My Glory Rejoices
Notice how the Psalmist uses the phrase “my glory” in these verses:
Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices;Psalms 16:9 (NKJV)
My flesh also will rest in hope.
Awake, my glory! Awake, lute and harp!Psalms 57:8 (NKJV)
I will awaken the dawn.
To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.Psalms 30:12 (NKJV)
O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise, even with my glory.Psalms 108:1 (NKJV)
The word for “glory” in those verses is the Hebrew word “kabod.” The same word is used in these verses to refer to God’s glory:
And he said, “Please, show me Your glory.”Exodus 33:18 (NKJV)
To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.Psalms 63:2 (KJV)
Even though “glory” is the literal translation of the word “kabod,” it is interesting that some popular Bible translations render the phrase as “my heart” or “my soul” instead of “my glory.” Most likely, the Bible translators saw how the Psalmist is talking about how his “glory” that can rejoice, sing, and praise God. Exactly how does a “glory” sing or rejoice? We would have to agree that using “soul” or “heart” would certainly make more sense.
Nevertheless, the Holy Spirit is the One who moved the Bible writers to use the words they used. Therefore, the Holy Spirit is the absolute best interpreter! He knows precisely what is on God’s heart for every word: “…the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God” (1 Cor 2:10). On some occasions, there are passages of Scripture in the Old Testament which are quoted in the New Testament with unique changes (also made by the Spirit!) that unfold precious truths for us. Psalm 16:9 just so happens to be one of those passages. Notice the word which the Holy Spirit uses in place of the word “glory”:
Therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; My flesh also will dwell in hope.Acts 2:26 (ESV)
Do you see the exchange that the Holy Spirit made? Instead of “my glory rejoices,” it says, “my tongue rejoiced.”
Mystery solved! Our tongue is our glory!
The “glory” the psalmist is referring to in these verses is his tongue! Interestingly, the word “kabod” (”glory”) carries the additional meaning of something being weighty, especially in the sense of importance and honor. Notice how when God’s glory filled the temple, the priests found it impossible to remain standing:
So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God.2 Chronicles 5:14 (NKJV)
This further highlights this truth for us: The Bible places a very “weighty” importance upon the function of our tongue! How we use this tiny member of our body has the power to change the course of things in our lives and the lives of those around us.
Proverbs has a lot to say about what we say…
I have always loved reading Proverbs together with my children as they were growing up. Quite different from other books in the Bible, the book of Proverbs is a list of sayings where each verse carries its own message. For this reason, I gave a multicolored highlighter to each of my children, and we used distinct colors to identify specific themes in this book. We used orange for any verse referring to our tongue, lips, mouth, and our words. In our Bibles, Proverbs has more than 60 verses highlighted in orange! Yes, Proverbs has a lot to say about what we say. Here are a few examples:
In the multitude of words sin is not lacking,Proverbs 10:19-21 (NKJV)
But he who restrains his lips is wise.
The tongue of the righteous is choice silver;
The heart of the wicked is worth little.
The lips of the righteous feed many,
But fools die for lack of wisdom.
There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword,Proverbs 12:18 (NKJV)
But the tongue of the wise promotes health.
A wholesome tongue is a tree of life,Proverbs 15:4 (NKJV)
But perverseness in it breaks the spirit.
Pleasant words are like a honeycomb,Proverbs 16:24 (NKJV)
Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.
How “weighty” a matter is our little tongue! No wonder the Psalmist referred to it as his “kabod” – his weighty glory!
Proverbs 18:21 is probably the most often-quoted verse about our tongue. In simplicity, it expresses the great power of our tongue:
Death and life are in the power of the tongue,Proverbs 18:21 (NKJV)
And those who love it will eat its fruit.
[A quick side note: The very next proverb, verse 22, talks about husbands and wives. Hmmm… I‘m thinking there must be a connection between the success of our marriage and our tongue. What do you think?]
Death… and… Life… Profound Power!
Take a close look at this warning concerning the “death” aspect of our tongue’s power:
Even so, the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity.James 3:5-8 (NKJV)
The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature, and it is set on fire by hell.
For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind.
But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
How frightening! There are so many Scriptures about the dangerous things our tongue can do. Gossip, backbiting, lying, bearing false witness, and cursing – just to name a few. It’s undoubtedly a good thing that God also gave us the ability to close our mouths, right? Proverbs warns us:
In the multitude of words sin is not lacking,Proverbs 10:19 (NKJV)
But he who restrains his lips is wise.
He who guards his mouth preserves his life,Proverbs 13:3 (NKJV)
But he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction.
He who has knowledge spares his words,Proverbs 17:27-28 (NKJV)
And a man of understanding is of a calm spirit.
Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace;
When he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive.
Now consider this: if the “Death” power of the tongue receives such a terrifying description, then shouldn’t the “Life” power of the tongue deserve an equally powerful description in God’s Word? Yes, and it truly does! Just consider these thoughts from God’s Word:
- Gen 1:3-31; Heb 11:3 – God created everything simply by speaking His Word. Jesus is the Living Word, and all things are created by Him (John 1:1-3). God created us in His image and likeness, and that includes the ability to speak creatively!
- Rom 10:9-10 – Our salvation and born again experience is dependent in part upon our tongue’s confession.
- Rom 10:14-17; 1 Cor 1:18-21 – God has chosen the “foolishness of preaching” by our lips and tongue that people might hear and be saved. Jesus made this clear in His prayer for His disciples: “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word” (John 17:20).
- 2 Cor 4:13 – Faith speaks! Faith first finds its expression through our tongue and lips and then by our actions. Much is mentioned in the New Testament about our “confession” of faith (see 2 Cor 9:13; 2 Tim 6:11-13; Heb 3:1; Heb 4:14; Heb 10:19-23).
- 2 Cor 1:20; 2 Peter 1:3-4 – God’s promises are “yes” for us in Christ, and they will ultimately bring glory to God, but we must first say out loud our “Amen” to them. Searching for and then speaking out the promises of God in prayer is a far more critical and “weighty” matter than most Christians realize. Say Amen to God’s Word!
- Mark 11:22-24 – Jesus taught His disciples about the power of faith in prayer. We must first understand that meditation is NOT prayer. Meditation is good, but it is just silent thinking, not prayer. Biblical prayer (praise, worship, intercession, etc.) always involves using our tongue: “…whoever SAYS to this mountain…” Psalms are the Holy Spirit’s divine manual for us on prayer and praise. A quick search in Psalms reveals that over 170 verses contain the words “lips,” “mouth,” “tongue,” and “voice.” Definitely some essential truths there!
- Acts 2:1-4; Acts 10:44-48; Acts 19:1-6 – Finally, consider this: Our tongue is so vitally important that God Himself decided that the Gift of Tongues would accompany the Baptism and in-filling of the Holy Spirit which is for all those who are born again into God’s family. (Note: This is why the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is called the “Promise of the Father” – Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-8; Acts 2:1-4; Acts 2:33; Acts 2:38-39; Luke 11:13.) Just take note of how Paul boasted about his abundant use of this Personal Prayer Language of Tongues. Obviously, his boast was not from self-pride, but rather for encouraging believers to use this wonderful gift in their times of prayer and praise.
“For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.
What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding…
I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all” (1 Corinthians 14:14-15, 18 NKJV).
The Power of LIFE is in Our Tongue!
Our tongue is a little, but mighty member inside of our mouth – it truly is our “kabod” – our very weighty glory. Let’s be sure to use it wisely for God’s glory – praising, singing, praying, and preaching God’s Creative and saving Word wherever and whenever we go and in whatever we do!
Yes, let there be the power of LIFE in our tongue! Amen.