Our scripture reading for today is found in the book of Proverbs chapter 17 and verse 22. When you find it, say "amen." Proverbs 17:22 says,"A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones." I want to first look at how some words affected different people in the Bible and then I want to show you two different experiments about how words affect us.
Our first example will be Abram. Let's turn in our Bibles to Genesis 15:1-6. "1After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. 2And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? 3And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. 4And, behold, the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. 5And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. 6And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness." God told Abram, not to fear and Abram believed God and was considered righteous. Positive words bring about a positive result.
Our next example will be Esau. Turn in your Bibles forward just a few chapters to Genesis chapter 27 and we will begin in verse 34. "And when Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry, and said unto his father, Bless me, even me also, O my father. 35And he said, Thy brother came with subtlety, and hath taken away thy blessing. 36And he said, Is not he rightly named Jacob? for he hath supplanted me these two times: he took away my birthright; and, behold, now he hath taken away my blessing. And he said, Hast thou not reserved a blessing for me? 37And Isaac answered and said unto Esau, Behold, I have made him thy lord, and all his brethren have I given to him for servants; and with corn and wine have I sustained him: and what shall I do now unto thee, my son? 38And Esau said unto his father, Hast thou but one blessing, my father? bless me, even me also, O my father. And Esau lifted up his voice, and wept." Not receiving a blessing by his father caused Esau to cry bitterly. I have been witness to the ill effects of a parents words greatly hurting their children. Not only do these effects have immediate negative feelings but they can last a lifetime and affect future generations as well.
The last example is rather long and is found in the book of 1 Kings chapter 18 and 19 starting with 18:19, it reads, "19And Rab–shakeh said unto them, Speak ye now to Hezekiah, Thus saith the great king, the king of Assyria, What confidence is this wherein thou trustest? 20Thou sayest, (but they are but vain words,) I have counsel and strength for the war. Now on whom dost thou trust, that thou rebellest against me? 21Now, behold, thou trustest upon the staff of this bruised reed, even upon Egypt, on which if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt unto all that trust on him.22But if ye say unto me, We trust in the Lord our God: is not that he, whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah hath taken away, and hath said to Judah and Jerusalem, Ye shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem? 23Now therefore, I pray thee, give pledges to my lord the king of Assyria, and I will deliver thee two thousand horses, if thou be able on thy part to set riders upon them 24How then wilt thou turn away the face of one captain of the least of my master's servants, and put thy trust on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen? 25Am I now come up without the Lord against this place to destroy it? The Lord said to me, Go up against this land, and destroy it. 26Then said Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and Shebna, and Joah, unto Rab–shakeh, Speak, I pray thee, to thy servants in the Syrian language; for we understand it: and talk not with us in the Jews' language in the ears of the people that are on the wall. 27But Rab–shakeh said unto them, Hath my master sent me to thy master, and to thee, to speak these words? hath he not sent me to the men which sit on the wall, that they may eat their own dung, and drink their own piss with you? 28Then Rab–shakeh stood and cried with a loud voice in the Jews' language, and spake, saying, Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria: 29Thus saith the king, Let not Hezekiah deceive you: for he shall not be able to deliver you out of his hand: 30Neither let Hezekiah make you trust in the Lord, saying, The Lord will surely deliver us, and this city shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria. 31Hearken not to Hezekiah: for thus saith the king of Assyria, Make an agreement with me by a present, and come out to me, and then eat ye every man of his own vine, and every one of his fig tree, and drink ye every one the waters of his cistern: 32Until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of corn and wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of oil olive and of honey, that ye may live, and not die: and hearken not unto Hezekiah, when he persuadeth you, saying, The Lord will deliver us 33Hath any of the gods of the nations delivered at all his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? 34Where are the gods of Hamath, and of Arpad? where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivah? have they delivered Samaria out of mine hand? 35Who are they among all the gods of the countries, that have delivered their country out of mine hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem out of mine hand? 36But the people held their peace, and answered him not a word: for the king's commandment was, saying, Answer him not. 37Then came Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, which was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph the recorder, to Hezekiah with their clothes rent, and told him the words of Rab–shakeh. 1And it came to pass, when king Hezekiah heard it, that he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the Lord. 2And he sent Eliakim, which was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests, covered with sackcloth, to Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz. 3And they said unto him, Thus saith Hezekiah, This day is a day of trouble, and of rebuke, and blasphemy: for the children are come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth. 4It may be the Lord thy God will hear all the words of Rab–shakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master hath sent to reproach the living God; and will reprove the words which the Lord thy God hath heard: wherefore lift up thy prayer for the remnant that are left. 5So the servants of king Hezekiah came to Isaiah. 6And Isaiah said unto them, Thus shall ye say to your master, Thus saith the Lord, Be not afraid of the words which thou hast heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. 