Saturday, August 11, 2012

Lord of the Lips

“Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us? (Psl. 12:4)

            At least these people were honest. They didn’t claim to be godly (v. 1), while they were using their lips at their own will and for their own purposes. I once heard a godly preacher say, “Discipline is best seen at the dinner table.” But I would suggest that discipline is just as keenly seen at the conversation table. The Bible has far more to say about our speech than our appetite. In just Psalms and Proverbs, you’ll find flattering lips, proud lips, lying lips, righteous lips, knowledgeable lips, sweet lips, burning lips, perverse lips, and joyful lips. And I’ve probably left out a couple.

            I’ve always been struck by the fact that when Isaiah saw the Lord, “sitting on a throne, high and lifted up,” his first reaction was to say, “Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips…” (Isa. 6:5). Not unclean thoughts or even unclean hands, as the Psalmist often says. And evidently he hit the nail on the head, because when one of the seraphims flew down with a hot coal from the altar to purge away his sin and iniquity, he laid it on Isaiah’s lips (v. 7).

            When our pastor baptizes someone, after asking the individual whether he or she is trusting Jesus Christ to be his or her Savior, he asks, “And are you willing to make Him the Lord of your life?” Perhaps if that person is anything like me, he should add, “…and Lord of your lips?” Because, as it turns out, I’m the one who needs to pray with the Psalmist, David:

“Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.” (Psl. 141:3)

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