Walking Before God – By Lewis Williams

Chapter 13

Private Words

Mr. Edison, sometimes, has been called a wizard. He has given to the public many wonderful inventions, none of which is greater than the phonograph. We stand in front of it and sing or speak and in a few moments, lo and behold, out from the machine come our words just as we uttered them, with all the particulars of our articulation. He makes a record of them so that, long after the one speaking them is dead, he can still reproduce his words. Wonderful mechanism, but is it more wonderful than what God can perform? Can Mr. Edison bring to pass what He who rules the universe cannot? As we examine the phonograph and notice the little contrivance they call a “receiver,” we wonder what kind of a receiver must God have. We speak into the big blue tube which collects our words, carrying them to the “receiver,” and by it they are transmitted to the recorder that makes and retains a record of them to be reproduced at will. And we are often led to wonder what kind of a big blue tube it is that stretches above our heads from east to west, from north to south; from one horizon to the opposite. And we wonder what sort of a receiver God has by which all our words are heard and written down in the books — books, we are told, that will be opened on the great Judgment Day, and from which we are to be judged by the things written therein.

If Mr. Edison can reproduce our words, what does the reader think God can and will do? Men forget that God hears all their words. Of Sodom and Gomorrah He said, “Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is very great, and because their sin is very grievous, I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry that is come unto Me.” Moses said to the children of Israel, “God heard your murmurings in your tents.” To those false spies, he said, “And the Lord heard the voice of your words, and was wroth.”

We wonder what kind of a report you have brought back of God’s salvation by your words, spoken in private, out of sound of the public and behind the threshold of your own home? Words spoken in derision of God’s great salvation that He planned and brought to poor, sin-cursed humanity by and through the blood of His Son? How often have you sneered at or spoken against the doctrine and experience of heart purity that comes by having the heart cleansed from all inbred sin and sanctified wholly ? How many times have you spoken adversely of some one who professed to have found the experience and was doing his best to make others see and seek it?

Come on, don’t try to evade the question, for if you are guilty, it will be ten thousand times better for you to confess it now than to wait until, like Achan, you are pointed out. How many do you suppose have been kept back by what you have said?

God told the children of Israel they could possess the land. He was with them, and as He had delivered them from the Egyptians, so He could deliver them from the Canaanites; and as He pardons all our transgressions when we obey and come to Him as He commands, just so He has the power to cleanse and sanctify us wholly, and who are you that dare speak contrary to His written Word? Just as certainly as those false spies brought back an evil report by their talking contrary to what God had commanded. so the person who has spoken in a trifling manner or against the blessed truth of heart purity, has spoken directly against the written Word of God, and as God heard and punished them according to their own words, so has He heard, and so will He punish those who speak against His Word now.

The children of Israel had the promise of the “goodly land” before they left Egyptian slavery and they knew where they were headed for just so, God promises full deliverance from all sin to the sinner if he will turn and do as God commands. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” One great reason that God pardons and regenerates a soul is that, being regenerated back to life, that soul might then be made free from sin by having that evil nature, that “proneness to wander,” that “bent to sinning,” utterly removed from his heart. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil and the devil has succeeded in impregnating sin into the human heart, and the work of Jesus is not accomplished in any heart until the sin has all been destroyed and removed. The individual who dares to speak against it, whether preacher in the pulpit or some one in his own home, must answer to God for so basely misrepresenting His truth.

With these things in mind, allow us now to ask, If you were dying, would you pray as Hezekiah did? Do you think you would beseech God to remember how you had walked and had done thus, with a perfect heart? It might be a good thing for us to call up that husband again and in his presence ask that wife: “How about this man’s words about home? Does he talk for or against this great salvation, or what is the character of his language anyway? Is there anything about his words that reminds you of Jesus? Is he as choice in his language about the home as he is abroad? By his words, who does he remind you most of, a godly, god-fearing man, or a worldly, godless individual? Does he get angry and say harsh and unjust things that he would be ashamed to hear at the Judgment?”

