August 18th

Clean Tongue 

1 On another day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD , and Satan also came with them to present himself before him. 2 And the LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?"
Satan answered the LORD , "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it."
3 Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason."
4 "Skin for skin!" Satan replied. "A man will give all he has for his own life. 5 But stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face."
6 The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life."
7 So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. 8 Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes.
9 His wife said to him, "Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!"
10 He replied, "You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?"
In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.
Job 2:1-10 NIV 

The story of Job can certainly challenge our understanding of spiritual warfare and God in general.  Job could perhaps be the poster child of the ďwhy do bad things happen to good peopleĒ club.  By Godís own words, Job was ďblameless and upright,Ē one who feared God and shunned evil.  Even so, some very bad things happened to him. 

This was the second time that Satan challenged Godís claims about Job.  Following the first challenge in Job 1, God allowed Satan to strike Job with calamities that killed his children and servants, and destroyed his business assets. Job responded by worshiping God and did not charge God with wrongdoing (Job 1:22).  In the second challenge, we see that God allowed Satan to strike Job with painful sores.  Satan thought for sure that Job would curse God in response, but he didnít.  Even at the urging of his wife (ďCurse God and die!Ē), Job refused to sin against the Lord with his words.   

I was struck by Jobís restraint of his tongue throughout the trials that he went through.  Even during the ensuing conversations with his accusing Ďfriends,í Job does not sin with his words.  If anyone had reason to complain and blame God for evil, Job certainly did.  Yet, even as he sat in utter misery with painful sores from head to toe, he kept his tongue from evil. 

We can use Job as a role model for taming our tongues.  James commented on how difficult it was to tame the tongue (James 3), but with the Holy Spiritís help we can do it!  As I read about Job, I thought of all the trivial things that Iím tempted to complain about.  Every now and then Iíll catch myself starting to complain about the things Iím not happy with.  Complaining never makes me feel any better, but always worse.  Iíve never had troubles as nearly as serious or painful as Job had. 

When Iím tempted to complain, criticize, or sin verbally in some other way, I find that it helps tremendously to remind myself of all the blessings God has given me and to start thanking him for them verbally.  I also find tremendous peace in taking all the things Iím unhappy about or anxious about and laying them down at Godís throne by prayer and supplication (Philippians 4:6-7).   

Striving to keep our tongue clean will bring spiritual blessings our way. Consider what Paul wrote: 

14Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.  Philippians 2:14-16 NKJV 

Questions for further thought:

Prayer:
Lord God in Heaven, thank you for this new day. Thank you for my life and all the blessings you have given me.  Please forgive me, Lord, for not thanking you enough and/or being ungrateful for all that you have done for me. Thank you for granting me the faith to believe in Jesus.  I confess that Iíve sinned with my mouth by ________________ (list any verbal sins, such as complaining, cursing, criticizing, murmuring, coarse jesting, mocking etc.).  Please forgive me for that sin and cleanse me by the blood of Jesus.   I take all the things that Iíve been unhappy with or anxious about and lay them at the foot of your throne right now. Specifically I lay these things down: ____________ (list).  Thank you, Father, for taking these things from my shoulders. I release them to you now and trust that you will help me in those areas.  I praise you, Lord!  Thank you for loving me and calling me your child.  May all the words that I speak today be honorable to you. In Jesusí name I pray, Amen.