In that day will I cause the horn of the house of Israel to bud forth…
I will give thee the opening, of the mouth. We may be led up to the proper subject of the text by reference to -
I. THE GIFT OF SPEECH. We wonder how animals succeed in communicating with one another; that they are supplied with some method of making known and passing on is unquestionable. But whatever their means may be, they fall very short of the great gift of speech which it is our priceless advantage to possess. So common and so familiar has it become, that we little heed its value or the goodness of God in bestowing it. But when we dwell in thought upon all the difference it has made to human life, and the extent to which it has enriched us, we may well bless God with fervent feeling that he has given to our race "the opening of the mouth" in speech and in song. How has it multiplied our power to instruct and enlighten, to warn and save, to comfort and to heal, to cheer and to gladden, to pray and to praise and to exhort, to prepare for all the duty and the burden of life, to make ready for the brighter scenes and ampler spheres of immortality! And as this is so,
(1) how carefully should we guard, how earnestly pray, how seriously admonish, against its abuse!
(2) how studious should we be to make the best and wisest use of this inestimable gift of God.
II. THE GRACE OF SILENCE. If there is a great value in "the opening of the mouth," so also is there much virtue in keeping it closed when "only silence suiteth best." To spare the stinging but severe retort that rises to the lips; to delay the accusation until more knowledge has been gained; to bear without rebuke the sound that tries our nerves, but is the delight of others; to refuse to pass on the unproved default; to refrain from the commonplaces of comfort in presence of some fresh, acute, overwhelming sorrow; to wait our time and. our turn until others have spoken who should, precede us, or until we have earned the right to speak; to "be dumb, to open not our mouth" under the chastening hand of God, and to retire into the sanctuary of the inner chamber that we may think and understand; - this is a true "grace," which they who seek the best in human character and life will not fail to desire and to pursue.
III. THE PRIVILEGE OF PROPHECY. No nobler order of men ever rose and wrought than the Hebrew prophets. They were "men that spoke for God" as their name indicates they should have been. And they" opened their mouth" fearlessly, faithfully, even heroically. They were to be found in the front when there was unpalatable truth to be spoken, uninviting duty to be done, serious danger to be dared. They did not shrink from speaking the straightforward truth to the people, the army, the sovereign. The Lord "before whom they stood," and in whose near presence they felt that they were safe, gave them the wisdom to speak and the courage to act. He "gave them the opening of the mouth;" and hence these strong, brave, searching, sometimes scathing, sometimes cheering words, which we still read in our homes and in our sanctuaries, which still help to form our character and to shape our life. Their true successors are found in those Christian ministers, and in those who do not call themselves by that name, who "speak for God," and who do speak for him because, like their prototypes, they
(1) are enriched by him with knowledge and insight - under-standing of his will and insight into the nature and character of their fellowmen;
(2) are endowed by him with the power of utterance - such utterance as constrains attention and secures reflection and emotion;
(3) are impressed, if not oppressed, with an inextinguishable impulse to speak what they have learned of God (Jeremiah 20:9; Psalm 39:3; Acts 4:20; 1 Corinthians 9:16). - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: In that day will I cause the horn of the house of Israel to bud forth, and I will give thee the opening of the mouth in the midst of them; and they shall know that I am the LORD.