“The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.” Isaiah 50:4
Words, despite the children’s poems we recite, we know and have more than likely experienced the stinging effect of the wrong words spoken at the wrong time. We know that just as easily as words can build, they can also tear down and hurt the receiver of them.
One thing is certain, our world is full of words and full of people who like to use words. The human language and the ability to communicate with one another is a beautiful thing. It is when we mar that beauty with unrighteous speech rolling off our tongues and flowing from our mouths that we get into trouble.
People have practiced communication skills for centuries, and yet, when it comes to the daily application of speech, sometimes we falter and do not use the words that God has given us in a healthy and productive manner.
If we are going to learn how to use the tongue healthily, the best example is that of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus had all the right words at the right time. He knew how to speak compassion when it was needed most. He knew how to speak conviction in truth without berating another. And Jesus knew how to speak life.
In Isaiah 50:4, we see the prophesied Servant, whom we know to be the Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ talking about the words He uses and the way He uses them to speak. There He says, “The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak. . .”
Never do we see Jesus in the Bible using words in a frivolous or lackadaisical manner. Words and how they are used are powerful, and Jesus, just as His Father, knew the value of words and used them as such. To Him, everything that came out of His mouth was to be treated carefully.
Jesus’ heart was always, and I do mean always, to do the will of the Father (John 6:38). In everything, right down to going to the cross, God’s will was His number one priority (Luke 22:42). With the will of God governing His whole life and ministry, even the words He spoke had to be what “The Lord GOD hath given me.”
In Isaiah, that which was given is described as “the tongue of the learned;” as one who had been taught by God what to say and how to say it. One can speak something that is true, but how the message is delivered can affect how another receives it.
In John 12:49-50, Jesus said, “For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.” Jesus, even in His speech, sought to bring glory and honor to the Father.
Through this, we see that Jesus was very strategic with the words He uses. In this part, we have learned that Jesus is our best example in valuing words and in understanding the importance of using speech that is not only healthy but also God-honoring. Jesus treated the words He spoke very carefully, and we should too.
In the days coming, we are going to explore this verse further in two more parts of this three-part mini-series. May we learn what God wants us to say and how to say it, so that we, too, may have “the tongue of the learned” relating to one another in speech even as Jesus did, so that we will know how to speak.
This three-part mini-series is adapted from a Sunday School Lesson I previously published titled 4 Ways to Use Words Better. You can click on that link if you are looking for a deeper study on this topic.
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