A Good Word
a. 6 occurrences; Authorized Version translates as “carefulness” twice, “fear” once, “heaviness” once, “sorrow” once, and “with care” once.
b. Anxiety, anxious care, care. (Strong’s)
c. Dictionary of Biblical Language: anxiety; restlessness; worry; i.e., an attitude or emotion of distress.
d. The term is used in the following passages:
• Jer. 49:23 – Damascus has been judged severely by God. The neighboring cities hear of it. They are confounded… fainthearted… they have sorrow (this is the term translated “heavy” in Prov. 12:25)… there is no quiet.
• The term here means worry… anxiety… they saw what was happening in the cities all around them and they are full of worries and fears that it will happen to them… much like what the Iraqis soldiers must be experiencing today.
• Ezek. 12:18-20 – “carefulness” is the word translated “heaviness” in Prov. It means worry, fear, anxiety, being torn on the insides… it is used together with the word “astonishment” = horror.
e. In the Bible it is translated “heaviness” only once—and that might not be the best translation.
• It implies to us today a sense a burden, depression, discouragement, sorrow, or grief.
• While that may be included in its meaning, the real thrust of the word is worry, fear, and anxiety.
• Of course, over time, worry often does become an overpowering burden, a weight, which leads to discouragement and heaviness of heart.
• But the main thrust of the word is anxiety and worry… not so much the grief or sorrow or heaviness which results from it.
2. Anxiety in the heart…
a. Heart: inner man, mind, will, heart, understanding, reflection, thinking…
b. Worry digs down deep, doesn’t it?
c. It can stick into our belly… and fester there…
d. It can take over our thinking… our emotions… and be THE controlling factor in our lives…
e. Hence, we become FILLED with worry.
f. We should be filled with the Spirit… controlled by God’s Holy Spirit. (Eph. 5:18)
g. Instead, we are filled (controlled) by fear… worry… anxiety.
h. It is not sin to experience fear or anxiety. That is pretty normal and natural.
i. It IS sin however, to be FILLED with it… controlled by it.
• The cares and anxiety of this world tends to choke out the Word…
j. Whatever FILLS our heart, controls it.
• In Acts, we read of men being filled with envy, indignation, joy, or wrath.
• In each case, it had a controlling effect on them… on their words and deeds.
k. Our hearts SHOULD be filled with Christlikeness by means of the Holy Spirit… under His control… so controlled by the Spirit that it SHOWS in the way we talk and walk…
l. We ought to be so filled with the Spirit that it AFFECTS our thoughts, words, choices, motives, and deeds.
m. Worry and anxiety in the heart can also be CONTROLLING.
• It too can affect our words…
• It can affect our thoughts… dominate them…
• It can affect the choices we make…
• It can affect our deeds…
• It can be so controlling that everything we think, do and say is first filtered through this lens of worry…anxiety…
• When we are filled with worry rather than being filled with the Holy Spirit, the end result will ALWAYS be the fruit of the flesh… (read list in Gal. 5!)
3. Maketh it stoop…
a. Stoop = to bow down; to depress.
• This term means to bow down; to be low; to weigh down.
• It is often used of bowing before idols… bowing before a king or superior… and is most often used of worshipping the true God… bowing in obeisance.
• It is usually translated “worship.”
• Dictionary of Biblical Languages: take a bowing stance, here as a position of submission to a superior.
b. “Stoop” is used in Prov.12:25 in a FIGURATIVE sense.
• It is not a literal or physical bowing down of the body… but an internal bowing down of the heart.
• Hence, it is used of being “down cast”… discouraged… depressed… weighed down… heavy laden… burdened.
c. ANXIETY makes the heart stoop…
• Fear, worry, and anxiety bring us down…
• It results in discouragement, even depression.
• We worry about so MANY THINGS…
• We worry about our finances… our health… our kids… our home… our country… our job…
• The cumulative effect of ALL of these worries, weighs us down… drags us down…
• It is a burden on our back… and one we need not carry about with us.
