close to listen and then apply His truths to our day, James 1:22-26. When we do that, we can naturally share the joy of walking buoyed up by God's truths. When we have begun to experience the joy of the gift of God's Word, we naturally will hold it out to others.
Ephesians 4:29 reminds us of a negative truth about words and a sweet positive description of what God's kind of words can do. First the negative. We are to stop corrupt words from coming out of our mouths. We don't have to think too deeply to see what Paul is saying here. Corrupt things are destructive and leave a stench. Words like this bring the hearers down and often tear down someone else who is not there. They are not refreshing but rather bring a staleness into the room.
Paul's challenge to us is so different. Instead of corruption, our words should build up and hold out grace to those who hear them. These are words that can bring refreshment and joy into the room, and that pleases God. But wait, what if we offer edifying words only to be rebuffed or mocked? Not everyone appreciates God's kind of sweetness. We often experience this rejection when we hold out truths from the scriptures that have nourished us only to be shot down with corrupt words. When this happens, we still have the joy of God's smile and the knowledge that He is pleased when we both take in His Word and hold it out. We can't control how it will be received. Even Jesus was rejected in Nazareth when He spoke truth that could have edified the people if they had taken His words in, Luke 4:16-30. Imagine it. The people wanted to throw their Savior off a cliff; however, in spite of their reaction, the words that Jesus spoke to them were words of truth. They were a gift Jesus offered them. A gift they chose not to savor.
Lord, guide us into the truth today that You want us to savor. After we have been nourished, show us if we are to share it with someone else.