Once upon a time, a donkey found a lion’s skin. He tried it on, strutted around, and frightened many animals. Soon a fox came along, and the donkey tried to scare him, too. But the fox, hearing the donkey’s voice, said, “If you want to terrify me, you’ll have to disguise your bray.” Aesop’s moral: Clothes may disguise a fool, but his words will give him away.

Our words do give us away. They define us. They define our values, our passion, our beliefs and our heart. When given away our words also are charged with power according to our position of authority whether parent, president or prophet.

(1) Words of a parent: their children quickly learn what degree of “word power” is behind their parent’s words. If a parent’s corrective words are loud and bold, but with little to no enforcement, they carry little or no power. “Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.” (Rumi). Understandably, “raising your words” would be those suitable for the occasion, but their power is defined by the appropriate discipline necessary for obedience. Someone has wisely said: “Discipline is what is done for a child, not what is done to him.”

(2) Words of the President: he has great power because of his high position. However, such power would quickly diminish if his words were not backed with action. Lately, our President has spoken very boldly to such nations as Syria, North Korea, and Afghanistan. On two occasions his bold words led to the dropping of bombs. Yes, these are very concerning, perilous times driven by very powerful words of one having the highest position of authority in our nation.

However, our peace and confidence must be in a greater power and position than parent or President. There is a higher position of ruler and rule. It is the position of the Lord Almighty who rules and directs by His word. It is God who sits on His throne of righteousness and justice and sends forth lovingkindness and truth (Ps. 89:14). No one can read the Bible without understanding there is a constant theme throughout: God’s word reigns. The events of its recorded history draw the believer to marvel at such “Word Perfect Power”. By His word the heavens were made, the earth was flooded, the Red Sea parted, and the walls of Jericho came tumbling down. The Bible is flooded with the evidence declaring that God’s word reigns over all His creation. The Word became flesh, was crucified, was raised from the dead, and now sits on the throne “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come” (Eph. 1:21). He is the Christ who made all things and by His word, rules by His word and on that day of judgment will judge all things by His word (Jn. 12:48).

(3) Words of a prophet: how important are the words and power of the prophet. Perhaps we could even say, for our day and time, the preacher. God has chosen for His word to be proclaimed by the preacher (Rom. 10:14). However, there are different kinds of preachers. There are those whom Jesus describes as “wolves in sheep’s clothing” (Matt. 7:15). These are preachers who preach lies as though they were the truth. A good example of such is found in 1 Kings 13. It is the sad story of a young prophet who lost his life because he disobeyed the word of the Lord. He didn’t “double check” with the Lord to see if the old prophet’s words were true. The old prophet even said his words were those of an angel (:18). So believable! And by all appearances “Right on!”. Wrong! His words were a lie, and when believed, it cost the young prophet his life.

On the other hand, there are those who preach the truth. They are those who make sure they speak the “utterances of God.” (1 Pet. 4:11)

Yes, words are powerful. They can create or destroy, build or burn down, save or condemn. However, only God’s word is true. His word will judge. His word will endure forever.

Matt. 12:36,37 “And I say to you, that every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned.”

Though the donkey looked like a lion, he could not change his bray. Not so for the man who speaks the “utterances of God”. Though still a man, his words are those of The LION. His words will endure forever.

Stacy Sikes

Hibbing Church of Christ

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