Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:21.
For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well. James 3:2.
“For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:37.
Today your LORD (יהוה) God says:
Death and life are in the hand of your tongue. You often see that translated “power of your tongue” but the word in the Hebrew in which it was first written is “hand.” Your tongue, by the words you say, reaches out and takes life or death, blessing or cursing.
It is your words that determine the outcome of your life and determine the harvest you reap. What you say, the words of your mouth, matter. In fact, for you they matter more than anything else in heaven and on earth, for in your life your words have more power than My Words. You may find that hard to believe because I am the Most High, but I have set forth spiritual laws that give you dominion over your life by what you speak. You can agree with Me or you can agree with the evil one. And that determines your level of health, prosperity, and blessing in the present world and where you spend eternity and the position you have in the eternal Kingdom.
This is serious and you should not be careless in your words. They are the tools framing your world and the world of those who are joined to you. That is why I tell you that you shall give an accounting for every careless (idle, useless, harmful) word that you speak in the day of judgment. Matthew 7:36. Why? Because your words shape your life and they also shape the lives of others. Be careful if you mislead the little ones who believe in Me, for “whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” Matthew 18:6.
You can administer faith, courage, joy, forgiveness, victory, healing, comfort, confidence, blessing and life to your and other’s lives and dreams with your words, or you can administer fear, discouragement, shame, defeat, cursing and death to your and other’s lives and dreams. The adversaries of My prophet Jeremiah said, “Come on and let us strike at him with our tongue, and let us give no heed to any of his words.” Jeremiah 18:18. Your words are a sharp sword. Psalm 57:4. “There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Proverbs 12:18. And My servant James, by the Spirit, wrote, “from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can saltwater produce fresh.” James 3:10-12.
You will also decree a thing, and it will be established for you and light will shine on your ways. When you are cast down, you will speak with confidence, and the humble person I will save. Job 22:28-29.
And that is why I am beginning a new series of life lessons for you today called “Watch Your Words,” and Life Lesson No. 1 is “Your Words Matter.” I do not want you to be unaware that by your words you are framing your life, your world, and your eternity. It is time to watch your mouth. As My servant David sang, “I will guard my ways that I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth as with a muzzle.” Psalm 39:1. David was a man after My own heart. He understood spiritual laws.
Do you desire a long, healthy, happy life filled with good things? I tell you how to have that and it starts with the product, the fruit, of your lips: “Who is the man who desires life and loves length of days that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.” Psalm 34:12-13. My Words are truth and they sanctify you in the truth. John 17:17. Anything said that does not agree with My Words is deceit and is a lie, no matter what the circumstances look like. Yes, your words matter. The wicked cut short their lives.
Now I want to show you how your life is determined by your words. In what I am going to show you, you see that you can alter and change My plans for your life by your words.
As Abraham walked with Me over the course of his life, I clearly spoke My plans for his descendants, not only that they would be numerous and take the gates of the enemy, but also My promise to give them a certain area of land inhabited by others at that time. I showed him the land and he lived there as a sojourner looking ahead to when I would give it to his descendants.
From when I first spoke with Abraham (the Abram), I told him of this plan. I told him to leave where he lived and go to a land I would show him. Genesis 12:1. And Abram obeyed. “So Abram went forth as the LORD had spoken to him; and Lot went with him. Now Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his nephew, and all their possessions which they had accumulated, and the persons which they had acquired in Haran, and they for the land of Canaan; thus they came to the land of Canaan. Abram passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. Now the Canaanite was then in the land. The LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” Genesis 12:7. And I never changed My mind. I made covenant with him later in the land of Canaan and said, “I am the LORD who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess it.” Genesis 15:7. And I revealed more to him yet, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years. But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve, and afterward they will come out with great possessions. As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you will be buried at a good old age. Then in the fourth generation they will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete.” Genesis 15:13-16. And after that slavery took place in the land of Egypt, and the Israelites, remembered Me and called out to Me for deliverance, I told Moses the plan again, “I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have given heed to their cry because of their taskmasters, for I am aware of their sufferings. So I have come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite.” Exodus 3:7-8. I even repeated My promise to Moses of bringing the people out of slavery with great wealth. Exodus 3:21-22.
