"...he spake unadvisedly with his lips." Psalm 106:33
When the people of Israel grumbled about the lack
of water at Kadesh, God told Moses that water would flow if he would
speak to the rock. But Moses was fed up with the people by now, so he
lashed out at them, saying, "Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you
water out of the rock?" Then he smote the rock twice with his rod. By
his angry words and disobedient action, he misrepresented God to the
people. The result was that he forfeited the privilege of leading the
children of Israel into the promised land (Num. 20:1-13).
It is easy for a man of burning zeal to be
intemperate with other believers. He is so self-disciplined whereas
they need to be forever babied along. He is so knowledgeable and they
But what he must learn is that they are still
God's beloved people, and that the Lord will not tolerate any verbal
abuse of them. It is one thing to preach the Word of God in such power
that people are convicted and torn up. But it is quite another thing to
scold them severely as an expression of personal irritation. This will
cut a man off from God's best rewards.
When David's illustrious men are listed in 2 Samuel 23,
there is one name that is conspicuous by its absence. It is the name of
Joab, David's commander-in-chief. But why is his name missing? It has
been suggested that the reason is that Joab used the sword on some of
David's friends. If so, the incident is full of warning for us when we
are tempted to use our tongues as a sword on God's people.
When James and John, the sons of thunder, wanted
to call down fire from heaven on the Samaritans, Jesus said, "Ye know
not what manner of spirit ye are of" (Luke 9:55).
How apropos the rebuke is to us when we speak unadvisedly with our lips
to those who are His not only by creation (as the Samaritans were), but
by redemption as well.