In Job five, we find Eliphaz opining about the “six-yea-seven” things from which the Lord will deliver His people. I do not believe Eliphaz was speaking from any kind of Holy Spirit inspiration. Yet, it is interesting that he placed the “scourge of the tongue” right in there with famine, dearth, early death, war and the danger of the beasts of Job’s day. I don’t think we have to be inspired with revelation to understand that the tongues of wicked men are often our greatest enemies. The tongue of wickedness is a worse enemy than famine, war or dearth (all of which can make us poor and destitute), because the tongue is not just destructive of health or safety; it can be damaging to a Christian’s good reputation. A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches! (I read that in a book!) Here’s Eliphaz on “six, yea, seven”:
For he maketh sore, and bindeth up;
He woundeth, and his hands make whole.
He will deliver thee in six troubles;
Yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee.
In famine he will redeem thee from death;
And in war from the power of the sword.
Thou shalt be hid from the scourge of the tongue;
Neither shalt thou be afraid of destruction when it cometh.
At destruction and dearth thou shalt laugh;
Neither shalt thou be afraid of the beasts of the earth.
For thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field;
And the beasts of the field shall be at peace with thee.
And thou shalt know that thy tent is in peace;
And thou shalt visit thy fold, and shalt miss nothing.
Thou shalt know also that thy seed shall be great,
And thine offspring as the grass of the earth.
Thou shalt come to thy grave in a full age.
In fact, it’s interesting to notice that other “six-yea-seven” passage over in Proverbs 6:16-19—the one that chronicles the things the Lord hates— has at least three things that derive from wicked tongues: a lying tongue, a false witness and one who sows discord.
These six things the Lord hates,
Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:
A proud look,
A lying tongue,
Hands that shed innocent blood,
A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that are swift in running to evil,
A false witness who speaks lies,
And one who sows discord among brethren.
No wonder, marvel or surprise at all that James, thus, says, in 3:6-8:
And the tongue is a fire: the world of iniquity among our members is the tongue, which defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the wheel of nature, and is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beasts and birds, of creeping things and things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed by mankind: but the tongue can no man tame; it is a restless evil, it is full of deadly poison.
It’s also pretty interesting that James, in this short paragraph about the tongue, credits its danger directly to hell. He’s very clear in the assertion that the devil can use my tongue to accomplish his purposes. The tongue is a great and lively tool. We can restore the tool to its Owner and Maker or we can let it be taken by the thief and deceiver. Awareness of our jobs in tongue-taming is a great step toward true success. Master the tongue and avoid the arson of the wicked one. Recognize the disastrous effects that come on the righteous from someone’s wild tongue as a pretty direct attack from Satan—and get your shield up (Ephesians 6:17)! The darts are appropriately termed “fiery.”
(Both James and Job figured out the tongue. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly (Job 1:22). James, according to good history, gave his earthly life to gain the reward, by repeating a brave confession of Jesus as the Christ.” I pray I can figure it out, too. Tongue-taming is a life-long challenge.)