Scripture to meditate on:
Then Bildad the Shuhite replied:
“When will you end these speeches?
Be sensible, and then we can talk.
Why are we regarded as cattle
and considered stupid in your sight?
You who tear yourself to pieces in your anger,
is the earth to be abandoned for your sake?
Or must the rocks be moved from their place?
“The lamp of a wicked man is snuffed out;
the flame of his fire stops burning.
The light in his tent becomes dark;
the lamp beside him goes out.
The vigor of his step is weakened;
his own schemes throw him down.
His feet thrust him into a net;
he wanders into its mesh.
A trap seizes him by the heel;
a snare holds him fast.
A noose is hidden for him on the ground;
a trap lies in his path.
Terrors startle him on every side
and dog his every step.
Calamity is hungry for him;
disaster is ready for him when he falls.
It eats away parts of his skin;
death’s firstborn devours his limbs.
He is torn from the security of his tent
and marched off to the king of terrors.
Fire resides in his tent;
burning sulfur is scattered over his dwelling.
His roots dry up below
and his branches wither above.
The memory of him perishes from the earth;
he has no name in the land.
He is driven from light into the realm of darkness
and is banished from the world.
He has no offspring or descendants among his people,
no survivor where once he lived.
People of the west are appalled at his fate;
those of the east are seized with horror.
Surely such is the dwelling of an evil man;
such is the place of one who does not know God.” – Job 18
Once again it is Bildad’s turn to address Job and clearly he as lost patience with his friend’s arguments. Bildad begins this speech by telling his friend to “just stop talking” already! Without judging the correctness of that response, let’s use Bildad’s counsel to Job as an opportunity to weigh our own use of words.
The book of Proverbs is full of admonitions for us to consider carefully before speaking.
The heart of the righteous weighs its answers,
but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil (15:28).
To answer before listening—
that is folly and shame (18:13).
Do you see someone who speaks in haste?
There is more hope for a fool than for them (29:20).
These proverbs offer strong counsel against speaking thoughtlessly. If the Bible is so explicit (and repetitive) in this caution, the words we speak must be important to God. Our words can be incredibly destructive, or they can be nurturing and encouraging. The words we choose to utter reflect on the condition of our hearts.
“How long before you set and end to words?” – Job 18:2
Questions to ponder:
- Why do you think scripture is so consistent in warning about our use of words?
- What have your words the last 24 hours revealed about the condition of your heart?