Proverbs 18:21 says, “The tongue has the power of life and death…” Over and over the Scriptures remind us to guard our lips and choose our words carefully, because words are powerful. They change hearts and minds. They change history. We find one example in I Samuel 25.
David was enraged when a foolish man snubbed him – publicly insulted him. The man who would be king gathered his army and prepared to launch a full-scale attack on the ignorant peasant farmer.
But the farmer had a wife, Abigail, whom the Scripture describes as “an intelligent and beautiful woman.” (3) She bravely rode out to meet David, in the hopes of averting disaster. She brought him gifts – and wise council.
Abigail started by acknowledging the call of God on David’s life and his right to be angry over her husband’s foolishness. Then she reminded David that the Lord would fight his battles and deal with his enemies. She gently reminded him of the consequence of the sin he was planning to commit.
Abigail urged David to ignore her husband and instead focus on his destiny as Israel’s next king. She said, then, “When the Lord has appointed him leader over Israel, my master will not have on his conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed or of having avenged himself.” (1 Samuel 25:31)
David listened to the words of this wise woman and did what was right. And God avenged him. Think what might have happened if Abigail had not had the courage to speak up! Or worse, if she had heaped fuel on the fire –even encouraged him to destroy her foolish husband. The tongue has the power of life and death…
As Abigail’s story shows us, it’s imperative that we use it wisely.