The Word is in your Mouth

I have put my words in your mouth (Isa 51:16)

Behold, I have put my words in your mouth. (Jer 1:9)

I was struck again by how God gives us his word. It is not a word that he puts in our minds. It's not a word that he puts in our notebooks. Those are not the places that the word of God is meant to abide. He puts his words... into our mouths.

God's word is meant to be spoken. It is designed to be verbalised. Faith comes not just be reading, but by hearing. There is a power in the spoken word of God. I'm sure God could have created the universe at a thought, if he had chosen to, but he did not. He spoke and it came to be. It is the spoken word of God that is our daily bread [Dt 8:3].

If a word is never spoken it remains merely a thought. It is a transient and nebulous thing that can disappear without trace when our mind wanders onto something else. But the spoken word is different: it is concrete and deliberate, it cannot be retracted. In the Old Testament, once a word was spoken that was the end of the matter, regardless of the consequences [Jos 9, Jdg 11, Ps 15:4].

If God puts his words into our mouths, and if it is designed to be spoken, then there is a pretty obvious application: we need to speak it.

Paul instructed Timothy to devote himself to the public reading of scriptures [1Ti 4:13]. Reading the scriptures aloud is one obvious way to verbalise the word of God. It blesses us twice over, in the speaking and in the hearing. It is something I'm giving myself to more, not just in public, but also the private reading of scripture. So I am speaking and hearing the word of God.

Speaking in tongues is another great example. As it is literally the Spirit putting his words directly into our mouths. It's a key gift that builds us up and unlocks so much to us. It also sets us a great example, because you can't move in this gift without speaking; for the words of God to flow, they have to be spoken. God puts his words in our mouths but nothing happens unless we speak.

But the word is not just put into our mouths so we can speak to ourselves it is given so we can speak it to others. Both those who already belong to Christ, and those who don't yet know him. God gives us his word, as he gives us his Spirit, so that we can be his witnesses. Our witness comes by what we say, not just with our words, but with our deeds too. That's why Jesus commanded that we teach people, not just so that they might understand, but so that the might obey [Mt 28:19-20]. As the saying goes: actions speak louder than words.

But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it. (Dt 30:14)

I like this verse. The word is not just in our mouths so we can speak it, but so that we can do it. God's word always demands a response. He's put his word in our mouths... the rest is up to us.

The word that God puts in my mouth, that must I speak. (Nu 22:38)