We have seen the word hid in the heart: now we see it poured forth from the lips. The Lord has taught us His statutes; now we declare these judgments of His mouth. But who can declare them with unction and power, except those who are taught of God? Now we are introduced to the high and honorable privilege of becoming a witness for our Savior! Our opportunities of service are our talents, and we trade with a large increase; for "to everyone who has shall be given, and he shall have abundance." But, "our lips are our own"—is the proud language of the world. Blessed be God; "we know that we are not our own." Most gladly do we acknowledge, that He, who fashioned our lips, has the best claim to their service. And when He has added to the claim of creation the right of purchase, what further constraining can we need, to induce the consecration of all that we are, and all that we have, to His glory!
This is a family obligation—to declare the judgments of God's mouth. Thus did Abraham obtain a blessing for his children. Heavenly blessings are the gracious reward of thus honoring our God. This also is the material of our general conversation, fruitful in spiritual results. Thus did Andrew bring Peter, and the woman of Samaria her neighbors, to Jesus. What might we not do for our fellow-sinners, if our conversation with them was the overflowing of a heart full of love; guided by a single desire to glorify our Savior, and to edify His Church! Fearful, indeed, is the guilt of sinful silence; and those, who thus prove their unfaithfulness to God, may well tremble at His awful denunciations. And yet it is possible to be bold in speech for God, when in the closet, the family, or the world, our consciences justly convict us of insincerity: "You who teach another, do you not teach yourself?" Let us seek, therefore, to have our hearts "filled with the Spirit"; otherwise ours will be "the talk of the lips, which tends only to poverty."
This subject illustrates the character of the Lord's people, "The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, and his tongue talks of judgment;" their resolution, "My mouth shall show forth Your righteousness and Your salvation all the day; for I know not the numbers thereof;" their prayer, "O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Your praise;" their blessing, "The lips of the righteous feed many. A wholesome tongue is a tree of life." The example of the Savior, here as everywhere, is our perfect and encouraging pattern: "I have preached righteousness in the great congregation; Lo! I have not refrained My lips, O Lord, You know." In this spirit of their Master, the Apostles awed their persecutors into forbearance: "We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard."
How sinful is it to employ our lips for any but the Lord! Yet not less sinful is our reluctance to employ them for Him! Surely the day, when perhaps we have been fluent in worldly conversation, and yet have neglected our opportunities of speaking a word for Him, must be considered a lost day! Is there not much cause for watchfulness, prayer, and self-denial; lest our silence should deny Him, whom by every obligation we are bound to confess? If our inability to bear a testimony for our Lord is not painful to us, must we not suspect, if not the sincerity, at least the strength, of our attachment to His precious name? and we can do no better than retire into our closets with the prayer of contrition, "Enter not into judgment with Your servant, O Lord."
The taught one of verse 12 is here a teacher himself. What we learn in secret we are to proclaim upon the housetops. So had the Psalmist done. As much as he had known he had spoken. God has revealed many of his judgments by his mouth, that is to say, by a plain and open revelation; these it is our duty to repeat, becoming, as it were, so many exact echoes of his one infallible voice. There are judgments of God which are a great deep, which he does not reveal, and with these it will be wise for us not to intermeddle. What the Lord has veiled it would be presumption for us to uncover; but, on the other hand, what the Lord has revealed it would be shameful for us to conceal. It is a great comfort to a Christian in time of trouble when in looking back upon his past life he can claim to have done his duty by the word of God. To have been, like Noah, a preacher of righteousness, is a great joy when the floods are rising, and the ungodly world is about to be destroyed. Lips which have been used in proclaiming God's statutes are sure to be acceptable when pleading God's promises. If we have had such regard to that which comes out of God's mouth that we have published it far and wide, we may rest quite assured that God will have respect unto the prayers which come out of our mouths.
It will be an effectual method of cleansing a young man's way if he addicts himself continually to preaching the gospel. He cannot go far wrong in judgment whose whole soul is occupied in setting forth the judgments of the Lord. By teaching we learn; by training the tongue to holy speech we master the whole body; by familiarity with the divine procedure we are made to delight in righteousness; and thus in a threefold manner our way is cleansed by our proclaiming the way of the Lord.
What a joy to any man to be able to look back upon a faithful testimony to divine truth! When weary with Sabbath services, how sweet to feel that we have spoken, not our own words, but the teachings of divine revelation! When we shall come to die, it will be no mean consolation that we have "kept the faith." Christ will surely plead for those whose lives are spent in pleading for him.