The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood, But the mouth of the upright will deliver them. Proverbs 12:6 NASB
Or, the words of the wicked are, “lie in wait for blood” as though it is instruction to others.
I understand that people become what they choose. If I choose wickedness and that which serves me, I become wicked. If I choose goodness and that which honors God and others, I become upright. People did not start out wicked. Man was created perfectly, yet our innocence didn’t last long. We were enticed by an adversary who is the real wicked one. He constantly looks for opportunities to hurt, steal and kill. At the very beginning, he lurked in the Garden of Eden waiting to snare Adam. Once he ensured spiritual death, he wasted no time in pursuing Adam’s children. Cain heard his voice and followed his urging. Abel fell victim to someone who listened to the wicked one. How did this all happen? Words. So who is upright? There are many good men, but since that original man’s turn toward sin, Jesus became the first to live, and die, without blame. And he is the one that delivers us — our advocate, daily giving us a route of escape. Paul says:
Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Romans 8:34 NASB
Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Hebrews 7:25 NIV
When we were little many of us heard the saying, “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Words, lobbed like a grenade with pin pulled, may not hurt my bones, but for a person who feels and relates to others, they can be devastating. I once worked with an English woman who was not a U.S. citizen, yet at election time she was enthusiastically encouraging others to vote. I asked, “Why are you doing this if you can’t vote?” She said, “If I can influence five people to vote how I would like them to, then I have done more than the person who casts a single ballot.” Words are powerful.
A word from my mouth is window into my heart. It’s difficult to hide what is there when I speak. The wicked wait for the weak, to prey upon, spoil, kill and discard. Add to that the kingdom principles encouraging me toward humility, being a servant of all, declaring “when I am weak I am strong,” and it’s easy to see that I have a target on my back. For those that want to serve themselves and take advantage of others — those out for blood — I am easy pickin’.
But the upright have the same access to words that the wicked do. Just as words kill, they also give life. Jesus said:
The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. John 6:63 NIV
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. John 10:10 NASB
Does a fight really solve any disagreement? What value does a physical victory have if the heart and soul are unconvinced? Sticks and stones may take dominance over me temporarily, but the true fight is where the heart is. And that’s exactly where my adversary lands his blows. Yes, he likes the supremacy of death when it’s time, but until then, he is fighting me in heaven, accusing me daily before God, with words. It’s an accusation about me, my choices, my character, my motivation and values. Yet my advocate steps in — knowing that I am a work in progress. Jesus know I am on the right trajectory — and with words, unfolds my defense and delivers me. This powerful drama goes on daily, out of sight.
I love how this drama plays out. I struggle with the ups and downs of challenge, fail, then victory, rinse, repeat. But at the end of the age this courtroom drama reaches a crescendo and my choices bear fruit and finally a conclusion. The adversary gets kicked out of the courtroom. My advocate and his words win the case.
And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war, and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night. And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time.” Revelation 12:7-12 NASB
What was the war about? What allowed the adversary to have the many, many years access to God? What brought about the conclusion?
That sounds arrogant. But the words that had trapped me, waiting for my blood and my demise now have a response. The advocate, and his angels, have the final say.