The Psalm writer wrote: Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law. As we come before a Holy God and hear his word, may we have eyes open to the wonderful and fearful things from his law. May it move us to repent and seek forgiveness, fear disobedience, and live in light of the grace we have received. This is the word of God. It is eternally true and applicable for all of life.
Proverbs 16:21-30 The wise in heart will be called understanding, And sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness. Understanding is a fountain of life to one who has it, But the discipline of fools is folly. The heart of the wise instructs his mouth And adds persuasiveness to his lips. Pleasant words are a honeycomb, Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. A worker’s appetite works for him, For his hunger urges him on. A worthless man digs up evil, While his words are like scorching fire. A perverse man spreads strife, And a slanderer separates intimate friends. A man of violence entices his neighbor And leads him in a way that is not good. He who winks his eyes does so to devise perverse things; He who compresses his lips brings evil to pass.
There are few words which grate against the nerves of reasonable people more than the words coronavirus, quarantine, and "social distancing". As these vulgar words leave the mouth of one person and make their way towards the ear of another, something strange takes place in which the words themselves get transformed into some of the most annoying sounds in the known world.
Anger, anxiety, frustration, and possibly post traumatic stress disorder kick in as soon as these words are uttered, leaving the hearer reeling, befuddled, and perhaps dry heaving, agonizing over the fact that yet one more person has been infected by a big dose of unreasonableness. When contrasted with Proverbs 16:24, these words are clearly not pleasant, nor sweet, but are rather repugnant, and almost rise to a level which would lead schoolboys to engage in fisticuffs at the very mention of them, akin to a bad “ yo momma” joke.
Pleasant words are a honeycomb, Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
Some words simply do not bring to mind the idea of a tasty, honey laden treat which satisfies that sweet tooth. Instead of bringing about healing and refreshment to a person’s soul, words frequently do harm, separate friends, enrage enemies, and stir up unnecessary strife.
Matthew Henry states:
The pleasant words here commended must be those which the heart of the wise teaches, and adds learning to (v. 23), words of seasonable advice, instruction, and comfort, words taken from God's word, for that is it which Solomon had learned from his father to account sweeter than honey and the honey-comb, Ps. 19:10. These words, to those that know how to relish them,
1. Are pleasant. They are like the honey-comb, sweet to the soul, which tastes in them that the Lord is gracious; nothing more grateful and agreeable to the new man than the word of God, and those words which are borrowed from it, Ps. 119:103.
2. They are wholesome. Many things are pleasant that are not profitable, but these pleasant words are health to the bones, to the inward man, as well as sweet to the soul. They make the bones, which sin has broken and put out of joint, to rejoice. The bones are the strength of the body; and the good word of God is a means of spiritual strength, curing the diseases that weaken us.
David in Psalm 34 emplors us to “Taste and see that He is good”, so it is clear that any words we speak to another ought to be grounded in the truth of God’s Word which are sweet to the soul and bring healing to the bones. With these truths in mind, I would like to leave you with a few additional words of truth, which I pray you will find pleasant, and refreshing. Where they fall flat, ring hollow, or seem not so sweet to you in this season of life, please join me in repenting.
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn of many brethren; and those whom he predestined, He also called; and those whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the One who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is he who died, yes rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written,
“FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG; WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED.”
But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
All things work together for our good. This includes coronaviruses, quarantines, and social distancing. If you are able, let us kneel and repent for how we call things which come to us from the hand of God a curse, rather than a blessing which is meant to conform us to the image of His Son.
THOU GREAT THREE-ONE, Author of all blessings I enjoy, of all I hope for,
Thou hast taught me that neither the experience of present evils, nor the remembrances of former sins, nor the remonstrances of friends, will or can affect a sinner’s heart, except thou vouchsafe to reveal thy grace and quicken the dead in sin by the effectual working of thy Spirit’s power. Thou hast shown me that the sensible effusions of divine love in the soul are superior to and distinct from bodily health, and that oft-times spiritual comforts are at their highest when physical well-being is at its lowest.
Thou hast given me the ordinance of song as a means of grace; Fit me to bear my part in that music ever new, which elect angels and saints made perfect, now sing before thy throne and before the Lamb.
I bless thee for tempering every distress with joy; too much of the former might weigh me down, too much of the latter might puff me up; Thou art wise to give me a taste of both. I love thee for giving me clusters of grapes in the wilderness, and drops of heavenly wine that set me longing to have my fill.
Apart from thee I quickly die, bereft of thee I starve, far from thee I thirst and droop; But thou art all I need. Let me continually grasp the promise, ‘I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.’
Join me in standing, and listen now to the comforting assurance of the grace of God, promised in the gospel to all that believe:
John 8:12 Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life
To all those who thus repent and seek Jesus Christ for their salvation, your sins are forgiven in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Lift up your hearts!
(From the 05/10/2020 Liturgy of Sovereign King Church written by Aaron Sabie.)