An ominous feeling overtook me as I witnessed Nancy Pelosi tear up her copy of Trump’s Feb. 2020 State of the Union Address. Prophetic voices saw it is a harbinger of what the future would hold for America. It is no secret that a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand. We were in trouble, however, long before this and it started with a violation of what the LORD requires as a true fast. Among other things, “we are called to do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing of the finger and malicious talk” (Isaiah 58:9b). What we have seen play out in the natural is just a reflection of the war going on in the spiritual realm. Taken at face value, “The tongue has the power of life and death”. (Proverbs 18:21). Death had encased our borders before the virus was released. In April of 2020, I wrote the following:
Dear LORD – I could have been hasty in my presumption that the mandate to social distance is not of you. A Jewish Rabbi noted that the Bible’s “vaccine” against coronavirus is to stop gossiping and other forms of lashon hara (evil speech). According to Rabbi Kessin, social distancing and quarantine serve as atonement for the sin of prohibited speech. By distancing, social interactions between people are limited and serves to reduce the amount of prohibited speech. Proverbs 10:19 confirms, “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.” Oh, LORD, make of me a wise one. By self-quarantining you avoid spreading the virus to others which is an act of chesed (loving kindness) that builds unity. This gives me pause for thought as I had considered before Covid 19 to distance myself from the assembly and motivation for such thought was to prevent self from being drawn into unhealthy conversation. Kessin also pointed out that the power of speech comes from our breath. When our breath is used to speak prohibited, derogatory words, the measure-for-measure punishment is denying a person the ability to breathe freely. Further, every Jew knows the punishment for lashon hara is quarantine as demonstrated in Numbers 12, when Miriam was shut out of camp seven days for speaking against Moses. Wow! If my words have been my downfall–thank you, LORD, for protecting others from me and thank you for the promised day when, “You will purify the speech of all people, so that everyone may call on the name of the LORD and serve him shoulder to shoulder” (Zephaniah 3:9)
A final warning to self and others: “Keep thy tongue from evil, and they lips from speaking guile” Psalm 34:13
Author: Michelle Okeson
In her youth, Michelle aspired to be a journalist, but a series of ungodly choices, upended those plans. A few years later, as a married mother of two, she found herself to be more of an actress, as the life lived before others was a shadowing of the self-loathing that was hidden. She at one time would have described herself as being like Lydia from Acts 16, who was a worshipper of God, but whose heart had not yet responded to Paul’s Gospel message. Her life transformation began in 1986 when she was saved from religion and introduced to Jesus. Now she would say that she is an unschooled and ordinary woman, who has spent time with Jesus. Her dream of being a journalist has been indirectly fulfilled by the countless pages she has written to record her faith journey with the LORD in His Word. Some of her accounts are personal but many are profitable and instructive for others. She shares as the LORD leads through a radio ministry and personal witness.