• Worry is stronger than we are. It is a heavier burden than we are able to bear.
• God never intended for our hearts to bear the burden produced by worry and anxious care.
1. God’s plan: replace the anxiety with gladness.
2. Good word:
a. Good —- good;
b. Word: speech; word; speaking; saying; an utterance.
3. Glad: make merry; cause to rejoice; gladden.
a. This isn’t the kind of gladness or joy that comes from winning the lottery…
b. This is a much deeper, inner, spiritual joy… the work of the Spirit in the heart.
c. This might be (as the song writer put it) the kind of joy that seeketh me through pain…
d. This is the kind of joy that does not change the circumstances… but rather it TRANSFORMS the inordinate, controlling anxiety and worry, into a reasonable concern.
e. It takes the bite and sting out of the worry… so that it is no longer THE controlling factor in our lives…
4. Solomon’s point here is that you and I can have a WONDERFUL ministry to the hearts and minds of miserable men, women, and children. (anxiety makes life miserable).
a. We can bring gladness to a heart that is burdened and weighed down with fear and worry.
b. We can lift the spirits of one another.
c. This is a ministry that doesn’t require some special talent. Anyone can do it… even kids! Perhaps especially kids!
d. If you know how to talk… have an ounce of compassion… a healthy dose of tactfulness… and know a few Scriptures passages, YOU can make a sad heart glad!
5. What IS a good word? THE BIBLE! Here are a few good words you might try with a brother who is experiencing anxiety and worry:
a. Phil. 4:6-7 – we are to be anxious for NOTHING… anxiety is replaced with peace. Don’t just blurt out, “Be anxious for nothing!” That’s not going to help… finish the verse!
b. I Pet. 5:7 – we are to cast our cares upon the Lord. The anxious cares are gone. Emphasize His care for us!
c. Matt. 11:29 – Too often we are heavy laden… with fears and worries in life. But, we are NOT to submit to worry and anxiety. We are to submit to Christ. Submit to His yoke—and the end result is REST… not fear and worry.
• Challenge a worried, anxious brother to come to Christ… submit to His will…
d. Ps. 55:22 – Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.
e. Ps. 42:10 – Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
f. Ps. 62:8 – Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us.
g. Luke 12:22 – And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought (be anxious for nothing—same word) for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.
h. Luke 12:25-26 – And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?
• We worry about our finances… our health… our kids… our home… our country… our job…
• We live more often like Martha—cumbered about by so many things… rather than Mary, who rested comfortably at the Savior’s feet…
i. Isa. 50:10 – Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God.
• Isaiah is speaking to the godly who fear God and obey Him.
• Nevertheless, they are walking in darkness—not sin—but are walking in dark days… difficult days… trials and trouble is implied here by the darkness.
• They are counseled to TRUST… and to STAY upon God (lean; lie; support oneself upon another; to rest upon)
• Even the godly, who fear and obey God face the worries and fears of darkness and trials…
• But God has an answer… STAYED upon Jehovah! LEANING on the everlasting arms! Jesus I am RESTING, RESTING in the thought of who thou art! My faith has found a RESTING-place! Thou wilt keep Him in perfect peace, whose mind is STAYED upon Thee.
j. In each of these passages, the reader (who had previously been heavy laden with burdens and anxiety) is pointed to Christ… and encouraged… challenged… commanded (!) to cast those burdens upon the Lord.
k. These are some “good words” that can lift the cast down soul… the heart that is weighed down in worry and anxiety… and replace that fear with gladness… the joy of the Lord.
l. Such folks need to KNOW of the infinite LOVE of God… to be reminded of the marvelous PURPOSES of God… and the PRESENCE of God in the midst of those struggles.
m. Prov. 12:18 – we can use our tongue to pierce… or like a medicine… to bring about good spiritual HEALTH…
n. Prov. 16:24 – Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.
o. Prov. 15:23 – A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!
• What a gift—to be able to lift up souls… to bring joy to a brother who is bent over in grief…
• What a talent—to know what to say—and WHEN to say it… in due season.
• How good it is!