Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Essence of True Eloquence

“Truthful lips will be established forever, but a lying tongue is only for a moment” (Proverbs 12:19 NASB). 

“And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them.  And the people gave a shout, saying, ‘It is the voice of a god, and not of a man.’  And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.  BUT THE WORD OF GOD GREW AND MULTIPLIED” (Acts 12:21-24 KJV).

Like any gift, eloquence is designed to bless not curse, but also like any gift—and perhaps more so than many gifts because it involves the tame-less tongue and words which have the power of life and death in them—eloquence is a two-edged sword (it cuts both ways and has the potential to both hurt and heal).  Here is Herod in a position of leadership and responsibility; his words carry weight for no more reason than the position he is in.  Perhaps his eloquence was not eloquence in the strictest sense of the word, but merely eloquence in import because of his position.  Regardless, God held him accountable to the breath of life that He alone supplies to man; always, it is obligatory upon every man to give due where due is deserved.  It is God alone who fills men’s mouths.  It is noteworthy here to realize that “The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the Lord” (Proverbs 16:1 KJV).  Also it is noteworthy that the word of God grew and multiplied regardless of Herod’s failure.  Ultimately, “neither... is he that plants anything, neither he that waters; but God that gives the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:7 AKJV).

Surely whatever gift God has already bestowed upon us must be utilized, and with that utilization, a responsibility to use it for His glory alone.  Eloquence—whether born of privilege or talent—is under the scrutiny of God Almighty.  When in position of power over others, words—whether innately eloquent or merely made eloquent by the force of law made by that position—are more powerful and thus more responsible for either blessing or cursing those they are directed at.  Just as the genuine word of God—being innately eloquent and indomitably powerful—cannot but grow and multiply no matter how many devils and sinners object to it, so contrariwise, man’s words—being insipid and powerless—cannot but die and subtract no matter how many devils and sinners embrace it.

We are all destined to die once, and after that, the judgment.  We are all destined to give up the ghost and then to be eaten of worms.  Herod did it backwards however; he was eaten of worms first, then gave up the ghost!  That was the cost of not giving God His due glory.  In Romans chapter one, those who ultimately came to homosexuality were those who first did not honor God (or thank Him)—those that did not give Him His proper due—those who worshipped the creature rather than the Creator.  Putting the creature above the Creator is the cardinal sin, the bedrock rebellion (the father of all rebellion).  The ashes to ashes and dust to dust curse which is upon Adam is not strictly eradicated; rather, a second Adam is introduced into the equation as a remedy.  Worms must ultimately eat us; but for some the worms never die.  For others, for those born again, for those who give God the glory, decay (and the worms which feed on decay) cannot hurt them (the second death cannot harm them).

The true eloquence which honors God needs no breath and no words; Jesus Christ said long ago that “It is finished!”—and indeed, it is!  He has done all things well!  As Solomon put it, “I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, for God has so worked that men should fear (honor and thank) Him” (Ecclesiastes 3:14 NASB).  And even more powerfully put, “That which is has been already and that which will be has already been, for God seeks what has passed by” (Ecclesiastes 3:15 NASB).  In other words, true eloquence is not found in man’s vocabulary; true eloquence is found in being awestruck by what God has already said and done (and then feebly expressing that through mortal and stammering lips).