Where There Is No Wood

An ungodly man digs up evil, And it is on his lips like a burning fire.  A perverse man sows strife, And a whisperer separates the best of friends. Proverbs 16:27 (NKJV)

I remember a few years back seeing a funny commercial by an insurance company — there was a scene with two woodchucks who are chucking a farmers wood out into the pond.  The farmer drives up and yells, “Hey you woodchucks stop chucking my wood.”  I was reminded of this commercial often when counseling people about communication — specifically when counseling them to keep from throwing more wood in the fire with respect to damaging words. I think this is what the writer of Proverbs 26:20-22 had in mind when he penned,

“Where there is no wood, the fire goes out; and where there is no talebearer, strife ceases.  As charcoal is to burning coals, and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindle strife.  The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles, and they go down into the inmost body parts” Prov. 26:20-22 (NKJV).

So we are told where there is no wood, the fire goes out.  This seems pretty simple, but in reality it is very hard for many of us to implement.  The wood represents our selfish, fleshly nature — specifically, our nature to add words that don’t edify, or that can be damaging and dishonoring to our Lord. 

People can be hurt deeply and even emotionally scarred by the careless words thrown about through gossip and false accusation.  We need to be aware of the power of our words, and take each thought captive before speaking. 

But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. Matthew 12:36 (NKJV)

Q:         So what should we do when we see others chucking wood into the fire of a negative conversation?

If we observe someone talking about another person in an unedifying way, we should do our best to take the wood out of the fire.  We can do this by choosing not to participate in the conversation or by even attempting to change the subject or encouraging those there to choose to talk about something else.  If they are steadfast in wanting to continue down a negative path, you might suggest stopping to pray with them before the conversation continues.  It’s at this point you can actually bring accountability in love by the words you pray. Here is an example of a prayer you might consider.

“Dear Heavenly Father, we thank You for Your grace and love upon our lives.  Help us to have this same grace and love for others, and give us Your wisdom as we seek Your counsel for our part.  We trust that You will guide us and empower us to honor You in our words and actions. In Jesus’ precious name, amen…”

I want to encourage you to think and pray upon these things today.  Choose to take captive any thought to needlessly talk about others. Make a decision each morning to allow God to use your tongue as a vessel of honor.  Choose to speak of grace, mercy, forgiveness and love.  Choose to speak forth the things to edify the lives of those around you.  Choose to encourage those woodchucks to stop chucking the wood. 

STUDY QUESTION: According to the Scriptures contained in this devotional what can we learn about talking about others?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Are you willing to take a stand against idle gossip?  Are you willing to defend and even find something positive to say about others who are being attacked?

PRACTICAL APPLICATION: Make the decision each day to be a vessel of honor in how you speak. 

LET’S MAKE THIS OUR PRAYER TODAY: Father, thank You for teaching me and transforming me to be like Jesus.  I choose to be used as a vessel of honor today Lord so please use me accordingly.  In Jesus’ precious name, amen…

Be blessed, Pastor Scott

Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000