I haven’t posted anything from my study on joy recently. It’s a lot to process, and even more to live out. But I wanted to go back to it (I have moved on to another study now) to refresh and remind myself what I learned.
One thing that I often struggle with is the misuse of my mouth. I get carried away before I notice…whether it is saying the wrong thing, using the wrong tone, or just talking too much. I have two daughters, and I have been noticing that sometimes they just talk incessantly, and often it is the same dribble over and over again. But then I realized…I do that too! Prov. 10:19 says that in the multitude of words there wanteth not sin. But Prov. 15:23 teaches us that giving the right answer brings us joy!
“A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!”
The answer that I give and the way that I speak can bring me joy. Sometimes it is just the timing that is vital. Recently I was able to encourage a friend as she went through a trail. I was able to say to her, at the right time, some of the things that God had taught me previously through the same trial. It was a great feeling to be able to speak what I know God wanted me to say, at the right moment. He had prepared me for that situation by allowing me to go through the trial already. He had worked His own words into my heart through the difficulty, and then they were able to come out and be a blessing and encouragement to someone else in the same difficulty. That was a joyous moment!
“Many a good word comes short of doing the good it might have done, for want of being well-timed.” --Mathew Henry
Last November I completed a study on 1 Samuel 25 – the story of Abigail. Several times in that chapter Abigail illustrated this principle of the joy that comes from the answer that we give. She was able to humbly address David (who was not yet the king) and speak words to him that helped him to see the error of his way, and stem the tide of his anger, which was bent on wiping out Abigail’s household. She was able to not speak to her husband and tell him what had happened, because her husband was drunk and she knew it was the wrong timing to bring up the situation. Later, when God had taken care of the situation (and her evil husband was dead), Abigail was able to rejoice in her part of giving the right answer.
I also thought of Joseph as a Biblical example. His brothers had sold him into slavery in Egypt, but God had promoted him to be the second in command in the entire country. His brothers came to Egypt seeking food in the famine. Joseph did not reveal himself to them on the first meeting. He did not lash out and blame them for his trials. He waited until the right moment to tell them that he was Joseph, and that God had used him to save many souls alive. He used his tongue in the right way, and in the right time, and his relationship with his brothers was restored.
Some other examples would include Esther – her timing in approaching the king and waiting to give her request illustrates the need for proper timing in our speech. Mary responded to the angel, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38). She accepted what he wanted her to do, she gave a submissive response, and she had the joy of being the mother of Jesus.
Let’s have joy by the answer we give today!