But was My Will and plan for the lives of My people what happened in the lives of that generation that I redeemed from Egypt by mighty signs and wonders as have never been seen again? No, it was not. They altered My good plan for their own plan and it ended in them losing the joys of the possession of a land flowing with milk and honey where I promised to give them victory and great beautiful cities they did not raise up, and fine houses they did not build, vineyards they did not plant and wells they did not dig. And how did they lose all that and live lives of wandering in a dry and barren desert for forty years until all of them died except for two of them?
Because of their words. They refused to agree with Me and spoke death rather than life because of what ten men said to them as a report about the promised land and their ability to take it. But this was not a question of their ability but Mine. They could never have parted the Red Sea by their own power to escape death by the pursuing Egyptians, but I did it at the words of Moses as he raised his staff. They were yelling fear, death and defeat even then but Moses, at My direction, told them to be quiet and keep still and watch Me work. But they did not understand. They saw My works but never learned My ways. What is My way? My Word is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. It is the way of faith in My Word. And the spirit of faith is you believe in your heart and speak with YOUR mouth.
Let us go to that fateful day when they ruined their own lives by their words. Yes, death and life are in the hand of YOUR tongue. I only speak life. All are alive to Me. Death is an enemy and it is the last enemy to go under My Son’s feet.
The Israelites came to the border of the land I promised Abraham would be theirs. I got them through the desert without harm, fed them Manna every day, gave the quail when the asked for meat, and gave them water to drink gushing out of a rock. I gave Moses plans for a beautiful dwelling place so I could dwell among them and travel with them. I had given them all the precious jewels, cloth, and other supplies needed for the structure and I put My skill on them to build it. I taught them how to cover their sins with the blood of the lamb, as I had the night I brought them out of Egypt by the Passover, and instructed the Levites in five different sacrificial offerings. I gave them just commandments and laws that were filled with wisdom so that the people would live in love. I told them of the blessing and of the curse. But despite all that every time the circumstances looked threatening they went into panic and said they would rather return to Egypt or die. They constantly spoke death and defeat. They never trusted in My goodness and did not thank Me for all that I was doing for them.
At the border of the promised land, they sent in twelve men, one from each of the twelve tribes that were made up of descendants of Jacob’s twelve sons. All twelve agreed when they returned that the land did indeed flow with milk and honey and was filled with abundance beyond what they had ever seen—one cluster of grapes was so large it had to be carried by two men on a pole. They agreed the land was just as I had described to them. But then they made what I call an evil report. And if you want a good long life you shall keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.
The ten men reported that “We went in to the land where you sent us; and it certainly does flow with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. Nevertheless, the people who live in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large; and moreover, we saw the descendants of Anak there. Amalek is living in the land of the Negev and the Hittites and the Jebusites and the Amorites are living in the hill country, and the Canaanites are living by the sea and by the side of the Jordan.” Then Caleb quieted the people and said, “We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it.” But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us.” So they gave out to the sons of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size. There also we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” Numbers 13:25-33. They discouraged the people and put fear in them. Caleb tried to speak My Words but the people believed the negative report, EVEN THOUGH IT WAS ENTIRELY CONTRARY TO MY WORDS. I had told them I would send an angel ahead of them and drive out the giants as they went, that I would fight the battles, they had only to go forward. Just as I told them at the Red Sea. Exodus 14:13-16 (“But Moses said to the people, “Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the LORD which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. The LORD will fight for you while you keep silent.” Then the LORD said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward. As for you, lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, and the sons of Israel shall go through the midst of the sea on dry land.”). They had to trust I would keep the walls of water up until they passed through. You just have to go forward for Me to work in your life.
The people chose to believe the report of the ten men that was negative and went into a panic. The congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. All the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron; and the whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! Why is the LORD bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become plunder; would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?” So they said to one another, “Let us appoint a leader and return to Egypt.” Numbers 14:4. Again Joshua and Caleb tried to remind them of My promises and tell them they thus were well able to take the land. But instead of repenting and changing their viewpoint, all the congregation decided to stone Joshua and Caleb with stones. Numbers 14:5-10. The people just kept saying they would prefer to die the wilderness than enter the promised land.