“Well, suppose you sit down and we ask him to arise and answer those questions concerning you, or if you are both so loth to speak concerning the other, we will ask that son or daughter to come up and tell us how you each talk in your home. What about your private words?

“If you would not be willing for your son or daughter to testify as to your private words in the home, pray, what good is your profession of religion anyway? And if they do not tell of your words, they will be told at the Judgment when God opens the books wherein they are kept.”

So long as carnality remains in the heart, the tongue will go wrong. You may make and form resolutions not to talk so much or not to say such and such things, but in a little while it breaks loose and words are spoken that blast, blight, and blacken records, character and reputations, and Sometimes attacks and breaks up homes, creating havoc and destruction that result in damning souls forever. Sometimes, in order to further their own ends, or to attract to themselves, or to draw others to their personal ideas, words are spoken that cast reflection and reproach upon some of God’s little ones who are working, toiling and living sacrificial lives in order to bring souls to God. How will those who do such things meet their words at the judgment?

Someone has said that words are but the echo of what lies in the heart, and if that be so, what a carnal heart some must have! Paul wrote that “to be carnally minded is death, and they that are carnally minded (Eng. flesh, Greek sarx) cannot please God.” (Rom. 8:8; Gal. 5:17) A heart that has the carnal mind in it is not perfect toward God, and Hezekiah called God to remember how he had walked before Him in truth and with a perfect heart; consequently when he was on what he supposed was his deathbed, he was not afraid to ask God to remember how he had walked.

Reader, how about it? How would it be with thee? Go back over thy life and remember, before it is too late. Is there carnality in thy heart? Does it not show itself in thy words? How many times has it made you say things that you would give worlds, had you them to give, if you could take them back?

We look back to our boyhood days and so many things come up before us. Oh, what would we not give if we could take back things we have said? How well we remember our dear old saintly father, and his kindness to us, and his many, many pleadings. What would we not give were we able to unsay some things we said to him! As it is, we will never get through thanking God that He let father live until we could ask forgiveness of him; live to hear his youngest son preach a Gospel that saves from all sin. But every boy has not had the opportunity to do that. Father has gone and the words spoken so hastily are still in his memory, and, so far as that father is concerned, unconfessed.

We remember of hearing a brother tell how he had quarreled with his father. He said, “I had been converted and did not know that God could cleanse the heart from all sin. My preacher, though sworn to preach it, it being the doctrine of our church, did not preach it; and I was in ignorance concerning the possibility of having a clean heart. I had a bad temper and one day quarreled with my father, and in the heat of anger left home. I was sent for to return, but before I arrived home my father had died. And now there hangs in memory’s gallery the picture of my father’s face, and the fact that the last words I, his son professing to be a Christian, ever spoke to him, were in anger.

“If my preacher had only been true to his vows, I would have heard that Jesus could take the carnality out of my heart, and would no doubt have sought for and obtained the experience, for I was earnest and honest and willing. I would not have had to go on down through life with it ever in my memory. Those last angry words to my father I know God has forgiven, but I cannot lose the memory of them.”

That preacher did not bring a good report, even if he did not bring back an evil one; but in his negligence, something was brought to pass that can never be undone, and the hasty words spoken by that brother will go down through life with him.

The Bible say, “The tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity … and it is set on fire of Hell; for every kind of beasts and of birds and of serpents and of things in the Sea, is tamed and hath been tamed of mankind. But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil full of deadly poison.” By it reputations are blasted, characters are defamed, men and women disgraced, and souls turned back from following God and damned in Hell at last.

Oh, brother, what about your words? Sister, are you ready to go to the Judgment Bar with your words? Were you dying at this hour, could you, would you, pray as Hezekiah did: “O Lord, I beseech Thee, remember how I have walked before Thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which was right in Thy sight”?