In the world small things can have great power. In the 3rd Chapter of James, he gives examples of a bit in a horse’s mouth, and a rudder of a ship. And if I asked you what the deadliest animal in the world would be…would you guess a tiger, elephant, or maybe a rhino? The real answer is the tiny mosquito that carries Malaria and kills millions of people yearly. Our tongue is one of the smallest parts of our body…but the power it has is potentially devastating. For just like one spark can start a forest fire…one ugly slip of the tongue can destroy a life.
After winning the battle, the Gileadites captured the fords of the Jordan River where you could cross into Ephraim. It tells us in verses 5-6 that the Gileadites then conducted a linguistic test on any man trying to cross back over to Ephraim. They would simply ask them to say the word “shibboleth”. Because of the Ephraim dialect, even though the man would deny being an Ephraimite… he would mispronounce the word. 42,000 Ephraimites were killed there because their tongues betrayed them. The tongue may be one of the smallest body parts we have…but it can undoubtedly get us into the most trouble.
Holding my tongue. It might be a very small body part, but it sometimes requires herculean strengthen not to blurt out what I’m thinking!…especially if it’s catty or unkind. And I find if I’m not careful, my manner of speech will quickly start to resemble the non believer group I’m part of…especially if it’s a grip session…or worse yet – a gossip session! One of my favorite Proverbs says, “Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps his mouth shut.” I may be doing a wonderful job serving God…but if my speech says the opposite…it’s all meaningless.