This grieved Me and kept My people, whom I brought out of Egypt with such mighty wonders, out of their destiny. In refusing to believe My Words they drew back and I was deprived of the pleasure of giving them the promised land. “For yet in a very little while, He who is coming will come, and will not delay. But My righteous one shall live by faith; and if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” Hebrews 10:37-38. “Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.” Hebrews 10:35-36. Your words matter more than you think or you would not say many of the things you do when circumstances, such as doctors’ reports or financial challenges, look contrary to My promises.
And what was the result? I forgave them at Moses’ prayer for them. Words again, your prayers can save sinners. But their words prevailed against Mine.
“How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who are grumbling against Me? I have heard the complaints of the sons of Israel, which they are making against Me. Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the LORD, ‘just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will surely do to you.” Numbers 14:27-28. And how did it end up? “Surely you shall not come into the land in which I swore to settle you, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun. Your children, however, whom you said would become a prey—I will bring them in, and they will know the land which you have rejected. But as for you, your corpses will fall in this wilderness.” Numbers 14:30-32.
Death and life are in the power of your tongue. Your words matter.
And when Joshua and Caleb entered the Promised Land, they were old in years but I kept them young in body. The time went faster for the complaining Israelites so they died in forty years, but with Joshua and Caleb, I renewed their youth. And they still talked faith. Caleb said to Joshua “You know the word which the LORD spoke to Moses the man of God concerning you and me in Kadesh-barnea. I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh-barnea to spy out the land, and I brought word back to him as it was in my heart. Nevertheless my brethren who went up with me made the heart of the people melt with fear; but I followed the LORD my God fully. So Moses swore on that day, saying, ‘Surely the land on which your foot has trodden will be an inheritance to you and to your children forever, because you have followed the LORD my God fully.’ Now behold, the LORD has let me live, just as He spoke, these forty-five years, from the time that the LORD spoke this word to Moses, when Israel walked in the wilderness; and now behold, I am eighty-five years old today. I am still as strong today as I was in the day Moses sent me; as my strength was then, so my strength is now, for war and for going out and coming in. Now then, give me this hill country about which the LORD spoke on that day, for you heard on that day that Anakim were there, with great fortified cities; perhaps the LORD will be with me, and I will drive them out as the LORD has spoken.” Joshua 14:6-11. And Joshua blessed Caleb and Caleb took that hill country and conquered all the giants. And that land became the portion of the tribe of Judah, for Caleb was of the tribe Judah.
And I could tell you about Deborah, Gideon, Ruth, Hannah, Samuel, David, Jehoshaphat, Isaiah, Hezekiah, Elijah, Elisha, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, Esther, Elizabeth, Mary, Peter, Paul, John, and so many others that dared to speak out My Word no matter the odds against them and had miraculous results, doing amazing exploits of excellence. And those who rebelled and resisted them are no more remembered except for their unbelief so that they lost even the little they were trying to hang on to by denying My Words. Like Herod.
You can tell what a person is speaking to him or herself. How? By their joy and confidence. Joshua and Caleb were not crying and moaning. They were declaring victory with Me. And I gave it to them.
Joshua, after taking the promised land, told the people that not one of My good promises had failed, they had all been fulfilled. And that was the truth for his life, but the others who died in the wilderness may have contradicted that, but that was the reason that it did not happen for them. “Behold, you scoffers, and marvel, and perish; for I am accomplishing a work in your days, a work which you will never believe, though someone should describe it to you.” Acts 13:41.
Be like Paul. Nothing and no one could take him down. Remember at midnight in the prison at Philippi? He was chained with his feet in stocks and had been beaten with rods but he was singing hymns of praise with his fellow worker for the gospel, Silas. It helps to have faith buddies. Like Joshua and Caleb. Encourage one another while it is still day. When the night comes on, no one can work.
I love you. And so we begin our new series, “Watch your Words” with Life Lesson No. 1: “Words Matter.” They do. They can make or break your life. And they affect those who hear them too. Death and life are in the power of your tongue. I speak life. Just agree and you will see wonders.