Return to:

Be Careful What You Say

Scripture: Numbers 14:1-2; Text: Num. 14:28-29

There can be no doubt about their grief. They began crying during the day and continued to weep throughout the night. What had grieved their hearts so deeply? They had just received the discouraging news the spies brought from the promised land. Moses sent twelve spies into the land to see what it was like. One man from each of the twelve tribes formed this group. What they discovered was that the land really was a land "flowing with milk and honey." The clusters of grapes were so large that it took two men to carry them. The negative side of the news was that the land was inhabited by giants. Ten of the spies said they could not possibly take the land from them. Two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb, encouraged the people to trust God and believe the He would drive out the people as He said. Unfortunately, the people believed the larger number of spies and felt they had made a wasted trip. There should be a lesson for all God's people here, the majority is not always right. In that instance, they were dreadfully wrong. Those with whom God stands, are always in the majority.

In their disappointment and grief, they began to make some very foolish statements. First, they said they would rather have died in Egypt. That certainly was not their story when they were talking about freedom. Secondly, they said they wished they had died in the wilderness traveling to the promised land. Many of us can relate to their sense of overwhelming grief. They had waited so long and now all that time and effort seems to have been in vain. Life usually does seem in vain, if God is left out of the picture. In their desperation, they preferred anything but what God had planned. No doubt they were angry with Moses and Aaron, but they were also angry with God. The problem was this, they said things in their anger, that angered God. Their criticism of His ways caused God to deny them the blessing of the promised land. In essence God said, if you don't like it My way, then see if you will like yours any better. God was going to turn them back into the wilderness and let them die there just as they had suggested.

It can be a dangerous thing to speak in anger. Often we say things in anger that we do not really mean. The hidden intent is to hurt the person who made us angry. They were angry at God but they were afraid to confront Him openly. Though they spoke indirectly, God was aware that they hurled their accusations of displeasure against Him. So what they suggested, they would indeed get. Angry words brought God's displeasure and judgments upon them. They should have exercised care in what they spoke. So should we! Be careful what you say. What you say you want, might just be granted to you too. The Bible tells us to be slow to speak (James 1:19). If we think before we speak, we may save ourselves a great deal of heartache. We should not say things we really do not mean. They certainly can return to haunt us as is evident from our scripture passage. Let us reflect upon this message in three different ways.

First, be careful what you say in JUDGMENTS. We sometimes say things about others, that we have no right to say. It is difficult, if not impossible for us to judge a person based on an isolated action. They may say or do something we misunderstand, because we do know know how they think or feel. Would you want someone to judge you that way? Probably not. There is something we should all keep in mind. Jesus cautioned us about judging one another in Matthew 7:1-2. He said we are judged in the same way we judge others. Paul said that we actually condemn ourselves when we are judgmental of others. Romans 2:1. He then went on to say, that God's judgment is true (verse 2). If you do something that God condemns and someone repeats the verdict of God, as stated in the Bible; then you are not judging, God is. In our day, people break God's laws openly and often do not deny doing so. However, when they are condemned for their wrong doing, they say the accuser is judging. He is not judging, only repeating God's judgments.

Have you ever misjudged a person and when you got to know them, they were nothing at all like you thought? Most difficulties that arise in judging others , come because we are unable to look into their heart. We cannot see the motive or know the intent, so we must be careful what we say about others. If we happen to be wrong in our judgments of them, we may damage their good name. Some really good advice is found in the words of Paul, recorded in Romans 14:13. Our time is better spent in helping and encouraging people to do good, than by judging and condemning them.

Second, be careful what you say when you PRAY. Many people never think about what they pray, they just say memorized words. Sometimes we say things in prayer, that we really do not mean. For example, in the Lord's Prayer we are taught to ask for a variety of blessings and one is forgiveness. We pray, forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Matthew 6:12. In verses 13 & 14, they are called "trespasses"and the emphasis is on forgiving others as we want God to forgive us. Therefore, if we pray for God to forgive us as we forgive others, then we better forgive others. If we do not, we will not feel the forgiveness of God; because, we ask for His forgiveness only as we are willing to forgive.

Prayer is one of the greatest blessings of the Christian's life. Think of it, though we are imperfect sinners, we have been afforded the grand privilege of going to a perfect and holy God. It is a privilege that should not be taken lightly, yet many do. It is very serious because we are praying to God , Who has power to do more than our minds can imagine. Ephesians 3: 20. He may not always be pleased to do so, but He is capable of granting any thing we ask. Because we are human and fallible, we may at times ask for things we really do not need. Even worse is the fact that we sometimes ask for things that can be harmful to us. What if God were to answer such a prayer? If everything we sought in prayer was given by God, prayer would be dangerous. Think of it like this, what if a two year old wanted the pretty coral snake to play with as a toy. Would you give it to him or withhold it because you knew something he did not? Most parents would not grant such a request even if the child persisted with tears. God does the same thing with His children. He often withholds things we seek. We may not now understand, but many times it is because what we seek would not be in our best interest. He does not promise to give us everything, only that which is good for us. Matthew 7:11.

