Speaking Righteousness; August 9, 2019


Psalm 52:3 You love evil rather than good,
falsehood rather than speaking the truth.

Here’s another verse I’m sure I’ve never written on before! We don’t really like reading the Bible’s descriptions of evil people, but they too can be very instructive. When we encounter people who fit those descriptions, we know to steer clear of them as much as possible. The preface to this Psalm indicates exactly who it is talking about. The details of that story are found in 1 Samuel 21 and 22, and it is a nasty story indeed. The thing is, we are marked by what we love, just as we will spend eternity with the one we serve. Hebrews 1:9 quotes Psalm 45:7 as referring to Jesus, saying, “You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.” That’s the exact reverse of this description of Doeg the Edomite. I don’t think there’s any question which we should emulate! It’s interesting that the Japanese for this verse says, “speaking righteousness,” rather than “speaking the truth.” There is a difference between simply speaking fact and speaking righteousness. Righteousness admonishes and builds up, going beyond simply giving information. We have all encountered people who seemed to delight in cutting other people down with their words. That is not speaking righteousness, even if the words happen to be true! I think this is closely related to something Jesus said that concerns me personally: “But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:36-37) Ouch! We need to examine our hearts and our words to see what we love, and if the Holy Spirit says so, repent.

I had no idea where this was going when I started writing, but now I know. I have always been a person of words, and I have used words as weapons more times than I could count. Sometimes my words have hurt people without my intending it, but sometimes it has been intentional. Often I speak more than necessary, delighting in the sound of my own voice. That too is not speaking righteousness. I need to be an instrument of blessing, using the tools God has given me to do His work and nothing less. It was recognized early on that I had a gift for words, but what I do with that gift is what matters. I will reflect what and whom I love, so my focus needs to be on loving Jesus more and more. His every word was righteousness, and that needs to be my goal as well.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for the day yesterday, and all You enabled us to do in it. Thank You for Your plans for today. I pray that I would recognize Your plans and follow them, not drawing back for any reason, so that Your will may be done on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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