“And their children spake half in the speech of Ashdod, and could not speak in the Jews’ language, but according to the language of each people.”
What you say and don’t say does matter to who you are. When I travel to the Northeast part of the United States, I can tell they talk differently from those who live in the West because of how they pronounce their words. You will notice when traveling to the southern part of the United States that they talk differently from those who live in the Midwest. Their accent is different, and many times what they say and how they say it often reveals they live in the South. You can never mistake a person from the South because of their southern drawl.
Nehemiah encountered people who had migrated to Israel who wanted nothing to do with serving God in the manner that Israel was supposed to serve Him. Some of the Jews had married people from Ammon and Moab, “And their children spake half in the speech of Ashdod, and could not speak in the Jews’ language…” When Nehemiah began to clean up the sins of the people, it was easy to identify those who had compromised because of what they said and how they said it.
Just like the Jews had mixed themselves with the Ammonites and the Moabites, there are many Christians who tend to mix themselves with the world, and their speech tells on them. Though many don’t think that terminology and what we say is important, it is important because it defines who we are and with whom we identify. Many Christians are adopting the speech of Ashdod and don’t think it really matters, but it matters because it identifies you. Every Christian, and especially every pastor, needs to be sure that they are not speaking in the speech of Ashdod. This story gives us two observations about what we say.
First, it’s not what they say, but what they don’t say. You can often identify pastors and churches who are going the wrong way because of what they are not saying. It is not that what they are saying is bad, but it is the fact that they never clearly state their scriptural positions. You should be very wary of preachers and churches when you walk away from them and wonder where they stand on scriptural positions of music, dress and holiness standards. They may not be saying anything bad, but they may also not be clearly stating where they do stand.
Second, it’s not what they say, but how they say it. If you are an old paths Baptist, I believe you ought to talk like one. I’m highly concerned with a society whose speech sounds more like the world than an old paths Christian. My friend, the terminology you use does identify who you are. Old paths, independent Baptists don’t need to be adopting the terminology of the liberals. Let me ask you, why are you so concerned with sounding like the modern day Balaam’s who have sold their soul to the world? If you are an old paths Baptist, sound like it when you talk. Stop using the world’s terminology.
I know this devotional won’t sit well with those who are trying to do everything they can to appease the world. Christian, if you are looking to the world to determine what to say and how to say it, it won’t be long before you are living in the world. Let me encourage you not to forsake the terminology of the old paths Baptists. What you say is important because it identifies to whom you belong.