7Behold, I will send a blast upon him, and he shall hear a rumor, and shall return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land. 8So Rab–shakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah: for he had heard that he was departed from Lachish. 9And when he heard say of Tirhakah king of Ethiopia, Behold, he is come out to fight against thee: he sent messengers again unto Hezekiah, saying, 10Thus shall ye speak to Hezekiah king of Judah, saying, Let not thy God in whom thou trustest deceive thee, saying, Jerusalem shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria. 11Behold, thou hast heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, by destroying them utterly: and shalt thou be delivered? 12Have the gods of the nations delivered them which my fathers have destroyed; as Gozan, and Haran, and Rezeph, and the children of Eden which were in Thelasar? 13Where is the king of Hamath, and the king of Arpad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, of Hena, and Ivah? 14And Hezekiah received the letter of the hand of the messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went up into the house of the Lord, and spread it before the Lord. 15And Hezekiah prayed before the Lord, and said, O Lord God of Israel, which dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; thou hast made heaven and earth. 16 Lord, bow down thine ear, and hear: open, Lord, thine eyes, and see: and hear the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent him to reproach the living God. 17Of a truth, Lord, the kings of Assyria have destroyed the nations and their lands, 18And have cast their gods into the fire: for they were no gods, but the work of men's hands, wood and stone: therefore they have destroyed them. 19Now therefore, O Lord our God, I beseech thee, save thou us out of his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the Lord God, even thou only. 20Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, That which thou hast prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria I have heard. 21This is the word that the Lord hath spoken concerning him; The virgin the daughter of Zion hath despised thee, and laughed thee to scorn; the daughter of Jerusalem hath shaken her head at thee. 22Whom hast thou reproached and blasphemed? and against whom hast thou exalted thy voice, and lifted up thine eyes on high? even against the Holy One of Israel. 23By thy messengers thou hast reproached the Lord, and hast said, With the multitude of my chariots I am come up to the height of the mountains, to the sides of Lebanon, and will cut down the tall cedar trees thereof, and the choice fir trees thereof: and I will enter into the lodgings of his borders, and into the forest of his Carmel 24I have digged and drunk strange waters, and with the sole of my feet have I dried up all the rivers of besieged places. 25Hast thou not heard long ago how I have done it, and of ancient times that I have formed it? now have I brought it to pass, that thou shouldest be to lay waste fenced cities into ruinous heaps. 26Therefore their inhabitants were of small power, they were dismayed and confounded; they were as the grass of the field, and as the green herb, as the grass on the housetops, and as corn blasted before it be grown up. 27But I know thy abode, and thy going out, and thy coming in, and thy rage against me. 28Because thy rage against me and thy tumult is come up into mine ears, therefore I will put my hook in thy nose, and my bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee back by the way by which thou camest. 29And this shall be a sign unto thee, Ye shall eat this year such things as grow of themselves, and in the second year that which springeth of the same; and in the third year sow ye, and reap, and plant vineyards, and eat the fruits thereof. 30And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall yet again take root downward, and bear fruit upward. 31For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion: the zeal of the Lord of hosts shall do this. 32Therefore thus saith the Lord concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield, nor cast a bank against it. 33By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not come into this city, saith the Lord. 34For I will defend this city, to save it, for mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake. 35And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. Rab–shakeh thought to make the people afraid by his words so he spoke them in their own language, however in so doing he blasphemed the name of God. Hezekiah had warned the people not to answer Rab-shakeh and then he took the matter to God in prayer. The verse that comes to mind here is found in Proverbs 26:4 "Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him." And Matthew 12:36, "But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment." God heard Hezekiah's prayer and the whole camp of the Assyrians died because their leader had blasphemed God and Hezekiah had trusted God to take care of the situation.
I saw an experiment done on television the other day where a gentleman had a pulse oximeter put on his finger. Then another man began saying things like, "you're dumb, nobody likes you, you're ideas are stupid." The first guy's pulse began to rise from about 80 beats a minute to over 100. Then the second guy switched and began saying nice things like, "you're a good person, people like you, you're smart". Instantly the man's pulse began to return to normal. The first man knew that the second man didn't mean the words that he was saying and yet his pulse rate climbed. We ought to be very careful about the words that we speak. There is a popular song Called "Speak Life" by Toby Mac to remind us to choose our words well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rK6O0YtBRY
In closing I would like us to contemplate on the link below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Moz82i89JAw We all need to be very careful about what we say to ourselves and to each other. After all self talk will negatively influence out outlook on life too. "God has shown how high a value He places upon every human soul, and He gives to no man liberty to speak contemptuously of another. We shall see faults and weaknesses in those about us, but God claims every soul as His property—His by creation, and doubly His as purchased by the precious blood of Christ. All were created in His image, and even the most degraded are to be treated with respect and tenderness. God will hold us accountable for even a word spoken in contempt of one soul for whom Christ laid down His life." MB 56.3