The Weapon of Words 

God’s Wrong Grammar 

Occasionally, one comes upon a Bible verse with an awkwardness as if the writer must have made a mistake.  One such verse to me was Genesis 11:6.  As a young Christian in school, I felt grammatically uncomfortable each time I read that verse: “And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language.…”  How could “the people,” a plural subject, take a singular verb “is” instead of “are”?  Could God speak such wrong English, I wondered?  Or maybe the transcribers of the Bible didn’t know enough English, I concluded.  I was, however, careful not to think that too loud for fear of committing an unpardonable sin.  I was to accept much later that the expression was an emphasis on how strongly those rebels of Babel had become united, losing their distinct pluralities into a strong and seamless oneness.  I ceased to bother my young school brain with that Middle English of King James.

Can Words Stand? 

Lately, I have been struck with another awkward verse, but have wondered less if the writers or translators had been very attentive when they wrote: “Woe unto the inhabitants of the sea coast …  the word of the LORD is against you” (Zephaniah 2:5).  Do my eyes need the ophthalmologist’s attention for often seeing the unusual side to things?

The verse does not say “the Lord” but “the word of the LORD” – against the target.  In this scenario, then, the target will be contending not necessarily with the Lord but His word.  It is traditional to hear that the Lord is against someone, or that the hand or face or anger of the Lord is against a person or a people (Deuteronomy 9:19; Ezekiel 13:8; 1 Samuel 12:15; Jeremiah 44:11; Joshua 23:16).  In Zephaniah 2:5, however, the instrument is freshly strange.  Can abstract words perform concrete tasks?

Like a trapped tourist fleeing a loose cat only to fall into a pond of yawning crocodiles, my search for a resolution of Zephaniah’s awkward prophetic proclamation threw me on Jeremiah’s more resolute confoundment: “my WORDS shall SURELY stand against you for evil” (Jeremiah 44:29).   Can abstract words “surely stand”?  Can intangible words bite living beings?

The Weapons of God 

The weapons of God are not only swords of fire and thunders with hails.  His word is no less a weapon.  Whatever God has said is a weapon against whatever He has not said or did not say or cannot say.  A person can be opposed by words no less than by an angry face or a strong hand or person.  Words can reach as far as the speaker can never go.  This potency of speech, as the Maker Himself reveals (Proverbs 18:21), is applicable not only to the words of God but also to the words of mortals.

Blindly Battling Words 

Some conflicts are not against a person but their words; not against devils but words.  People have been resisted in life by curses, or assisted by blessings – all of them words.   If, according to the seeing prophet Zephaniah, words can fight or oppose a people; if, according to the supporting prophet Jeremiah, words can “surely stand,” then some of the spiritual conflicts that confront us as nations and other communities or families and individuals actually come from enemies of an uncommon kind: words.  If you don’t know your enemy, you shall waste your weapons and your time, maybe even your life.  What a waste of time to be fighting ‘witches’ when one should be addressing their words?  What a distraction to be fertilizing farms that await the rain of virile words?  Sometimes, what is ‘doing you’ is not whom you think is ‘doing you.’  It is the tragedy of blind battles to turn one’s strong weapons against the wrong target!

Beyond David’s Sling and Stone 

Just as we contend with words when we pray or bless or curse, sometimes also, what we face could be words, or troubles from words.  May we know enough to speak back when those times come.  Like David, may we be able to answer back to Goliath’s curses and say boldly and loudly for earth to hear, “I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts…” (1 Samuel 17:45).  It is traditional to say that David killed Goliath with a sling and a stone.  Every proper Sunday school child knows that.  But what we miss is that David did not fire his stone before he had fired his words, which was how Goliath himself had started out.  Words.

Search The Book 

What has God said about you or about your land?  Those are weapons to fight with.  The prophet Hosea well advises, “Take with you words, and turn to the LORD: and SAY unto him…” (Hosea 14:2).  How can anyone take abstract words in their concrete hands to come before a Spirit?  Well, ask the prophet.

We can approach unto God not only with sacrifices in our hands but also with words on our lips and in our hearts (Hebrews 13:15; Psalm 116:17).  Words can be tangible resources that may be ‘taken’ along with us.   Jesus is reported prophetically to have done similarly: “Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me” (Psalm 40:7; Hebrews 10:7).

If you can find the ‘volume’ where it is written about you; if you remember the blessing that your father pronounced over you; if you can recall the word of blessing attached to the sacrifice you offered; if you can find the curse that should follow those that trouble you; if there ever was a rhema that jumped out to you from the holy Scriptures, as if calling your name, you may appear in the courts of the Father with those words, according to that which is written (or was spoken) of you – in the volume of “THE book.”  Amen.  There are many books, but only one is called The Book, where every human has a ‘volume’ to their name.

If Words Were Mere abstractions…? 

If words were just words but nothing more, what might the following scriptures mean?

Then said they, Come, and let us devise devices against Jeremiah … and let us smite him with the tongue … (Jeremiah 18:18).

How long will ye vex my soul, and break me in pieces [as with an axe] WITH WORDS? (Job 19:2).

And it came to pass, when she [Delilah]pressed him [Samson] daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death … (Judges 16:16).

They COMPASSED me about ALSO with words of hatred; and FOUGHT against me without a cause (Psalm 109:3).

…He PURSUETH them with words, yet they are wanting to him (Proverbs 19:7).

Words for Words… 

May you today pursue with words, compass with words, fight with words, vex the enemy to death with words, break in pieces with words, press down with words, smite with words. Read THE Book.  Find the rhema ‘volume’ where it is written of you and come ‘with words’ before the Father as well as go against the enemy, according to what has been written or spoken of YOU.  Amen.  Sword for sword, blow for blow, words for words.  “No WEAPON that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every TONGUE that shall RISE AGAINST THEE in judgment thou shalt condemn” (Isaiah 54:17).  Some of the battles we face are not against devils but words; words determined not to ‘return’ until they have accomplished a purpose (Isaiah 55:11).  Talk back.  Send them back.  May evil words return; may blessings abide (Matthew 10:13), upon our land and our lives.  Amen.

From The Preacher’s diary, 

July 30, 2121. 

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