So be careful how you pray. Think about what you really need and ask for blessings that will help you. Trust Him to know what is best for you. Don't become angry and bitter when you do not get everything you ask in prayer. Remember that we have a safety net when we pray. It is to follow the example of Jesus and ask for God's will to be done. Matthew 26:39 & 42. (Also Matthew 6:10). Search God's holy Word to discover His will for your life, then pray accordingly. If you ask for other blessings, be sure to ask Him to do His will, it will always be in your best interest. Be careful what you say and what you ask at the throne of God's grace.

Third, we need to be careful what we say in our VOWS. A vow is a promise, a solemn promise. Vows fall into three categories: (1.) promises to ourselves, (2.) promises to others and (3.) promises to God. Probably the promises we take least serious are those we make to ourselves. In this category are "New Year's resolutions." Many people made resolutions around the first of the year, and most of them have already been broken. Some will say, "I am going to lose some weight." Others will say, "I am going to read the Bible more or attend church more frequently." You might even have promised to mend broken relationships and make things right with family or friends. Have you done so? The year is quickly moving on. Probably most of the vows we make to ourselves are never kept. It is so easy to let yourself off the hook, isn't it? You have good intentions, but doing them is another matter. Think about a woman we know as Dorcas, she was full of good intentions but she carried them to fruition. Acts. 9:36. Don't give up so easily, you too can do better things. Try to do better and if you fail, try a litter harder. Refuse to give up your visions and dreams of being a better person. Keep the promises you make to yourself.

Sometimes we also make promises to other people. Even with the best of intentions, we may fail to keep our promises simply because we are unable to do so. For that reason we should exercise great care in making promises. When we fail to keep them for any reason, we disappoint others. Not only will we disappoint the ones to whom we make the promises, but we may also feel a sense of failure. Such feelings can cause us to feel inadequate and keep us from achieving greater things. Another problem that arises when we do not live up to a promise, is that others lose confidence in us. They often feel they cannot rely on our word and so put little credibility in anything we say. It is a terrible thing for people to be unable to trust us. Our word is to be our bond and we lose that when we fail to keep our promises. Just when you need it most, you may not get the help you need, because no one will put stock in what you say. Yes, it does take a great deal of hard work, but you can do it with God's help. Philippians 4:13. So even in the little and trivial things, make your best effort to do what you say, and build an image of trustworthiness and integrity.

The last of the vows that we shall consider, are those made to God. Many do not keep such vows because nobody else will know. After all, when we make a promise to God, it is usually a private matter of the heart. In a prayer, we beg God for a blessing and promise that we will do certain things if our prayer is answered. Have you ever made such a promise? A person may be ill and tell God they will join the church, if He will return their health. A family having financial problems may promise to tithe, if God will bless them to get our of their present bind. Some have kept such promises and some have not; they forget or ignored their promises. God knows every promise that has been made and broken. He also knows those who have been true to their word. Like Jacob in the Bible, they do exactly what they have promised. Genesis 28:20-22. He promised that if God would bless him, he would be true to God. If you have made a promise to God, you should keep it even if you made it a long time ago. God keeps all His promises (1 Kings 8:56) and He requires us to do so too. All vows or promises fall under this scripture, Ecclesiastes 5:5.

Our scripture lesson informed us that the people would rather have died in the wilderness, than in the promised land. God took them at their word, led them back into the widerness for forty years. All who were adults, with the exception of Joshua and Caleb, died in the wilderness. Those from twenty years old and up, never enjoyed the fruits of the land flowing with milk and honey. Surely there were many days, when they wished their words had never been spoken. There is no way to know how many conversations took place in which they expressed regrets for saying what they did.

Perhaps many of us have made such careless statements. During a time of sickness and pain, someone may say, "I wish I could die." In a moment of anger, you might say, "I hate you." Please be careful what you say. Take your words seriously, God certainly does, as evident from Numbers. Caution is beneficial in many ways other than crossing a street. Your words can change the course of your life according to James 3:4. So pray for the Holy Spirit to guide your words, and be very careful what you say.

Return to:

Copyright © 2014 Light From God's Word. All Rights Reserved.
This page last updated on June 7, 2014