The most powerful word
For reading & meditation – Proverbs 25:11-28
"As a north wind brings rain, so a sly tongue brings angry looks." (v.23)
It’s astonishing, the effect words can have upon you. This is why the writer of Proverbs refers so often to words and the way they ought to be used.
Here’s a teaser I want to drop in that highlights the way words can be used. Professor Ernest Brennick of Columbia University is credited with inventing this sentence which can be made to have eight different meanings by placing the word "only" in all possible positions in it: "I hit him in the eye yesterday." Don’t write to me for all the permutations; work them out for yourself. Someone has compiled a list of the most powerful words in the English language. "The bitterest word – alone. The most revered word – mother. The most feared word – death. The coldest word – no. The warmest word – friend." What, I wonder is the most powerful word you have ever come across? I will tell you mine – Jesus. Charles Colson, one of President Nixon’s right-hand men who, after the Watergate affair, was wonderfully converted to Christ, tells of visiting a man on death row. The man had been in a fetal position for months and would speak to no one. Charles told him the gospel and asked him to say the name Jesus. A week later he returned to find the man sitting in his chair, shaven, and the cell swept clean. When he asked what had happened, the man said, "Jesus lives here now." He went to the electric chair but his last words to the executioner were these: "I’m going to be with the Lord."
O Father, when I utter the name Jesus something profound goes on in my being. It is like an oratorio in two syllables, a library compressed into a single word. May I learn and appropriate in my life all the power that lies behind that name. Amen.
For Further Study
2 Peter 2:1-18; Malachi 3:13; 1 Thessalonians 2:5; 3 John 1:10
1. What sorts of words are referred to in the above verses?
2. What biblical phrase draws you most powerfully into the presence of God?