The LORD was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of his words fall to the ground. 1 Samuel 3:19 (NIV)
I came across this verse the other day and it caught my attention. I looked at several Bible commentaries to see what that phrase meant. They either said nothing about this verse or said it meant that what Samuel said was reliable. John Wesley, one of the founders of the Methodist church, added this thought in his work, ‘Notes on the Whole Bible’: “That is, God made good all his predictions. A metaphor from precious liquors, which when they are spilt upon the ground, are altogether useless.”
I think this is an interesting comparison. Words, used in the right way and in moderation can be healing, calming and pleasing. However, when used abusively or in excess, words can make you ill (or ill-tempered), get people stirred up and can destroy peace. Words can tear people down, destroy relationships and create chaos. When used to excess, the speaker can become intoxicated by his own words and lose control, discretion, compassion and judgment. Words matter and when abused can do more harm than sticks and stones – despite what you may have heard.
Perhaps it’s more common for words to simply be wasted. People talk and talk and say nothing. They use many words but none of them accomplishes any good; no one is educated, encouraged or enhanced. The words just fall on the ground and are altogether useless. The book of Proverbs also warns us that our words can get us into trouble:
“Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.”
Proverbs 10:19 (NLT)
I think we’d do well to follow Samuel’s example and consider whether our words are useful and reliable. Is what we are saying helpful or are we just intoxicated by our own speech? Are our words meaningful or are they just falling to the ground? (We may, at times, have to eat our words and nobody wants to eat something that fell on the ground!)
I could say more but, at the risk of violating my own premise, I’ll stop and let you think about your words.