Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said to me, Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.
Words are often used in two ways — one specific, definite; the other general, figurative. Thus, when we use the word "heart," we mean specifically that organ which pumps the blood throughout our being; on the other hand, we use it broadly as the seat of the affections and centre of highest being. So it is with the term "word," Primarily, it stands for a written or spoken term composed of letters; then we enlarge its content and use it in the sense of a message, "What word did our friend send?" Then as the Psalmist used it, where the heavens have a word for us, a message. Then we go on until we come to find that any expression of God is called a Word of God. This is the use of "word" in the Bible. The Word of God is always an expression of God's being.
I. There is a Word of God for us IN NATURE. The very heavens have a Word of God for us. They tell us that an attribute of His is glory, majesty, far-reaching grandeur. Days and nights all speak of His glory and infinite resource. How many words of God come to us through Nature! How the writers of the Psalms saw it! How Jesus saw in Nature the Word of God's care and watchfulness!
1. Thus honesty is a Word of God, written on all the face of Nature as an attribute. Nature tells us God is honest, true to Himself, to the laws He has made, to man. The foundation Principle of the physical universe is honesty. The stars swing true to their courses. Suns rise and set and do not deceive us. If we did not know this universe was run honestly, we would not dare enter a new day.
2. As we are reading, in these days, more and more deeply into Nature, we are hearing another great Word of God, namely, that God is a God of purpose. This is a great message. Many people think He is not a God of purpose, but that the universe is being run with no end in view. Nature is full of prophecy, life everywhere throbs with expectancy of greater being; God begins with the simplest and works towards the greatest, He starts with a cell of living matter, and ends with the wonderful human frame, He starts with a spark of life and ends with a spirit in His own image. The best lies before us, the golden age is yet to be. God has great destinies in view for the human soul.
II. There has been a distinctive Word of God spoken THROUGH PROPHETS AND STATESMEN who have been wrapped up in the progress of nations. We might see this in the history of any nation, of old or of today, but I will take Israel, because we are more familiar with its history and its prophets. One Word of God that came through Israel was justice. God was a just God. He was not like the gods of the Babylonians, fickle, full of whims, acting by impulse, but He was a God who weighed and considered; who looked at motives as well as deeds; who meted out rewards and punishments by desert. Another Word of God that came to Israel was that He was a shield and reward, a defender of His people. "The Word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram, I am thy shield and thy exceeding great reward." Ah, how well Israel learned that word in all her devious history! And how deeply impressed upon her was the word that God was a jealous God — jealous for the welfare of His people, a present help, a refuge, and a strength. Another word that came through Israel was that God was a patient, long-suffering God. The prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah were continually giving this Word of God. And every other nation through its people and prophets has some great Word of God to give to the world. For God is not dumb, and His prophets today are not deaf.
III. It is THROUGH LIFE that God must speak His largest word, make the fullest revelation of His Being. It is life that speaks to life, heart that comforts heart. All the prophets of Israel saying that God is long-suffering will not move a man to see it so much as one soul here exhibiting the forbearance of God. Preachers may preach forever that God is love, and it will not have the force of one God-filled deed of love. So it is with all the attributes of God. They cannot be revealed in their great, Divine reality except as they are manifest in human life. So when the fulness of time had come God spoke to men through a human soul. Then was His true glory revealed, then His nature made manifest. It was when the word, the expression, the character of God became flesh and dwelt among us that we beheld His glory. Jesus is the living manifestation of the Word of God. Now I have seen Jesus I know God identifies Himself with men. For He has come into our humanity. I ask God what word He has for me in my sorrows and loneliness, and the answer comes to me in the life of Jesus that God is love. I see God living as love before me. I see His love going out to wretched men and women. I see Him serving as only love can serve. I see Him gathering to Himself outcasts and sinners, and recreating them in a new atmosphere of love. I see Him taking little children upon His knee and blessing them. I see Him suffering because He loved the world. What is the nature of God? In Jesus see how He is a Father. See how Jesus' whole life was a living word speaking the Fatherhood of God. How does God treat sinful beings? Look how Jesus treated sinful women who came to Him, and see how God treats sinners. How does God feel over the sins of the world? See Jesus weeping over Jerusalem. Will God suffer to save men? See Jesus giving His rest, and strength, and life, that men may see to what ends God will go to save His children. Let us remember that it was because Jesus was one with the Father that He could be the medium of the Word of God. But when He said, "I and the Father are one," He referred to a spiritual oneness. So wherever there is a soul today who is one with the Father, there you will find a living Word of God. There is a very striking scene in George Macdonald's "Robert Falconer" which shows how today a Word of God may come through life. Eric Ericson, a poor Scotch student, tramping on to Edinburgh, stops footsore and weary at the "Boar's Head," the inn kept by Letty Napier. After resting awhile, he starts to go on, although so footsore he can hardly walk. But Miss Letty makes him go up to a room and take off his shoes, and let her bathe his feet. He expostulates, for he has not a shilling in the world. But Miss Letty makes him stay three days and rest, while she ministers to him, and then starts him off to Edinburgh, a new man, and a couple of pieces in his pocket. Eric had been a sceptic, but as he walks with Robert he says, with the tears welling up in his eyes, "If I only knew that God was as good as that woman, I should die content." Robert answers, "But surely ye dinna think God's nae as guid as she is? Surely He's as guid as He can be. He is good, ye know." Eric answers, "Oh, yes, they say so. And then they tell you something about Him that isn't good, and go on calling Him good all the same. But calling anybody good doesn't make him good, you know." Yes, poor Eric was right — calling Him good does not make Him good. But when Eric felt love in this godly woman it set him to thinking about the goodness in God. It was a living word from God straight to his heart. So, every time you do a deed of love, you are speaking a word of God.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.
WEB: Then Yahweh put forth his hand, and touched my mouth; and Yahweh said to me, "Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.