Watching His Words

Reflections on Jeremiah 1:11-12 —

In this remarkable conversation between God and Jeremiah, God uses a play on words, a variation of the Hebrew word for “branch of an almond tree”, to communicate a very important truth.  The Hebrew word for almond branch, shaqed, is derived from the word shoqed which means, “watching over”.  God gives Jeremiah a vision of an almond rod, and asks him what he sees.  When Jeremiah correctly replies that he sees an almond rod, God responds by saying He is shoqed — He is watching over — His word to perform it.  

God loves His words.  He watches them closely.  He never says anything He doesn’t intend to say.  His words are always carefully chosen, like fine silver and precious gems.  His words are powerful, and always accomplish His intent (Isaiah 55:10-11).  He loves words so much, He even calls His own beloved Son “The Word” (John 1:1).  And unlike our flippant words, God’s words are never idle–rather, they are full of life (Deuteronomy 32:47).

We are made in God’s image, and made to communicate.  Our words should be carefully chosen. We should mean what we say and be careful to do what we promise.  We are too flippant with our words, too careless.  We speak a lot, but we waste our words.  

Our words are golden opportunities to give encouragement to others.  Words spoken in kindness and sincerity are very powerful.  The reverse is true as well.  Our words can wound deeply.

So, our words are important.  They also matter a great deal to God. Look what Jesus said about our words:

But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”   — Matthew 12:36-37

God designed communication to be sincere, and words to be precise and intentional.  Let’s not mess around with them.  Give your words purpose, and punch.  Listen to the Spirit’s prompting in each moment, in each interaction, in each letter or article you write.  In the little conversations that can seem so meaningless to us, find the golden opportunity to use words wisely.  Value them as God does. 

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