In a word

Jeremiah 23-25

Words matter to God.  They really do!  Many people know about John 1 — “In the beginning was the Word, and Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  But God speaks about the proper use of words in Jeremiah 23.  Apparently false prophets were spouting off all sorts of things that the people’s itching ears wanted to hear.  They claimed to be speaking “a prophesy from the Lord,” but the Lord objected so vehemently that he told people to stop saying that phrase altogether:

34 “If any prophet, priest, or anyone else says, ‘I have a prophecy from the Lord,’ I will punish that person along with his entire family. 35 You should keep asking each other, ‘What is the Lord’s answer?’ or ‘What is the Lord saying?’ 36 But stop using this phrase, ‘prophecy from the Lord.’ For people are using it to give authority to their own ideas, turning upside down the words of our God, the living God, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

37 “This is what you should say to the prophets: ‘What is the Lord’s answer?’ or ‘What is the Lord saying?’ 38 But suppose they respond, ‘This is a prophecy from the Lord!’ Then you should say, ‘This is what the Lord says: Because you have used this phrase, “prophecy from the Lord,” even though I warned you not to use it, 39 I will forget you completely. I will expel you from my presence, along with this city that I gave to you and your ancestors. 40 And I will make you an object of ridicule, and your name will be infamous throughout the ages.’”

This is new to me!  I love it when I read something in the Bible that I’ve never come across before.

I love words.  My mother would tell you that I began speaking practically from the moment I was born!  I am a bona fide book worm.  As a writer, I know that word choice has a great deal of sway in persuasive matters…more than most people realize.

For example, the media calls those people who believe in the sanctity of life from conception “Anti-Abortionists” rather than “Pro-Lifers.”  Why?  Because the prefix “anti” has a negative connotation.  The prefix “pro” has a positive connotation.  The clever media exerts its bias simply through the words it choses to convey the same meaning.  In the same way, a person who supports the idea of abortion rights is referred to as someone who is “Pro-Choice.”  I guess “Anti-Lifer” just doesn’t give the public the message the media is trying to convey.

God knew all about words.  He created them.  In fact, there is evidence out there that the Lord himself created the first alphabet known to man.  Prior to giving Moses the Ten Commandments, the Israelites had no alphabet, nor did other cultures.  The Egyptians who had held the Israelites in slavery for 400 years had a system of writing using pictures.  But it wasn’t until the time of the issuing of the Ten Commandments that people began using abstract symbols to represent words.  Don’t believe me?  Read it here from Deuteronomy 5:

2 These are the commandments the LORD proclaimed in a loud voice to your whole assembly there on the mountain from out of the fire, the cloud and the deep darkness; and he added nothing more. Then he wrote them on two stone tablets and gave them to me.

By the time the Israelites made it to the Promised Land 40 years later, they possessed the ability to write themselves because the Lord told them to put plaster on stones (that’s a step forward in writing tools, isn’t it?) and carve the Ten Commandments on them when they crossed the Jordan River.  Somehow in the wilderness these people who had been under the thumb of the Egyptians working as slaves learned how to read and write.

Words are important to the Lord.

I know it may be sappy, but I like it when something that makes me happy also pleases the Lord!

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