Daily Scripture Reading - Ezekiel 36

Verse of the Day - Matthew 15:17-18
Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.

Devotional Thoughts

In out text, as Jesus has been answering the accusations of the scribes and Pharisees and teaching the truth about their traditions, the disciples have been without understanding. And Peter, acting as their representative, has asked Jesus to explain what He has meant by what He has said. And so Jesus answered them, precisely and concisely.

The scribes and Pharisees taught and believed that to eat with unwashed hands caused defilement and was a violation of God’s Law. But to the contrary Jesus stated the following:

Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.

Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.

It is really quite simple. It is not what goes into your mouth that defiles you. It is what comes out of your mouth. It is not food, but words!

Not to be graphic, but Jesus states an obvious fact about our bodies. We eat. The food is digested. The waste is eliminated. Food serves it purpose, nourishes our bodies, and whatever is left is removed from the body just as God designed. So there is no defilement from food, even if it is eaten with unwashed hands. For whatever is not used by the body is discarded. There is nothing left to defile.

Isn’t that simple? Food enters the mouth, goes into the stomach, and then is eliminated.

However, just as what goes into the mouth does not defile, what comes out of the mouth does indeed defile! Why? Because Jesus says that what comes out of the mouth – the words we speak – proceed from the heart. This is a truth we all know, but we need to be reminded about the significance of this statement. What is in the heart comes out of the mouth and can truly defile.

The Bible has so much to say about the heart and the mouth. These two parts of the body, these things that are part of who and what we are, they get us into so much trouble! The mouth reveals so much about the heart. It becomes easy to diagnose indwelling sin by listening to the words that we utter.

There is so much to cover here that I really only need to let the Word of God speak for Him. Here is just a sample of what He says about the mouth (we will study the heart tomorrow).

Psalms and Proverbs on the Mouth

For there is no faithfulness in their mouth;Their inward part is destruction; Their throat is an open tomb; They flatter with their tongue.

His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and oppression; Under his tongue is trouble and iniquity.

They have closed up their fat hearts;With their mouths they speak proudly.

The words of his mouth are wickedness and deceit;He has ceased to be wise and to do good.

You give your mouth to evil,And your tongue frames deceit.

The words of his mouth were smoother than butter,But war was in his heart; His words were softer than oil, Yet they were drawn swords.

For the sin of their mouth and the words of their lips,Let them even be taken in their pride, And for the cursing and lying which they speak.

They set their mouth against the heavens,And their tongue walks through the earth.

Nevertheless they flattered Him with their mouth,And they lied to Him with their tongue;

For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitfulHave opened against me; They have spoken against me with a lying tongue.

Whose mouth speaks lying words,And whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.

Put away from you a deceitful mouth, And put perverse lips far from you.

For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey, And her mouth is smoother than oil;

You are snared by the words of your mouth; You are taken by the words of your mouth.

A worthless person, a wicked man, Walks with a perverse mouth;

The mouth of the righteous is a well of life, But violence covers the mouth of the wicked.

Wise people store up knowledge, But the mouth of the foolish is near destruction.

The hypocrite with his mouth destroys his neighbor.

By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted, But it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.

In the mouth of a fool is a rod of pride,

…the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness…the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil.

A fool’s lips enter into contention, And his mouth calls for blows.

A fool’s mouth is his destruction, And his lips are the snare of his soul.

A disreputable witness scorns justice, And the mouth of the wicked devours iniquity.

The mouth of an immoral woman is a deep pit; He who is abhorred by the LORD will fall there.

A lying tongue hates those who are crushed by it, And a flattering mouth works ruin.

Psalms and Proverbs on the Tongue

You love all devouring words,You deceitful tongue.

Who sharpen their tongue like a sword,And bend their bows to shoot their arrows—bitter words,

They sharpen their tongues like a serpent;The poison of asps is under their lips.

The Lord hates….A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood…

A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, But perverseness in it breaks the spirit.

He who has a deceitful heart finds no good, And he who has a perverse tongue falls into evil.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.

Our Most Troublesome Member – James 3:1-12

My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.

Conclusion

Now with all of that staring us in the face, don’t you feel just like Job?

“Behold, I am vile; What shall I answer You? I lay my hand over my mouth.”

The words we use can be so dangerous, so hurtful, so sinful, and so defiling. And they come from the heart. Want to know what is in your heart? Listen to what you say and how you say it! The words and tone we use say so much about us that it is a wonder that we even open our mouths at all sometime!

In searching the Scriptures and in being searched by the Holy Spirit what can we say? What do the words we use, sometimes even without thinking, say about the condition of our hearts? What do our words confirm about our heart? What rememdy is there for a wicked heart? Ah, now we are getting ahead of ourselves. The next two days we will take a look at this heart condition and its cure.

Links for Further Study
(links to study each daily topic in more detail if you have the desire and the time)

Self Examination by Charles Spurgeon
Taming the Tongue – Part 1 and Part 2 by John MacArthur

Recommended Songs for Worship

Gracious God, My Heart Renew
Chief of Sinners