13You may be poor and young, but if you are wise, you are better off than a foolish old king who won't listen to advice. 14Even if you were not born into the royal family and have been a prisoner and poor, you can still be king. 15I once saw everyone in the world follow a young leader who came to power after the king was gone. 16His followers could not even be counted. But years from now, no one will praise him—this makes no more sense than chasing the wind.
Be Careful How You Worship
1Be careful what you do when you enter the house of God. Fools go there to offer sacrifices, because all they do is sin. But it's best just to listen when you go to worship. 2Don't talk before you think or make promises to God without thinking them through. God is in heaven, and you are on earth, so don't talk too much. 3If you keep thinking about something, you will dream about it. If you talk too much, you will say the wrong thing.
4 God doesn't like fools. So don't be slow to keep your promises to God. 5It's better not to make a promise at all than to make one and not keep it. 6Don't let your mouth get you in trouble! And don't say to the worship leader, “I didn't mean what I said.” God can destroy everything you have worked for, so don't say something that makes God angry.
7Respect and obey God! Daydreaming leads to a lot of senseless talk.
We are living in the golden age of communication. If we are seized by a notion we wish to share, within three minutes we can have it published worldwide, effortlessly and for free. It’s an incredible privilege never before afforded the human race, but instead of being awed by our power to communicate ideas with one another, we’ve lost our respect for it. We steadily spew our thoughts and opinions worldwide in real time, as if afraid that if we are silent for even a moment, we will be forgotten and cease to exist. We speak thoughtlessly and too soon because in our hearts we believe words are just words, that talk is cheap, that words can never hurt me. You can always apologize later.
We are wrong. We’ve forgotten what our ancestors knew when they spoke of the act of writing as spelling, a word connected with the one they used for magical incantation. They understood the power a word carries with it when it enters the world: it is heard and has effect, a literal blessing or a literal curse.
A word spoken is spoken forever; a word written is even more so, a hard lesson the internet has been teaching us all. When we give our words up to it, we can’t take them back: the internet never forgets. Every letter lives forever there, the ghost of who you were and what you said, ready to damn or redeem you in your own words. There is a great truth here, the same truth that Solomon tells: words may be easy, but they are never neutral, and when you use them you’re either a bandage, or the barrel of a gun.
Dear Father, You gave us the gift of language in all its beauty and power. Help me to use it wisely and for your glory, that I might heal and build and not destroy with my words today. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.